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Mid-Atlantic Highlands Reference Reach Data Survey

Biohabitats and the Canaan Valley Institute are working together to collect information that will make the design and implementation of stream restoration initiatives more cost effective and time efficient for those working on restoration activities across almost 80,000 acres in Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

Reference ecosystems can serve as a model for planning a restoration project, and later for its evaluation. Applied river restoration initiatives often rely on selecting reference reaches that exhibit relatively stable morphological characteristics that can then serve as templates for design at the project reach. Selecting a reference reach and validating its usefulness to act as template for a restoration project can be time consuming and may duplicate the work already performed by other river restoration practitioners. The Canaan Valley Institute recognized that developing a process to collect, store and share reference reach information could greatly facilitate the design process for stream restoration projects throughout the Mid-Atlantic Highlands. CVI turned to Biohabitats to help them prepare a survey to collect information from practitioners and researchers, develop a reference reach database to collect and store the information, and produce a quality assurance/quality control program to ensure that the data in the reference reach database meets minimum standards.

The database will hold information for multiple stream types (using the Rosgen Stream Classification system) and substrate sizes through multiple hydrophysiographic regions of the Mid-Atlantic Highlands. When established, this web-based database will be free to practitioners and researchers engaged in natural stream channel design projects.

Paul Kovalcik – Aquatic Biologist Extraordinaire Joins the Biohabitats’ Team

A native Ohioan, Paul joined Biohabitats as an aquatic biologist with over nine years of experience in aquatic ecology and restoration. He specializes in fish ecology, macroinvertebrate ecology, and physical habitat analysis and has experience at managing stream biomonitoring projects. Paul has a passion for working with endangered aquatic species and specializes in fish and macroinvertebrate ecology.

Woodland Management and Water Quality BMPs come to the Bronx Zoo

The Wildlife Conservation Society [L79] has selected Biohabitats to develop a woodland management plan and design water quality best management practices for the Bronx Zoo [L80] in New York. A few years ago Biohabitats participated in the development of a new master plan for the Bronx Zoo. Through that effort it became apparent that the Zoo’s 280 acres of essentially wooded land in the middle of the Bronx, and adjacent to the New York Botanical Garden, is an extremely valuable asset worthy of long-term care. Combined with the fact that state and federal efforts are underway to develop a Bronx River Restoration Program [L84], the Bronx Zoo now has a wonderful opportunity to contribute to the restoration of the Bronx River and the stewardship of its woodlands.

The Swedish Embassy turns to Biohabitats to assist with Stream Bank Stabilization along Rock Creek

Biohabitats will prepare stream restoration design and construction plans for a 650-linear foot reach of Rock Creek at its confluence with the Potomac River. The goal of the project is to incorporate stream bank stabilization into the Swedish Embassy’s proposed water front development design. The project design needs to be sensitive to both the ecological attributes of the site as well as the historical significance associated with the site. This stretch of Rock Creek constituted the portion of the of the C&O canal between the historical Tidewater Lock and the still present Lock 1.

Additional sections of Mill Creek to be Restored

Biohabitats has been retained by the Township of Lower Merion, PA to assist them with designing and employing natural channel design techniques to stabilize approximately 1400 linear feet stream for Mill Creek. Last year Biohabitats successfully completed the restoration of another portion of Mill Creek that included the realignment and reestablishment of a stable channel and riparian floodplain. The success of this project prompted the Township of Lower Merion to retain Biohabitats for this project.

Commonwealth of Kentucky selects Biohabitats for first Stream Restoration project under new Mitigation Program

The Commonwealth of Kentucky recently established a program to facilitate the design and implementation of stream restoration projects throughout the State. The Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife Resources (KDFWR), responsible for the program, selected Biohabitats Ohio River Bioregion office to design the first project under this new program. Biohabitats ORB will be providing engineering and environmental services required for the restoration and enhancement of 2,805 linear feet of Terry’s Branch, plus another 100 linear feet of Balls Fork. Of these 2,905 feet of stream, 1,500 feet is on University of Kentucky property. These existing streams have been relocated, narrowed and/or straightened in the past and there is evidence of former logging dams. The streams currently exhibit varying levels of bank erosion and diminished aquatic habitat.

In addition to development of concept plans and construction documents, the scope of work also includes monitoring the project for a three-year period following construction.  Biohabitats ORB will collect pre- and post-construction biological data and provide routine site visits to monitor the integrity of structures and stream improvements.

Gwinnet County turns to Wetland and Stream Mitigation Banking

The Project team of CH2M HILL and Biohabitats Southeast Bioregion has been selected by the Department of Public Utilities/Storm Water Management Division (DPU) to develop a wetland and stream mitigation program for Gwinnett County, Georgia to mitigate for unavoidable impacts to wetlands and waters of the United States. Gwinnett County officials are confident that a county-operated mitigation bank will minimize, if not eliminate, the need to purchase credits from a bank in another area of the state. Additionally, the credits accrued in the County’s bank may be sold to other users and fees collected can be used for additional stream and wetland restoration/mitigation. Our team’s approach is to develop an innovative public/commercial bank, identified as an Umbrella Bank, in concert with Gwinnett County staff.

Kingman Island Habitat Restoration takes a step forward

After years of trying to decide what to do with the lower portion of the 42 acre Kingman Island, the Baltimore District Corps of Engineers along with the Washington D.C. Department of Health, are moving forward with plans to turn the neglected island into a nature park focusing on ecological restoration within an urban context. Lower Kingman Island is a portion of Kingman Island consisting of approximately 33 acres of dredged sediment and landfill materials that have been deposited behind stone sea walls built in the 1920s. Prior to that time it was part of the extensive series of tidal marshlands along the Anacostia River. The Corps has retained Biohabitats to take concept plans developed over the past two years and turn them into workable construction and management plans. These plans will include both habitat restoration initiatives as well as passive recreation facilities.

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