Leaf Litter

Biohabitats Projects, Places, and People

Catch up on the latest at Biohabitats!

By Amy Nelson

Article Index


Large Scale Stormwater Retrofit In Northeast Ohio

Nine Mile Creek, a tributary to Lake Erie is a heavily urbanized stream that has been impacted by runoff and habitat degradation. Recognizing that the Creek is a critical component to the green infrastructure of the eight square mile watershed, the City of South Euclid, Ohio is taking bold steps to begin its restoration. In order to reduce pollutant loads from entering the Nine Mile Creek drainage area and ultimately Lake Erie, the City is proposing to retrofit the Langerdale stormwater management basin with approximately three acres of wooded wetlands.

The goal of this project is to enhance water quality by: introducing naturally vegetated wetland areas and increasing storage areas; restoring a channelized drainage way to a natural channel; and creating aquatic habitat. This work compliments a variety of other initiatives planned for the Langerdale basin including the establishment of a conservation easement on six acres of forested land, the removal of the concrete channel within the basin, the creation of additional capacity within the basin, modification to the emergency spillway and improvement to the primary outlet structure, among others. The basin retrofit is one of the first projects of its kind in Northeast Ohio, and we are delighted to be working with the City of South Euclid to make it happen.

The Future Looks Good (And Green) For Lafayette College

Lafayette College, founded in 1926 and located almost equidistant from Philadelphia and New York City, is one of the nation’s premier liberal arts colleges. After completing its new strategic plan, the College is now developing a robust master plan to chart its growth for the next decade and beyond.  With its location adjacent to the Delaware and Lehigh Rivers, just south of Pennsylvania’s Pocono Mountains, and with its institutional focus on sustainability, it’s no wonder that Lafayette College required that the master plan not only be “environmentally sensitive,” but must include green and environmental initiatives. As part of a team led by Ayers/Saint/Gross (ASG), we are providing ecological master planning services as an integral component of the master plan. We are currently working on a characterization of the natural resources on Lafayette’s main campus and the important ecological connections that exist between the main campus and its surrounding region. We will also be providing ASG with input regarding green infrastructure, stormwater management and a campus sustainability program. We are thrilled to help Lafayette College with this important step in weaving together its strategic plan, academic programs and unique physical setting.

Extreme Makeover: Landfill Edition

Covering over 2,200 acres, the Fresh Kills landfill in New York City holds the unenviable distinction of being the world’s largest landfill. But thanks to the vision of New York City, it is destined to be transformed into a world class park, complete with traditional park amenities, added recreational opportunities like kayaking and canoeing, an equestrian center and – get this – even restored ecological function.

When it was originally established, the Fresh Kills landfill filled what was a complex of coastal habitats that included tidal salt marshes. Closed in 2001 and no longer accepting garbage or municipal waste, the site is now in the beginning stages of its transformation, and we are thrilled to be a part of the effort. The site, now referred to as “Fresh Kills Park,” is comprised of four areas: North Park, South Park, East Park and West Park. Biohabitats recently helped complete site investigations of the South Park area of the developing Fresh Kills Park. The conclusion of this investigation marks the completion of a key step in informing the design process.

The effort is intended to help the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR), the Mayor’s office and various partner agencies understand site constraints and evaluate options for near term development. The reports prepared by Biohabitats, on the ecology of the area, potential restoration opportunities and constraints, and the relevant engineering parameters related to soil and plant elements, were developed to provide information on the proposed capital program that will allow DPR to develop a strategy for designing, permitting, and partially constructing by June 2010, with a capital budget of roughly $35 million. You also might want to check out the New York City Department of City Planning’s web pages about this project.

Putting the “Lake” Back In Thunderbird Lake

2002 brought severe drought conditions to the state of Colorado. In the City of Boulder, the effects of the drought are still evident in Thunderbird Lake, where water levels remain low to this day. The resulting increase in water temperature and decrease in  oxygen were severe enough to cause a fish kill in the Lake. In the fall of 2007, the City of Boulder Parks and Recreation Department called upon us to investigate long-term options for management of the lake. After conducting field work and facilitating public meetings to educate the community, discuss options, and solicit input, we completed a report that provided: background information on the environmental setting; an assessment of past and current water conditions and water quality; and recommendations for possible management options.

In response to the feedback from community residents, the focus of the study was to investigate possible sources of water to refill the lake and maintain it at its former level. In addition to aesthetics, considerations included water quality, costs, water rights, and wildlife habitat. The options included retrofitting the tile drain that fed the lake, redirecting storm water, installing a groundwater well, and continuing adaptive management. Monitoring wells were installed to: assist in evaluating the interrelationship between groundwater and surface water;  allow for an aquifer pump test to be performed; and assist in the selection of viable, sustainable options. Using the groundwater data, we will work with the City to re-evaluate and prioritize management options. We look forward to restoring aesthetics, recreational amenities and functioning ecological services to ThunderbirdLake.

Places & People

As you read this, Biohabitats water resources engineer and storm water guru Ted Brown is helping to lead a workshop on Sustainable Watershed Planning and Management at the Water Environment Federation’s Sustainability 2008 Conference http://www.wef.org/ConferencesTraining/ConferencesEvents/Sustainability/ in National Harbor, MD. The conference runs from June 22-25.

Biohabitats Southeast Bioregion leader, Kevin Nunnery, will be attending the Low Impact DevelopmentSummit http://www.bae.ncsu.edu/workshops/lid_summit/in Asheville. The Summit is hosted by NC State University Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering, NCSU Water Quality Group, NC Cooperative Extension, and USDA CSREES Southern Regional Water Program, and sponsored by NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources – Division of Water Quality, LowImpactDevelopmentCenter, and NCSU College of Design. Be sure to stop by the Biohabitats exhibit and say hello to Kevin.

On July 19-23, Biohabitats Invasive Species Management (ISM) vice president, Kevin Heatley, will head north to gather with university planning officials from all over the world for Society for College and University Planning’s (SCUP) annual International Conference and Idea Marketplace http://www.scup.org/annualconf/43/ conference in Montreal, Canada.

Biohabitats Great Lakes Bioregion leader, Ivette Bolender, is volunteering her time in Cleveland, OH on August 9 to help out at the Great Lakes Burning River Fest 2008 in  http://www.burningriverfest.org/, a day long festival celebrating the area’s waterways, environmental organizations, green businesses, local artists and more. If you’re in the area, don’t miss this fun, family-friendly event.

Charleston, SC is the location for this year’s Southeast Regional Quality Growth Conference http://www.southeastwaterforum.org/roundtables/default.asp. The conference, which will focus on Building Sustainable Communities for the 21st Century, will take place August 12-14. Be sure to say hello to Biohabitats Southeast Bioregion leader, Kevin Nunnery if you plan to attend!

Biohabitats is thrilled to help sponsor the California Society for Ecological Restoration (SERCAL) annual conference http://www.sercal.org/conference.htm on August 13-16 in Santa Rosa, CA. San Francisco Bay Bioregion leader, Allegra Bukojemsky, will join other SERCAL members in “Restoration’s Bigger Picture” and exploring ways to “link local restoration to regional and global issues.”

Our esteemed leader, Biohabitats president, Keith Bowers, will head to overseas to Ghent, Belgium for the Society for Ecological Restoration International’s (SER) 6th European Conference on Ecological Restoration. http://www.ser.org/pdf/2008EuropeConference.pdf The theme of this year’s conference, which takes place September 8-12, is “Towards a Sustainable Future for European Ecosystems.”

The folks in our Great Lakes Bioregion office wouldn’t miss the fourth annual Great Lakes Restoration Conference http://www.healthylakes.org/08conference/ for anything. The conference, which will take place September 10-12 in Milwaukee, WI, will focus on “Healthy Lakes 2009 – New Leadership, Real Success.” Be sure to visit the Biohabitats booth. Just look for the giant salamander.

Biohabitats Invasive Species Management vice president, Kevin Heatley, will join conservation minded folks from all over the U.S. at  Rally 2008: The National Land Conservation Conference http://www.lta.org/training/rally.htm, hosted by the Land Trust Alliance. The conference will take place in Pittsburgh, PA August 18-21.

Got an idea?

Contact The Editor

Sign up for Leaf Litter

Browse by topic

Browse by year