At a Glance
A plan for managing riparian corridors along Fort Wayne’s 2+ mile riverfront redevelopment area helps ensure lasting revitalization.
The confluence of the St. Joseph, St. Mary’s and Maumee Rivers, located at the geographic center of Fort Wayne, was once the heart of the city’s life, economy, and culture as well. Over past decades, however, these river systems had become underutilized and disconnected from the surrounding landscape as levees were installed along the rivers. In an effort to reestablish the rivers as the centerpiece of Fort Wayne and a world-class riverfront destination, the City of Fort Wayne launched a Riverfront Development Study, which led to the development of a conceptual plan for revitalization, recreation, and stewardship along more than two miles of riverfront.
Recognizing that thriving riverfronts require healthy riparian corridors, the city turned to Biohabitats, a member of the Study team, to develop a riparian management plan for the study area. Building upon data gathered and analyses conducted during the Riverfront Redevelopment Study, Biohabitats conducted additional assessments of aquatic, terrestrial and near shore conditions, and analyzed river morphology and bank stability, as well as vegetation communities, soils, aquatic and riparian habitat, shoreline conditions, viewsheds, and urban infrastructure. The Biohabitats team then crafted the management plan, which includes site-specific guidelines to enhance biodiversity and overall ecological functionality of riparian areas, protect and conserve riparian habitat, manage invasive species, and manage viewsheds. It also includes a job description and maintenance guidance for a Riparian Maintenance Manager and an interpretative graphic.
The riparian management plan will not only help protect the revitalized riverfronts of Fort Wayne’s Riverfront Redevelopment study area; it also provides the City with a model for enhancing other riparian areas within city limits.