At a Glance

33-acre mitigation project creates rare, forested, tidal wetlands at Philadelphia's doorstep, while enhancing climate resilience for historic, low-lying FDR park.

Project Description

The historic, 350-acre FDR Park is located at the confluence of the Schuylkill and Delaware Rivers, and very close to Philadelphia International Airport. It is also very close to sea level, and thus vulnerable to the impacts of a changing climate.

Working with the Philadelphia Department of Parks and Recreation, the Philadelphia International Airport (PHL), and PIDC Philadelphia's public-private economic development corporation, Biohabitats is transforming a neglected, 33-acre portion of the park into an ecologically functioning mosaic of tidal wetlands. The project aims to mitigate impacts to low-quality wetlands caused by an airport expansion, while also advancing the park's master plan to becoming a resilient, state-of-the art recreation complex.

Biohabitats conducted supplemental filed studies of site resources to build upon feasibility studies conducted by PHL and support concept development. Biohabitats then met with stakeholders to gain feedback. Biohabitats is currently preparing final designs, leading local permitting efforts, and supporting PHL with NEPA, State, and federal permitting requirements. The design, which factors in anticipated sea level rise and aims to create a mosaic of forested tidal wetland, a rarity in such an ultra-urban environment. Two-dimensional modeling was used to optimize site grading to ensure that eventual sea level rise would not convert the wetland habitats to open water likely to draw waterfowl considered hazardous to airport operations. The design also calls for the staging of excavated soil for later use in elevating park amenities such as ballfields.



Chesapeake/Delaware Bays

Physiographic Province

Atlantic Coastal Plain


Schuylkill River

Expertise Areas

Climate Change, Coastal, Community, Conservation, Ecological Restoration, Infrastructure, Urban Ecology, Water


Philadelphia Department of Aviation


Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States

Project Team
  • Urban Engineers
  • WRT
  • Meliora
  • KS Engineers