Giants of Sustainability – Sequoias

Most of you have Bucket Lists, I assume?

On mine was a visit and numerous hikes in Yosemite National Park.

And, to see what’s called the largest (most massive) living tree on earth. By trunk volume–no branches.

© Richard G. Williams

That’d be the “General Sherman” tree in Sequoia National Park, roughly 2-1/2 hours’ drive southeast of Yosemite.

The General Sherman is 36′ in breadth at the base; 102 ft. in diameter. This image maybe shares the sense of it? Way beyond elephantine.

2,000 years old is the minimum age estimate for The General Sherman. Probably closer to 2,700 years old.

Definitely B. C., into what’s called the Archaic Period in No. America. The Chumash People occupied this area when The General Sherman was a youngster in what’s called the Millingstone Horizon period in CA.

At 275′ tall, it isn’t the tallest sequoia. The tallest tree in the world at 376′ is the Coast Redwood, a sequoia specie.

The oldest sequoia known was 3,266 years old when it was cut down. (Imagine cutting down a tree equivalent to a 33-story building?)

While estimating the age of an existing giant sequoia isn’t anything too sure, once it’s down, ring counting proves the age.

These giant sequoias need about 1k gal. of water daily according to the NPS park ranger who described The General Sherman when we and another 60 people stood in front of it. Their root systems are shallow; only 12-14′ deep. A mature sequoia’s root system can occupy about an acre of land. Its egg-shaped cones are surprising small, and its branches start about half way up the tree.

One of the sequoias we saw had fire marks on its bark about 75′ up. So, a very, very long time ago it survived a fire threat as a young tree.

The bark of a Giant Sequoia helps protect it against fire. In a mature tree it measures some 3′ in thickness. It has a fibrous feeling to the touch; kind of like the short hair on an American boxer dog, for example. Some of it comes off in your hand if rubbing the bark. (So I stopped, wishing no harm to the tree.)

But the softness of this bark can serve as a perfectly nice cushion which this youngish couple took advantage of, no doubt at the end of a beautiful day of hiking and exploring.

The ranger also said there’s a large tannin content to the tree’s wood that wards off damaging insects or fungal disease.

Giant sequoias are a sight to behold! Get out! Go see ’em. Invigorating!

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A Magnificent, Suitably Scaled Historic Hotel in Yosemite

“El Capitan,” Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park was formed in 1890. Who signed the first legislation that protected key parts of the park?

President Abe Lincoln. In 1864 he gave the Yo-semite Valley and the Mariposa Grove of giant sequoias to the state of CA.

The National Park Service’s first director, Stephen T.  Mather, was said to personally favor Yosemite National Park at the creation of the NPS in 1916.

Clare Marie Hodges – first female park ranger in the National Park Service, 1918 at Yosemite

What other national parks were in existence by that time and run by the U.S. Department of the Interior? Well, Yellowstone, for one, opened as a national park in 1872. There were 12 others in existence before accounting for national monuments and reservations.

Back to Mather. He pushed aggressively for concessions and accommodations upgrades at Yosemite where overnighters were mostly tent campers. In July 1925, successful West Coast architect Gilbert Stanley Underwood was selected by concessionaire Yosemite Park and Curry Company to design what came to be a hotel in the Arts & Crafts style. His lodge for Bryce Canyon National Park was just opening then.

The Majestic Yosemite Hotel (nee The Ahwanhee Hotel)

Underwood’s final design is a Y-shaped hotel with 3 3-story wings flanking a 6-story central tower. Native American flourishes are added to the Arts & Crafts style in what’s sometimes called “National Park Rustic” or “Parkitecture”. First floor ceiling heights reach to 34′. Grounds designed by Frederick Law Olmstead’s firm.

To minimize the chance of fire, the selected building materials were mostly of steel, granite or concrete. The exterior is granite and concrete–the concrete is stained to look like redwood.

Cornerstone laid on 8/1/1926. No building materials were allowed to be taken from the 748,036-acre (3,027.19 km2) park–as it was and is protected.

The hotel, named Ahwanhee after what the Ahwahneechee people called the Yo-semite Valley, had its official opening July 16, 1927. Cost: $1.25m. Original cost was $525k, supposedly guaranteed.

The Great Lounge

For 2-1/2 years from 1943, the U.S. Navy converted the hotel to an R&R hospital. The Great Lounge became a dormitory for 350 men.

Ahwanhee Dining Room

Today this hotel, just lately (and hopefully, temporarily) renamed the Majestic Yosemite Hotel, offers 93 rooms, including 6 suites. In 8 close-by bungalows are another 24 rooms. Room rates in-season are what one might expect: high. Reservations for its 350-seat dining room should be made well in advance.

View from our table

During my wife’s and my visit, we ate a late lunch in The Ahwanhee Bar, just off the hotel lobby. We shared a platter of smoked salmon and trout with capers, a mild horseradish sauce and toasts. The view from our table was delightful, thank you.

Many other views are breath-taking at this iconic and historic hostelry.

 

 

The Ahwanhee Hotel was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1987–just where it belongs as to protection for its interiors as well as exteriors.

And, this building is very sustainable for its 90 years of embodied energy which I wrote about in a previous post.

One of the hotel’s earliest guests was photographer extraordinaire Ansel Adams. At the Ansel Adams Gallery in the village are low-cost reproductions of his originals taken in the park and elsewhere.

P.S. Suggested activities in the park include climbing to the top of Vernall Fall, and an evening being entertained by actor Lee Stetson who masterfully portrays John Muir as explorer, Yosemite National Park creation advocate and storyteller.

Lots of crowds when we visited a month ago, but with a tip gained from a van tour guide one day, we found a sparsely peopled trail the next day. Hiking down the trail, a loaded mule train came barreling up the trail with absolutely no warning. We pressed ourselves into the bushes alongside the narrow trail as it swept past us. Exciting!

 

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An Urban Oasis – in Portland’s Pearl District

What a delight was in store for us when finding Tanner Springs Park in downtown Portland’s Pearl District several weeks ago!

This 1-acre urban park, occupying a city block, was created back in 2010 by a team of landscape architects led by internationally-acclaimed Atelier Dreiseitl, of Ueberlingen, Germany, and GreenWorks PC, Portland. It was a brownfield site previously.

Tanner Springs has just about everything one could want in a park: a active spring, wetlands, public art (in this case, an artwall), benches, a meadow, water features, boardwalks, cobblestone paths, native shrubs and trees–even block-long stairs, inset with green grass, down into the park for sitting or laying on when the sun’s bright and temperature warm.

And, people–young, old and between.

This park is a marvelous demonstration of local ecology, stormwater management, other measures of sustainability and public input.

Interpretative signage reveals that the .45 sq. mi. Pearl District was once in its entirety a wetlands, a lake and wildlife habitat adjacent to the western edge of the Willamette River. The park sets about 20 ft. above the original lake.

The varying lengths of railroad tracks used in the wave-like artwall along NW 10th Ave. are recycled from long-gone city rail yards. A local glass company furnished panels of recycled, fused glass which were hand painted by Herbert Dreiseitl with indigenous animal and insect imagery and interspersed with the rusted steel railroad tracks.

The programming of the park provides for a mix of active and passive spaces layered on top of the functional rainwater infiltration and detention wetlands. A portion of the park’s pathways are raised boardwalks jutting through a pond featuring water lilies, then leading to narrow, meandering cobble walks among planted wetland grasses and lawn space for gathering and limited activities.

The park slopes downward over 6 ft. from street level along NW 11th Ave. on the west side eastward to NW 10th.

A signature stormwater feature is the glass rain pavilion pictured in closeup here. It’s a doff to Portland’s weather, but captures rainwater and directs it into the park. From the leaf-shaped glass roof the water is channeled into various runnels and spouts, including the one seen in pix of the stairway. Water from the sidewalk pavement simply runs off onto grassy steps and further down into the park for filtration.

Notable is the fact that the design team reached out to the Pearl District stakeholders–apartment dwellers, condo owners, businesses–for input on design features, including public workshops. What residents wanted, and got, is a place that feels natural, quiet, and restorative.

Works that way for tourists too.

© Dreiseitl

Tanner Springs Park’s restorative effect contrasts with Jamison Square, linked by boardwalk along NW 10th Ave. 2 blocks away, where a large-scale water feature invites children, their parents and others to get their feet wet and frolic. In several words: far more active, and even a bit noisy in a fun way.

Note: all photos in this blog post © Richard G. Williams unless otherwise noted.

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We’ve Got a Problem… (?)

Posted in Environmental education, Sustainable Environment

What’s A Conservation Water Fund?

You who may be subscribers to “Nature Conservancy” magazine might have noticed an article in the just-released Summer 2017 edition called: “Liquid Assets: Five large cities invest in upstream conservation to improve water quality for their residents.” (“Liquid Assets” is the principal source of this post, particularly as to the infographics shown here, the keys to them and quote marks denoting article text.)

The cities are: São Paulo, Brazil; Nairobi, Kenya; Albuquerque and San Antonio, NM and Savannah, GA.

What immediately caught my attention is the 2-part infographic shown here about how conservation practices upstream of cities protect their water supplies while saving money.

The first infographic is of a degraded watershed

“In many cities worldwide,” where watersheds are degraded, “drinking-water supplies are greatly affected by how land is managed. Practices that clear forests, increase erosion and create pollution reduce both water quality and reliability.”

The key to this infographic describes each denoted data point-

  1. DEFORESTATION: Clearing forests and other vegetation increases the erosion of soil. The sediment pollutes nearby waterways and makes filtration more difficult and expensive.
  2. AGRICULTURAL RUNOFF: Rain washes fertilizers and other chemicals into nearby water sources, polluting the city’s drinking-water supply.
  3. SOIL EROSION: Livestock entering waterways trample the riverbank, contributing to sedimentation. Fecal waste in the water increases the risk of disease.
  4. POLLUTION: Some agricultural runoff drains through pipes directly into waterways. Oil and rubbish from roads wash into rivers.
  5. REDUCED FLOW: Agricultural soils and industrial surfaces have less ability to absorb and slowly release rain than naturally vegetated soils do. This deficiency results in less water during dry times and more flooding when it rains.
  6. WATER TREATMENT: Urban centers receive dirty water that often can be unsafe for human consumption.

An accompanying Return on Investment sidebar graphic, showing a glass of murky water, reads: “Water users pay a significant cost for industrial treatment of direct water when it reaches the city.”

This second graphic is of a healthy watershed

  1. FOREST PROTECTION: Protecting forests and grasslands sustains wildlife habitat, reduces erosion, and safeguards the quality and reliability of downstream water flows.
  2. REFORESTATION: Replanting forests reduces erosion, captures carbon and expands habitat.
  3. SMART AGRICULTURE: Planting cover crops on fallowed fields and fencing livestock away from the river reduce erosion and prevent pollution. Adding trees around crops and pastures can also enhance farms and ranch income.
  4. RESTORED WETLANDS: Wetlands help filter pollutants and provide critical habitat for plants and animals.
  5. RELIABLE FLOW: Naturally vegetated soils hold water when it rains and release it slowly, which helps sustain more predictable river flows.
  6. CLEANER WATER: A well-managed watershed delivers a clean and reliable supply of water, so cities spend less on water treatment and filtration for human use.

Showing a clear glass of water, the healthy watershed Return on Investment sidebar reads: “Rather than pay for expensive industrial filtration, water users pay upstream landowners to use good farming practices and to conserve or restore natural areas that protect water at the source.”

I could report on San Antonio, a TX city that fascinates me ’cause I have yet to visit its highly acclaimed River Walk.

But a sense of environmental justice for the water-deficit country of Kenya causes me to share information about Nairobi’s water problems and a water fund solution being implemented.

Over the last 25 years and some, Nairobi’s population has doubled to 4m. 95% of these rely on water from the mountainous Upper Tana River watershed. Hillside agriculture during these recent years has “exacerbated erosion that periodically chokes the city’s water system with silt, stopping water service for days.” Of late, the Nature Conservancy has stepped in to work with the Kenyan government, utilities and corporations (including intensive water users Coca-Cola and East Africa Breweries) to create a conservation water fund.

Erosion control has been enhanced by terraced farming and buffer zones along streams at about 15k farms, funded by the Governance Board of the Nairobi Water Fund. Other initiatives have been put in place.

Late last year, “water clarity levels approached World Health Organization standards for the first time since measurements began.”

Unfortunately, water rationing requirements were instituted 1/1/17 by the Nairobi county government. Lesser rainfall beginning in May 2016 led to slower recharge of the rivers feeding the Ndakaini dam at the lower boundary of the Upper Tana River watershed which as of mid-April was 21% of its usual level.

But, it could have been worse were it not for the measures started in the upstream watershed.

 

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Resilience: Readying for Another Superstorm

Picking up where I last left off on resiliency, Development Projects Featuring “Resilience” to Climate Change (Pt 2), I noted a major project is well underway to help lessen the effects of future extreme climate events on the people and property on Staten Island. You’ll recall Superstorm Sandy absolutely clobbered Staten Island in 2012, claiming 233 lives and $Bs in property destruction?

AIA Baltimore’s guest lecturer back in late March was Gena Wirth, Design Principal at SCAPE, a landscape and urban design studio in NYC. Her topic: “Climate Change Migration.”

One of the projects she talked about is the subject of today’s post; their winning design, in collaboration with engineering firm Parsons Brinckerhoff and others, for the $60M Living Breakwaters competition for Staten Island.

Offered at the presentation was a handout which reads that newly constructed in-water infrastructure at Staten Island, adaptive to future climate change, will be linked with on-shore education to increase public awareness of ecosystems, their restorations and maintenance requirements.

Back in June 2013, HUD launched a competition called “Rebuild by Design” in response to Superstorm Sandy. The principal goal was to promote a design-led approach to proactive planning for long-term resilience and climate change adaptation.”

According to the NYS Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery (GOSR), one of the selected projects was: “The Staten Island Living Breakwaters Project which proposed a layered resiliency approach to promote risk reduction through erosion prevention, wave energy attenuation, and enhancement of ecosystems and social resiliency.”

That would be Gena’s firm, as lead.

 

 

 

 

 

Here are excerpts from the GOSR’s report

Project Purpose: Why Living Breakwaters?
The integrated purposes of the Living Breakwaters project are three-fold:
  • Risk Reduction: Address both event-based and long-term shoreline erosion in order to preserve or increase beach width, and attenuate storm waves to improve safety and prevent damage to buildings and infrastructure.
  • Ecological Enhancement: Increase the diversity of aquatic habitats in the Lower New York Harbor/Raritan Bay (e.g., oyster reefs and fish and shellfish habitat), particularly rocky/hard structured habitat that can function much like the oyster reefs that were historically found in this area.
  • Social Resiliency: Provide programming…for coastal resiliency and ecosystem stewardship; foster and encourage community stewardship and citizen science. And, increase physical and visual access to the water’s edge and near-shore waters for recreation, education, research, and stewardship activities.

 

 

 

 

 

The project area is Raritan Bay (Lower New York Harbor) along the shoreline of Tottenville and Conference House Park.., “a shallow estuary that has historically supported commercial fisheries and shell fisheries.”

Tottenville, located at the southernmost point of Staten Island, was among the hardest hit by wave action in the region. Known as “The Town the Oyster Built,” the locale was once protected by a wide shelf and oyster reefs–Gena called them “reef streets”–and was harvested by local oystermen. Now, much of Staten Island’s shoreline is absent these natural systems and remains exposed to coastal erosion and extreme wave action.

The SCAPE project consists of:
  • Living Breakwaters: An approx. 4,000LFT system of near-shore “breakwaters,” or partially submerged structures, located 730 to 1,200 ft. from shore designed not only to reduce risk, but also to provide habitat enhancements through the specialized design of the breakwater structures and use of select materials.
  • Shoreline restoration: Sand replenishment to restore the 1978 shoreline alignment from Manhattan St. to Loretto St. (where the distance between the shore and buildings is most narrow and subject to erosion).
  • Active oyster restoration by the Billion Oyster Project: Oyster installations on the breakwaters themselves. Also, oyster cultivation activities (hatching, remote setting, etc.), shell collection and curing and oyster nurseries to be installed.
  • A Water Hub: Provide a public facility for educational programs, water and shoreline stewardship activities, science and monitoring efforts, and recreational program and equipment and exhibitions related to the project.
  • Programming: Include educational, stewardship, and workforce training activities related to the other project elements.

Some of you are going to want to spend the nearly 12 mins. viewing this video case study of the project’s design considerations, conception and development. Great stuff!

Living Breakwaters Rebuild By Design Competition

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Reading About Nature, Beautifully Illustrated

Last Thursday was my final Baltimore Reading Partners tutoring session with a 2nd grader at Dallas F. Nicholas Sr. Elementary School. Just in the nick of time, I remembered we tutors were encouraged to bring a gift to our kids.  “A book, perhaps?”

This was not an amazon order, anyways, but rather a search of the shelves at the Ivy Bookshop, a great independently-owned bookstore a light-rail/bike ride north of my office. I’ve been there several times before, but not for children’s books. So, when calling in advance, I was assured there was a great selection of books for youngsters there.

Thankfully, the just-right book I found was just recently published, so featured on its own plexi-easel as recommended reading. Still, it took me awhile to actually see it, but that’s because the selection for child readers was broad and high.

Kate Messner is the award-winning author of the book I picked out for Joshua, Over and Under the Pond. Here’s its cover and two pages.

She’s a former 15-year middle school teacher who lives on Lake Champlain with her family. There she kiyaks, and ice skates when the sheet is frozen over.

She collaborated with illustrator Christopher Silas Neal on this book and a couple of others. Neal’s illustrations are perfect for their tone as well as color in this one which Joshua and I read together early that same afternoon.

One of the others is called Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt.

What Messner brings to the imagination for readers with her clear, simple sentences are augmented by Neal’s beautiful illustrations.

Surely one or more of these can be added to the summer reading list of someone you want to help appreciate nature and the environment from the earliest possible age?

Christopher Silas Neal

 

 

 

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A Flat-Out Awesome Climate Program & Info

Yale University’s Climate Change Opinion Maps are really helpful to organizations, businesses, government and just plain folks. These maps span a hefty number of surveys or polling on various aspects and consequences of global warming, including behavior.

This work is conducted by a team of psychologists, geographers, political scientists, statisticians, pollsters and communication scientists as per the program’s website.

Here are some info graphics to whet your appetite-

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Check out this interactive map from @EnergyUT to see areas where #renewables are most cost-effective- https://t.co/EzFFGuWySa. Cool!

Go here to explore for yourselves the myriad of offerings. Is your worldview reflected in anything you see?

Do you take exception to global warming opinions shared by your neighbors, community organizations or local political leaders? Click here to learn about “Global Warming’s Six Americas”.

Are your energy and water bills higher than your neighbors because you haven’t installed LEDs and low-flow plumbing fixtures in your home? Don’t know? According to Yale’s program, more than half of those interested in global warming seldom/never talk about it with family/friends. Think your neighbors are among these? (:-)

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P.S. If you believe preserving/restoring the climate worldwide takes on aspects of faith, here‘s a place to visit.  Here‘s another.

P.P.S. The other side of the Memorial Day long weekend I’m thinking to relax the once weekly postings. Never done this since the beginning–2013. Readership is usually less during the summer.

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Development Projects Featuring “Resilience” to Climate Change (Pt 2)

Pt 1 on the subject, a couple weeks back, was about The Wharf, a 24-block resilient development along 1 mi. of Washington, DC waterfront.

Today: Harvard’s Spaulding Rehab Hospital, located in the Inner Harbor of Boston. And, a late addition of related interest.

© Steinkamp Photography

Spaulding, set in Boston’s former Charlestown Navy Yard and opened in 2013, is designed for 4 days of “island mode” operations. All of the mechanical equipment, and the 13k volt electric switch-gear/service (drawn through a concrete chase) is located on the roof of the 9-story $225m building. Overall, it’s reported that resilence-programmed design and construction added about $1.5m to total development costs.

Designed by Perkins+Will, the 1st floor of the building is 30 in. above the 500-yr. flood elevation, keeping water out even during a catastrophic flood. A flooded 1st floor would not affect ongoing hospital care operations on the floors above.

© McNamara Salvia

Large blocks of granite discovered during site excavation have been repurposed as berms arranged to direct floodwaters from Boston Harbor and the Little Mystic River away from the property. Rapid site drainage from flooding has also been designed into the waterfront landscaping.

Another important concept of resilience, sheltering in place, is provided through keyed, operable (triple-glazed) windows that also afford significant daylighting. Another is a very high level of building insulation throughout. It’s reported that the energy EUI (energy use intensity) of the 262,000 sf, 132-bed hospital is 150 Btu/sf/yr. That’d be about half of that of the average American hospital.

(250kW gas-fired CHP roof-top plant – photo credit: Alex Wilson)

(gas booster for CHP system – photo credit: Alex Wilson)

Co-generation on-site provides about 25% of the building’s power needs, aimed at peak demand periods. Captured waste heat is used for water heating and other sues.

Power redundancy is provided by 2 rooftop back-up diesel generators which can power certain operating requirements for at least 4 days; or longer if electrical loads can be dialed back. The fuel tank and pump, located in the basement, are encased in a submarine-like bunker.

From the most recent presentation on Resilience attended (I walked a few blocks from my office to attend this one on the M.I.C.A. campus) came some knowledge about a fascinating project for Staten Island, NY. Daunting engineering, for one. Watch for it soon.

Return to Old Stomping Grounds for a Look at Flood Mitigation Devices

In Annapolis, city officials are considering flood mitigation devices to protect its historic City Dock area. Unlike new construction projects or a singular major renovation of an existing property where a business/es operate, the historic City Dock is populated by scores of mom-‘n-pop retailers, museums, restaurants, the Market House, a hotel and several B&Bs, and some retail or restaurant chains. Hard to elevate streets of ’em to storm surge and projected sea rise levels due to global warming.

AquaFence USA is one of two companies recently invited to demonstrate their mobile fence protection product.

The Capital‘s Chase Cook wrote: “The fence is a raised structure of varying heights [4′-8’] and a base that sits underwater. The weight of the water on the base prevents the forward momentum of the water from pushing over the fence, company officials said. And each plate is interlocked to the other with tarps that make it possible to shift and shape the fence as needed.

“Constructed of marine grade laminate, stainless steel, aluminum and reinforced PVC canvas, AquaFence systems become stronger as floodwater pressure is applied.” (Source: company’s website.)

The other company is U.S. Flood Control Corp. which displayed its TigerDam product.

 

 

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A Most Amazing Restoration I Have Yet to See…

(photo by Brian Rudnick, 2006)

The Miquon Creek Steam Restoration Project is today’s topic in honor of the recently celebrated Earth Day.

I learned about this project in a presentation by water resources engineering firm Biohabitats at “Engineering Green Maryland” last November in Baltimore. With permission from the school, Biohabitats’ Brett Long, P.E., shared information and images from his presentation.

The Miquon School, an independent founded in 1932, is located in Conshohocken, PA, an old mill town situated along the Schuylkill River in suburban Philadelphia. The name is derived from an Algonquin language and means either “elegant-ground-place” or “large-bowl-ground-place.” (courtesy Wikipedia.)

The school’s mission is Progressive Education for pre-K through 6th grade. Progressive education embraces 9 tenets. “The natural world is a place to learn” is one of ’em. In the recent years, Miquon has expanded its mission by adopting the SEED (Seeking Educational Equity and Diversity) program which training of teachers and staff impacts classroom discussions, curriculum development, and educational activities across the grades.

To fund the stream restoration project, a $95k grant from the PA Department of Environmental Protection’s “Growing Greener” program was won. Another $71k was raised from school and camp families, alumni, staff and a small host of other contributors.

The project is located in the southerly end of the Schuylkill River Watershed. Here are images of the creek both under normal conditions and during a 2009 storm. (Note the vertical utility box in the background, verifying same location for the comparative photos.)

Down-cutting into an existing stream channel, called stream incision¹, may be seen in the pix right showing high channel embankments. What causes stream incision is watershed hydrology–runoff amount and duration following a storm–where the stream channel and adjacent floodplain come out of balance with one another.² One source of imbalance is flash flooding, or heavy storm flow events which in turn can cause stream bank riparian buffers³ to be lost through failing vegetation.

What adds to potential stream erosion is increasing average total annual precipitation and more extreme storms.

Healthy stream beds are ones where the water level is nearly even with the surrounding land (floodplain). This is more likely when the impervious cover in the watershed is a lower rather than higher percentage of total land. Too much impervious cover lessens ground absorption of rainwater, typically resulting in increasing flow rate with accumulating sediment headed to a river or stream embankment. This stimulates prospects for eroded streams, or stream incisions, in the watershed.

Biohabitats’ project manager advised the school that repair strategies include: pond retrofits; infiltration/sand berms; stream restoration; regenerative stormwater conveyance; and, bioretention. Examples of previously completed projects employing certain of these strategies are show in 3 before/after pix adjacent.

Miquon selected stream restoration since it was the most feasible option to immediately address watershed hydrology effects on its property. Adopting stream restoration strategies would:

  • eliminate hazards for recreation near the stream
  • provide water quality improvement
  • lead to aquatic and terrestrial habitat improvements
  • increase habitat diversity, and
  • improve groundwater recharge

Of the stream restoration strategies, one involved building in-stream structures such as riffles (raised stream bed “bridges” as in the first pix adjacent) and boulder cascades.

(during stream restoration)

(post-construction)

This plan took 4 years to accomplish. From watershed assessment, concept evaluation, funding acquisition, design and multiple permits through construction. (One permit was for a Wetland and Bog Turtle Assessment.)

The recommended restoration strategies were synced with the school’s curriculum. Biology, ecology, botany, hydrology, math, etc. Even art. One related student project is something called Bioblitz!, a National Park Service program. Another is the Leaf Pack Network, an initiative of the Stroud Water Research Center.

In this belated Earth Day 2017 paean, hats off to Miquon School staff and students, project funders and the impressive work of the Biohabitats pros!


¹ Steam incision is further defined by stream bed embankments becoming two or more times higher than the stream “bankfull” (normal water level in the stream).

²  Perhaps this Channel Evolution model illustration helps?

³ Riparian buffers are vegetated areas that help shade and partially protect streams from adjacent land use impacts.

 

 

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