News

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Plan West Ashley is a Go!
South Carolina Success with Dover Kohl & Partners

Charleston City Council unanimously adopted “Plan West Ashley”, a community vision and master plan for the West Ashley area of the City – home to over half of the City’s population. Integrating community design, land use, transportation, green infrastructure, sustainability, housing, and economic development, the plan sets a bold vision for the future. We are thrilled to have been part of the Dover Kohl and Partners team for this meaningful project! To learn more about this project, contact Jon Ford, P.E. Community Planner in our Providence office.

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Hotel Sustainability in the Northern Mariana Islands
Greetings from Saipan, CNMI

Recently our project team arrived back from Saipan, CNMI with new information to begin drafting a manual of best management practices for hotel design, construction, and operations to improve resiliency at a popular destination in the Northern Mariana Islands. Our staff completed a weeklong series of interviews with hotel staff, meetings with local decision makers, and presentations to help engage and inform people about this exciting project.

Some project background – CNMI’s Bureau of Environmental and Coastal Quality is conducting three sustainability projects to increase resilience. Saipan, which is CNMI’s most populous island, provides accommodations for tourists with approximately 3,200 guest rooms at an 88% occupancy rate. Hotel development will add approximately 5,200 additional rooms in the next few years! The time for sustainable solutions is now. We are providing technical guidance along with Brian Rippy, LEED Building Design Expert, Wes Crile Islands Hotel Sustainability expert, and Manny Borja, our boots-on-the-ground engineer in Saipan. In the next few months, the project team will examine everything from energy efficiency to rainwater capture potential to closed loop food systems, and more efficient solid waste disposal streams. More news to come.

To learn more about this project, contact Kathleen McAllister, Sr. Environmental Planner in our Boston office.

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Emergency Response Exercises
Drinking Water Protection & Extreme Weather Events

Our team of experts recently facilitated two emergency response exercises in Utah and Michigan to help improve communication and coordination between drinking water and wastewater utilities and their response partners during major disasters.

In Utah, the scenario centered on a hazardous material spill in the Provo River, a vital source of drinking water for Salt Lake City and other communities. The Utah Division of Emergency Management’s Section Manager of Utah’s Public-Private Partnership stated that the exercise was the first state-level exercise to involve the water sector. He also expressed confidence that the results of the exercise would lead to several response and communication improvements that would enable Utah to better and more quickly recover from a significant drinking water incident.

In Michigan, the exercise provided an opportunity to test MiWARN, a mutual aid network for water, wastewater and public works agencies in Michigan. The exercise also tested local and state emergency response capabilities. Both functional exercises were communications based and allowed participants to simulate their responses to hypothetical incidents affecting water and wastewater utilities.

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Gray’s Beach Living Shoreline
Protection from Sea Level Rise & Safe Recreation

Gray’s Beach is a popular destination for residents and visitors alike, and is the only public beach in the Town of Kingston, MA. However, the beach’s failing retaining stone seawall is creating a significant public safety concern and is causing beach erosion.

The Town hired HW to determine if a living marsh and sand dune system could protect the shoreline from sea level rise and provide safe recreation for all. Living shoreline projects enhance habitat, maintain shoreline processes, encourage healthy ecosystems, and improve coastal resilience. The project will enhance coastal biological and physical processes to provide better floodwater storage, wave energy dissipation, and pollution and nutrient filtering. Installation of properly sized overflow drainage systems will allow existing bioretention areas to better collect and process larger amounts of stormwater. The existing food service and bathroom facility will be reconstructed further away from the coast, and fill will be removed to re-establish the coastline and expand the recreational area. Rest areas, parking spaces and the new bathroom facility, patio will be ADA compliant and will provide views to the sea. A flush boardwalk and MobiMat will ensure equal access to the beach area. The project is scheduled for construction beginning in February 2018.

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Hafa Adai, Sustainability!
Evaluating Hotel Sustainability Practices in CNMI

The tourism industry in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) has seen a boom since 2014, after a lull in the mid 2000’s due to the Asian Financial Crisis. Tourists are coming back to beautiful CNMI to enjoy the picturesque coastal landscape, local shops and restaurants, and unique culture. With the uptick in tourism comes more growth in the hospitality industry, and this increased pressure on island resources has the Bureau of Environmental and Coastal Quality (BECQ) thinking “green.” We are working with BECQ, the hotel association, and other stakeholders to identify sustainable hotel design, construction, and operational practices. We have teamed up with sustainability experts Brian Rippy and Wes Crile. Brian was the mastermind behind the first LEED-platinum, NetZero office building in the South Pacific (American Samoa EPA office building), and Wes has been an integral part of Hawaii’s green hospitality certification program. As part of this project, the HW Team will evaluate international hotel sustainability practices that address environmental, social, and economic concerns; review current sustainable hotel activities in CNMI; and create a guidance manual recommending best practices for a sustainable hotel industry. BECQ anticipates integrating sustainability criteria into major development permits. The HW Team will conduct trainings for hotels on how to design and implement hotel sustainability programs. As always, we look forward to working with our partners in CNMI on this important work.

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Eco Friendly Improvements at Boston Public Schools
Washington Irving and Hernandez Schools Embrace Green Infrastructure

The Boston Water and Sewer Commission and Boston Public Schools have completed construction of stormwater green infrastructure at the Washington Irving and Rafael Hernandez Schools. Our enthusiasm for these installations is only outmatched by the excitement of the students and, perhaps, the Commission’s project coordinator, Kate England! Boston Mayor Walsh attended the ribbon cutting at the Irving in October to debut what he called Boston’s “flagship” school.

Washington Irving now boasts the City’s largest public bioretention facility—serving as an outdoor classroom and pollinator garden—and a pervious synthetic turf field with surrounding tree filters in what used to be an asphalt play yard. A redesigned parking lot provides New England’s only (to the best of our knowledge) paired-swale system for comparing traditional (concrete swale) and “green” (bioswale) stormwater management. We designed these facilities with support from our partners Offshoots, Inc., the Charles River Watershed Association, and Tasco Construction. Curriculum Developer, Kristin Metz has also been working with the team to develop stormwater lesson plans that align with the updated MA Science, Technology/Engineering Standards that will be integrated into the City’s 7th grade science curriculum.

The Hernandez school offers a redesigned play space for students including new play equipment and turf field designed by the students, teachers, and Icon Parks Design, as well as a companion stormwater hardscape for interactive learning, which was designed by the HW team. This stormwater park mimics the journey of the Charles River through the City, encouraging students to manipulate flows through an “urban” watershed using hand pumps and sluice gates with ultimate discharge into a bioretention area. Landscaping includes plants you would expect to find along the banks of the Charles. Metro Equipment Corp. is the construction contractor for this project.

Upcoming Event: The Hernandez dedication ceremony is scheduled for early spring 2018 and construction at the Ellis, Jackson-Mann, and Kennedy schools is expected to begin in Spring/Summer 2018.

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Taking Care of Green Stormwater Infrastructure
Training Workshop at GI installations in Roger Williams Park, RI

Practitioners are learning that green infrastructure presents special maintenance challenges — in part because the projects are visible additions to the landscape. Recently, Brian Kuchar joined the the Rhode Island Green Infrastructure Coalition, the Providence Parks Department and RI NEMO in presenting a workshop on maintenance of several of the Green Infrastructure installations in Roger Williams Park. Attendees included maintenance staff from Providence Parks, RI Department of Transportation and Groundwork Rhode Island. This experience will help engineers design future Green Infrastructure with a careful eye to maintenance. Workshop sponsors – The City of Providence and the Green Infrastructure Coalition. Assistance provided by RI NEMO, with RI Department of Transportation funding and RI Department of Environmental Management support.

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Another Step Forward with the Roslindale Gateway Path
Multi-use Path Design

The Roslindale Gateway Path is a proposed multi-use path connecting residents and visitors between Roslindale Village, the Arnold Arboretum, Forest Hills and the Southwest Corridor Park multi-use path. The project is intended to provide an alternative route for commuters, a link for underserved portions of Roslindale, and greater access to experience the Arnold Arboretum’s collections. This is a collaborative effort of several project partners, including the Arnold Arboretum, the Arboretum Park Conservancy, WalkUP Roslindale, and LivableStreets Alliance. We are currently working with the project partners to develop the 25% design concept, building on previous design concepts developed over the last two years.

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Applying Green Infrastructure in Tight Spaces
Urban Retrofits

HW is working with the Town of Watertown and the Charles River Watershed Association (CRWA) to help remove non-point source pollutant loads from stormwater discharging to the Charles River. Green infrastructure (GI) in urban communities includes many challenges but it can help mitigate drainage issues and flooding, and can remove pollutants such as phosphorous, which are creating algae blooms in our rivers. Tree trenches are a great way to alleviate flooding and they provide aesthetic benefits to a neighborhood setting. The existing catch basins are retrofitted allowing stormwater to flow through a perforated pipe under the sidewalk filling up a stone trench and providing a water source for the tree. The photo illustrates a tree trench on Edenfield Avenue in Watertown, notice how large the trench is beneath the sidewalk, but once it is covered, a person walking over it will never know. The trees being planted in Watertown include Trident Maple, Eastern Redbud, and Autumn Gold Ginkgo, chosen to provide year round interest and are able to tolerate urban conditions without growing too tall.

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Engineers without Borders
Valle Las Perlas, Panama

Gemma Kite, an environmental engineer with HW, recently traveled to Valle Las Perlas, Panama and led a group of students from University of Massachusetts Dartmouth’s Engineers without Borders student chapter. Gemma is the chapter’s mentor and advises the students on the project’s technical aspects. The project goal is to enhance the existing spring-fed gravity water system built in the 1990s. The current spring’s yield is too small to provide enough water for everyone in the community, so the group has been exploring nearby spring sources. During the trip, the students witnessed that lack of maintenance and community politics preventing the system from operating to its fullest capacity. This is Gemma’s third year mentoring the student chapter. Prior to working at HW, Gemma was the Water and Sanitation Program Manager for a French-NGO supported project in Bombali District, Sierra Leone. For more information about Engineers without Borders, please visit: https://www.ewb-usa.org/

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News from the Tropics

Like many of you, we have been stunned by the horrific destruction left by not one, but two major hurricanes in the Caribbean. Our hearts go out to our friends and colleagues who have lost so much, especially in the US and British Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. We continue to be inspired by their stories of survival, courage to rebuild, and generosity in helping fellow islanders through these times. For those of us not affected by Irma and Maria, consider donating to the Virgin Island Community Foundation Hurricane Relief Funds, of which 100% of your donation is distributed to relief efforts across St. Croix, St. Thomas, and St. John.

Much of our work in the Caribbean is with federal and territorial agencies or community groups including NOAA, VI Department of Planning and Natural Resources, St. Croix Environmental Association, Coral Bay Community Council, Virgin Islands Conservation Society, the Smith Bay Community Action Committee, and the Association of Reef Keepers (BVI). HW and our teaming partners Protectores de Cuencas (Puerto Rico) and Reef to Ridge Solutions (Hawaii/Australia) were recently awarded the rebid of a 5-year, $2.5 Million watershed services contract with NOAA’s Coral Reef Conservation Program. This contract supports watershed restoration planning, training, engineering, and construction projects to reduce land-based sources of pollution in Hawaii, Guam, Northern Marina Islands, American Samoa, Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and Florida. This work ranks as some of our company’s most professionally rewarding, as it speaks directly to our mission of environmental sustainability and aligns us with so many outstanding local partners (www.horsleywitten.com/tropics).

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Water Research Foundation Project

Senior Project Manager, Tom Noble and our emergency planning and response experts worked with the Water Resource Foundation on an “Innovative Preparedness and Response Practices to Support Water System Resilience” initiative. This project identified practices and procedures in published literature or in use at water utilities around the country that enhance emergency preparedness and response. View final project results. Learn more about our emergency preparedness services.

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Notice of Public Comment Period for Natural Heritage Maps

The Massachusetts Natural Heritage & Endangered Species Program (NHESP) has released draft maps of Priority Habitat across the State. www.mass.gov/dfw/nhesp/map-comment. This will be the first time the maps have been updated officially since 2008. There is a 60-day comment period ending June 3, 2017. Comments may also be submitted via email (to natural.heritage@state.ma.us) or in writing to:

Natural Heritage & Endangered Species Program
Attn: DRAFT Priority Habitat Map Comment
1 Rabbit Hill Road
Westborough, MA 01581

Contact Amy Ball, PWS, with any questions. We can help you navigate the Natural Heritage MESA process.

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HW Supports Vigilant Guard Training Exercise in Georgia!

The scenario is a dam breach at a drinking water reservoir and it floods the local community. The location is the Macon, Georgia Water Authority. Last month, we facilitated a training exercise as part of a statewide Vigilant Guard 17 emergency response exercise. The Macon Water authority was the sole water sector utility to participate in Vigilant Guard. HW conducted the training and facilitated the full day for the Macon Water Authority, Georgia Environmental Protection Division and the Georgia and South Carolina National Guard.

What is the Vigilant Guard?

Vigilant Guard is a United States Northern Command and National Guard Bureau sponsored exercise program. Exercises are held in a different state each year.

“The purpose of this large-scale, comprehensive exercise is to simulate a real-world natural disaster in order to improve cooperation among local, state, and federal stakeholders in preparing for emergencies and any sort of catastrophic event,” Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal.

Our staff developed a comprehensive after action report and improvement plan that will serve as a roadmap to increase resilience to future dam-related incidents for the 60 plus stakeholders from the federal, state, and local government agencies as well as public and private water sector partners that participated in the March 28th event. We also helped the Macon Water Authority prepare and respond to a hypothetical chlorine spill during the March 30th full-scale exercise. We collaborated with the Exercise Planning Team to create a master scenario event list, exercise evaluation guide and various incident command system forms.

More Information on the Macon Georgia Vigilant Guard Training Exercise

Article, http://www.macon.com/news/local/article139803653.html

Video, http://wgxa.tv/news/local/macon-water-authority-hosts-georgia-vigilant-guard-exercise

We provide emergency preparedness training all over the country. Learn about our experts.

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Horsley Witten Extends EPA Contract

HW welcomes the opportunity to provide quality services once again for the EPA’s Office of Science and Technology assisting their efforts to develop and implement water quality standards to protect the nation’s lakes, rivers, streams and coastal waters. The extended contract is for five years and is valued at over $16 Million. Previously, we worked within a five-year contract, focusing on the development of water quality standards for Oregon, Washington, Idaho, California, and Tribal organizations. We also facilitated the EPA’s Water Quality Standards Academy for federal and state officials. Our extended contract provides the opportunity to work with other offices in the EPA’s Office of Water. Projects will focus on technical assistance for wastewater management, drinking water protection, green infrastructure and wetlands protection. We look forward to continuing our relationship of 27 years and providing quality environmental consulting services and trainings for EPA’s offices.

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Vision Plan Kickoff for Exeter, NH sets record attendance!

On January 25, HW set a company record for attendance at a Master Plan public forum! Over 200 residents of all ages came to share ideas about how they see their community today and what they hope for in the future. As we often do, HW involved members of the Steering Committee and the Regional Planning Council to help with facilitation. This approach simultaneously bolsters the team’s local knowledge and involves local and regional leaders in the community discussion as it evolves. Participants in break out groups worked from broad concepts down to real strategies over the course of just over an hour. The diversity of ideas was incredible and provided us with pages and pages of amazing material that will feed into the final product. To see how our public engagement professionals organize all of this information, visit https://www.visionexeter.com/january-25-materials. As we emerge from the cold weather, the first wave of our public engagement strategy is coming to a close and we’re putting pen to paper. Stay tuned to see the first drafts as they emerge…

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Improving Water Quality in the Three Bays Watershed
Barnstable, MA

We are pleased to announce a new project with the Association to Preserve Cape Cod (APCC) and local partners, Barnstable DPW and Three Bays Preservation. We are collaborating to reduce stormwater pollution to the Three Bays watershed in the town of Barnstable. The watershed is roughly 12,500 acres and includes land draining to Cotuit Bay, North Bay, Prince Cove, Seapuit River, and West Bay. Like many coastal watersheds on Cape Cod, the Three Bays system is severely degraded by nitrogen and bacteria, leading to closures of beaches and shellfish areas. The goal is to identify a suite of opportunities for improving water quality in this area and actually implement two or more of the top priority projects.

Education and outreach are integral to this endeavor. We will be hosting several public and neighborhood meetings to share updates and gather feedback throughout the project. Hands-on workshops will help train municipal staff and volunteers alike about how to build a rain garden and perform stormwater maintenance. We are thrilled to be involved in this exciting project right here in our backyard! Learn more about this project and others on Cape Cod here: APCC.org/rcc.

Environmental Protection Agency Southeast New England provides funding for this project.

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Green Infrastructure Practices at the Henderson Boathouse
Northeastern University, Boston, MA

Henderson Boathouse is the home of the Northeastern University Huskies rowing teams. Designed by renowned architect Graham Gund, the Victorian inspired building includes a five-bayed boathouse and features modern technologies for today’s athletes. Recently, the University hired HW, Halvorson Design Partners, and Offshoots to collaborate on the redesign of the parking area and building entrance space. As part of the University’s commitment to the principals of sustainability, the design will highlight green infrastructure practices to treat stormwater runoff and the use of sustainable materials within the proposed entry plaza.

Due to the site’s proximity to the Charles River and the resultant need to reduce phosphorous loading, the design team will explore opportunities to include pervious surface treatments, bioswales, tree filters, and above and below ground infiltration practices where applicable. The stormwater management strategy will be closely coordinated with the University and will be a collaborative effort among the project team members. The design team will see the project through conceptual design, permitting and the development of construction documents. The project construction will be complete in the summer of 2017.

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East Farmingdale NY Master Plan & Form Based Code

HW will collaborate again with Dover Kohl & Partners, a Florida-based urban design firm specializing in participatory town planning and zoning code reform on a neighborhood design and form-based zoning code for East Farmingdale, an unincorporated hamlet of Babylon, New York. Located on Long Island, the Town of Babylon is the most densely populated municipality in Suffolk County and includes eight hamlets and three villages. The Town intends to utilize a form-based code as a tool for recreating a rich and vibrant commercial node and corridor – linking neighborhoods, rebuilding the public realm, and creating a more predictable process and certain outcome for both the Town and future developers. HW will be collaborating with the interdisciplinary team on urban design and planning/codewriting, and will lead green infrastructure design, landscape/open space planning, and environmental performance metrics tasks. The project will be centered on a 5-day design charrette. The NY Cleaner Greener Communities Program Grant provides funding for this project. For more information about this project, contact Jon Ford, P.E., jford@horsleywitten.com

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Watershed Assessments on St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands

Recently, Horsley Witten Group and partners conducted watershed assessments of Smith Bay, Water Bay, and Magens Bay on St. Thomas.

A major concern of business owners and residents in Smith Bay is the flooding of roads and the local ball field. The project team talked to community members who were eager to share their flooding stories. With help from the USVI government (Parks and Recreation, Public Works, and DPNR), we dug a test pit in the ball field to get a look at the soil profile. These on the ground investigations, will lead to recommendations for pollution prevention and projects to reduce flooding in Smith Bay.

In Magens Bay, we worked with Patricia Reed and the Magens Bay Authority to find pollution sources and to conduct a functionality assessment of the wetlands adjacent to Magens Bay beach, a premier tourism beach. We conducted transects of the wetlands – looking at species composition and sediment deposition at regular intervals. The results of the investigation will include pollution prevention activities, evaluation of the effectiveness of the wetlands and recommendations for restoration if necessary. More information http://www.horsleywitten.com/smithbay/

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Brockton, MA – Adaptive Re-use & Affordable Housing

HW is working with the Archdiocese Planning Office of Urban Affairs (POUA) to help develop affordable housing on vacant or underutilized church property. The property is an existing convent in Brockton, Massachusetts. The main building will be an adaptive re-use of 38 residential units, and the rest of the site will be redeveloped with 137 units. Working with The Architectural Team (TAT) out of Chelsea, HW’s role to date has focused on providing site survey, wetland flagging, and the development of a “Smart Growth Overlay District” per Mass General Law Chapter 40R. Under this program, the City of Brockton can receive significant cash incentive payments for the development of affordable housing through a specially designed overlay district. Nathan Kelly, AICP, HW’s Principal Planner, is the lead consultant charged with writing the application, featuring the new Zoning Ordinance provisions. The overlay district allows for up to 22 residential units per acre by right provided strict design and performance measures are met. Once the zoning passes at the local level and the City receives approval of the district from the Commonwealth, HW will replace our “planner hat” with our “designer hat”. Our landscape architects and civil engineers will get to work on full site design issues including connection to municipal utilities and a stormwater management system.

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Sachem’s Path – Making Homes Affordable on Nantucket

HW collaborated with the Housing Assistance Corporation of Cape Cod and the Nantucket Housing Authority to provide engineering, site and landscaping design, permitting, and construction administration services for a proposed 40-lot subdivision on Nantucket. Sachem’s Path is an affordable housing development, which currently features sixteen traditional Nantucket cottage style homes, integrated into surrounding conservation lands. Located near the schools off Surfside Road, and abutting a bike path, the small neighborhood is both charming and convenient. The houses are a mixture of one-, two- and three-bedrooms, with each featuring its own yard, and a private driveway. All are designed to be energy efficient. The project site design incorporated Low Impact Development practices and the landscape design emphasized the use of low maintenance, native plantings. It was a priority for the designers to integrate the development’s needs with the site’s delicate surrounding environment. More information can be found here: http://sachemspath.org/

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Bristol Health Equity Zone Initiative

HW continues to support the Town of Bristol, RI in implementing Year 2 of the Bristol Health Equity Zone (HEZ) initiative. The term “health equity” implies creating equal opportunities for healthy living by eliminating health disparities, assuring healthy childhood development, preventing and controlling disease and disability, addressing social and emotional health, and working for a clean environment. A health equity zone is an area of the community where these opportunities need to be bolstered due to higher rates of obesity, illness, injury, chronic disease, or other adverse health outcomes. Despite the overall increasing household wealth of Bristol residents from 2000 to 2012, almost a third of all Bristol households have what public agencies define as “extremely low-income” levels – a significant amount that will affect the general housing, nutrition, and educational needs of the community.

Collaborating with Roger Williams University and the Bristol HEZ Collaborative and Physical Activity Working Group, HW is facilitating the implementation of several physical design assessments including the Food Venue Assessment, Walk Audit, and Handlebar Survey. All three assessments look at the existing conditions within the community, identify gaps in services, and provide both short- and long-term recommendations for improvement planning. During Year 1 of the Bristol HEZ initiative, HW facilitated the development of the HEZ Collaborative – a wide representation of community members from various municipal departments, decision-makers, business owners, residents and the Roger Williams University community. The Baseline Assessment of Health Needs in the Community was also completed to establish a baseline of existing conditions and to identify viable strategies for inclusion in the Work Plan targeted for funding during Year 2.

HW assisted the Town of Bristol in garnering over $320,000 in funding to implement a range of strategies targeted at improving the quality of life of Bristol residents. Funding for this effort is from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), and implemented through the Rhode Island Department of Health (HEALTH).

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Heritage Museums & Gardens Site Improvements

If you have ever visited or lived near Sandwich, Massachusetts, then you have most likely heard of Heritage Museums & Gardens. The 100-acre property located in historic Sandwich Village is a premier destination for both residents and tourists alike. For over 45 years, Heritage has offered a network of nature trails, expansive landscape exhibits, special event galleries, and educational opportunities for all ages.

For many years, an area of Heritage that seemed out of character was the entrance and main parking facility. Visitors would never have considered this area, where the “voyage” into the beautiful gardens begins, as a highlight of the experience. In the fall of 2016, the initial phase of a multi-faceted parking improvement project will be complete. HW built upon a Master Plan completed by Sasaki, as well as the Concept initiated by GWWO and Oemhe Van Sweden, to help re-imagine the first impression of the facility, the entrance and associated parking and walkways. HW led the design from concept through construction, as well as the challenging permitting process through the Historic and Scenic Road Committees. HW is assisting Heritage through the construction process with the selected contractor, Robert B. Our Company.

The goal of the design is to improve the sense of “place” at the main entrance and vastly improve the safety and accessibility for all. Once complete, the new parking facility will provide over 180 parking spaces for patrons of the new adventure park. The new design features a drop-off ellipse for buses and cars, walkways devoted to the pedestrian’s experience and safety, and landscaped low-impact design (LID) solutions for stormwater management. The design includes five bioretention basins designed to collect, control and treat runoff as a result of additional pavement. The amazingly detailed and extensive planting plan includes 8,200 new perennials, 350 new flowering shrubs, and 100 new specimen trees. From the beginning, the project has maintained a strong focus on landscape design. The “green” parking lot design concept completes the overall visitor’s experience. In the spring of 2017, construction of the full project will be complete, in time to celebrate the new season.

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City of Peabody, MA – Pedestrian Trails

The City of Peabody is at it again with Phase 2 of the South Peabody Pedestrian Trail nearing completion. Once finished, it will provide several miles of walking, biking, and multimodal recreational trails along and above wetland resources from the Meadow Golf Course to Sunset Drive. HW assisted the City in its efforts from concept to construction with Phase 1 built by Haven Contracting Corporation of Westwood, MA and Phase 2 constructed by M.J. Cataldo, Inc. of Littleton, MA. Funding for both phases was through the Commonwealth’s Gateway Cities program, which was aggressively pursued by the City’s Planning Department. From the trails elevated wooden deck over Sydney’s Pond to the vegetated bioretentions and porous pavement path along Springs Pond, this project is a success in a dynamic Massachusetts City.

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Belchertown, MA Design Charette

Jon Ford recently participated in an American Institute of Architects’ Design & Resiliency Team (AIA DART) charrette in Belchertown, Massachusetts. The DART charrette brought volunteer technical experts together for three days of intense community visioning and design workshops to produce solutions for a more resilient Belchertown. The resulting “Three Villages and a Farm” plan addresses redevelopment opportunities, connectivity, and complete streets design within Belchertown’s unique historic, cultural, and economic context. This is Jon’s second DART volunteer gig, the first in 2014 tackling main street revitalization and sea level rise in Bath, Maine’s historic downtown.

The AIA DART pilot program is a partnership between the AIA and the New England Municipal Sustainability Network, created to assist smaller New England cities and towns with resiliency planning. With two years of community-based charrettes and intensive workshops under its belt, the program is already gaining traction in smaller towns and cities perennially challenged to fund such longer-term efforts. Recent DART charrettes in five New England communities are unique interventions combining the science of sea level rise with evolving green infrastructure, downtown revitalization, and urban design practices.

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Stormwater Run-off and Nitrogen Removal, Route 6, Cape Cod

MassDOT is implementing an aggressive program to provide stormwater improvements on its highways. Most of these improvements are the result of the so-called “Impaired Waters Program.” In this program, MassDOT is committed to managing stormwater on roadways that drain to impaired waterbody segments. In the last five years, MassDOT has identified hundreds of projects and is steadily implementing stormwater controls in watersheds across the Commonwealth. Since 2013, HW has provided both stormwater assessment and design services to MassDOT under a subcontract with Stantec.

MassDOT has also recognized that it makes economic sense to implement stormwater controls in conjunction with other projects, even if a highway is not directly discharging to an impaired waterbody. One such project is the upcoming repaving of Route 6 on Cape Cod. This is particularly timely as communities across the Cape are looking for ways to reduce nitrogen loading to coastal embayments. While runoff from Route 6 is a small percentage of the overall nitrogen loading, MassDOT has a great opportunity to reduce its share of the nitrogen, undertake a project that can serve as a demonstration to the towns on the Cape, and illustrate a cost effective approach by combining stormwater management with other transportation improvements.

HW completed an initial feasibly assessment of stormwater management opportunities along 12.5 miles of roadway from Dennis to Orleans in the summer of 2015. Following a project prioritization based on maximizing reduction of nitrogen loads, reducing erosive velocities, and increasing flowpaths, HW is completing site-specific final designs for the top six ranked nitrogen-removing controls. HW has also identified twenty-six outfalls that will receive a unique application of a compost filter tube to augment nitrogen removal and reduce flow velocities at outfalls. Construction of these outfall controls will begin this fall with the entire suite of practices slated for implementation by November 2017.

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BVI Adventures – Cane Garden Bay, Tortola

Working with partners Smith Warner (Jamaica) and Shannon Gore (BVI), HW is contributing to an integrated project focused on building a scientific understanding of coastal erosion and watershed sedimentation issues in Cane Garden Bay and Brewers Bay. Long-term decline in near shore coral reef structure due to a number of issues including land-based sediment loading is thought to have resulted in increased exposure of local beaches to erosive wave action and increased vulnerability to sea level rise. The HW portion of the project consists of a watershed assessment, development of a hydrologic and pollutant loading model, and the design and implementation of two watershed retrofits with the ultimate goal of improving water quality and coral reef health in the bays. Smith Warner is conducting the coastal portion of the project, including current, wave, and beach erosion modeling and design of shoreline restoration projects. The results of the integrated project will increase understanding and protection of economically-important beaches, improve the resilience of local communities in the face of climate change impacts such as sea level rise and increased storm intensity, and implementation of four shoreline and watershed restoration projects. During field assessments in April 2016, HW inspected roads, wastewater infrastructure, construction sites, guts (streams), and salt ponds. Representatives of the BVI Ministry of Natural Resources and Labour joined us to supply critical local knowledge of watershed issues. During a community meeting, the public provided valuable input on flooding, wastewater, and sedimentation challenges and solutions.

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STEM Academy

Recently HW participated in the Sandwich STEM Academy Exploration & Discovery Day! Brian Kuchar and Brian Laverriere presented “Complete Streets” and were very impressed with the future Landscape Architects and Civil Engineers recommendations! Anne Kitchell and Michelle West demonstrated what a true “Drainage Detective” is all about by extending the classroom to the parking lot where future Water Resource Engineers and Watershed Planners could see firsthand how stormwater works at their school. Tara Nye and Amy Ball met with future Ecologists and Scientists to learn about the importance of protecting wetlands, vernal pools, wildlife, and salt marshes. We thank the STEM Academy Staff for inviting us to participate. Your 7th and 8th grade students were a joy to work with!

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Post Office Square – Boston, MA

HW collaborated with Hayes Pumps, the equipment supplier, and permitted an integrated water management system at Post Office Square. This project addressed local sources of water and consideration of how we utilize our limited high-quality drinking water for non-potable purposes. The design exemplifies improved water resource management, including groundwater reclamation and green infrastructure concepts. The new system uses the groundwater, which is already being pumped to lower its level and did not impact the underground garage to supply the toilets and wash the floors. This project features two substantial benefits; it eliminates the use of treated drinking water, coming from the Quabbin Reservoir; and it greatly reduces the amount of groundwater sent to Deer Island. The annual savings for the facility is estimated to be $10,000.

HW Joins Forces with Dover, Kohl & Partners on Complete Streets Corridor Study

HW collaborated with Dover, Kohl and Partners, Alta Planning and Design, Partners for Economic Solutions, and local stakeholders on the Folly Road, South Carolina complete street vision. Folly Road is the main spine of James Island, located south of the city of Charleston, South Carolina. Despite rich heritage and natural beauty, auto-oriented transportation infrastructure and sprawling development patterns are eroding the corridor’s charm. The team led stakeholder input sessions, public visioning, design and engineering, and a final “work-in-progress” presentation during an intense interdisciplinary seven-day design charrette in 2015. The final study combines urban design and mobility planning with green suburban retrofit design, GI approaches within the right-of-way calibrated to urban and ecological context, and design of a demonstration GI project including phased implementation. The City of Charleston, Charleston County, Town of James Island, and City of Folly Beach have officially approved the plan.

HW leads Multiagency Drinking Water Exercise in Washington, D.C.

On Friday, December 11, 2015, oil spilled into the Potomac River. To prevent contamination to Washington D.C.’s drinking water, water intakes on the Potomac River were closed at 1:00 AM on Saturday, December 12, 2015. Mandatory water restrictions followed to preserve fire-fighting capabilities and to extend the life of the water supply for sanitation purposes.

Did this really happen? Fortunately, the answer is no. But it could, which is why HW staff worked closely with DC Water and others to design this real world disaster scenario, used as a basis for a three-day multiagency exercise in Washington D.C. Led by Carl Simons of HW, the exercise began with an activation of DC Water’s Incident Management Team to develop the initial Incident Action Plan.

  • (Day 1), the formation of field sampling teams to gather water quality samples and deliver them to area laboratories
  • (Day 2), ended with an After Action Conference to exchange lessons learned
  • (Day 3), Participating agencies in the exercise included U.S. EPA Region 3, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, the 33rd Civil Support Team, Washington Aqueduct, Prince William County Services Authority, Washington Suburban Sanitation Commission, Fairfax Water, and the D.C. Departments of Forensic Science, Fire, Energy & Environment, and Homeland Security and Emergency Management.
One exercise participant commented “Awesome job DC Water Office of Emergency Management. Cannot wait for the next one!” Read more about this HW facilitated exercise in the Washington Post.

Adaptive Residential Reuse at the Walker School

HW helped to create a much-desired affordable housing complex consisting of forty bedrooms for senior citizens and the disabled at the former Walker School property. The site is located in a desirable pedestrian-friendly, transit-oriented neighborhood within a short walk of the Weir Village Riverfront Park, Taunton River, and public transportation. This project was well suited for adaptive residential reuse. Design objectives included improving the site from a vacant building into a vibrant residential complex, complementing the surrounding urban residential neighborhood, and maintaining the historic nature of the facility. Additional design objectives included providing safe vehicle and pedestrian access, connectivity to the larger neighborhood, and Green Infrastructure with stormwater improvements. The building reuse and historic restoration was a collaborative project successfully completed by the Affordable Housing and Services Collaborative, Inc. (AHSC), The Architectural Team, and Taunton Revitalization, Inc. HW worked with AHSC to coordinate and complete the permitting and design, and completed a Phase I Hazardous Materials Assessment to understand the potential cost for removal or mitigation and the impacts to the development.

Green Infrastructure Solutions for Boston Water & Sewer Commission

The Boston Water and Sewer Commission (BWSC) selected HW to design green infrastructure (GI) solutions to manage stormwater runoff and engage students at five of the Boston Public Schools (BPS). This project will serve to address current conditions as well as influence future redevelopment at other schools. As part of an Educational and Facility Master Planning process, BPS will incorporate GI into its strategic plan for educational programming and capital investments over the next ten years. One of the most exciting components of this project is the integration of stormwater into the science curriculum for third, sixth, and ninth graders.

The team will be evaluating GI options like permeable surfaces, bioretention, tree filters, and green roofs for implementation in schoolyards. Many public schools are located within the Charles and Neponset River watersheds where BWSC is now responsible for bacteria and phosphorous water quality improvements. HW is leading a team of professionals to provide site investigations, GI feasibility assessments, soil evaluations, GI siting and design, estimates for construction, the stakeholder input process, and development of a stormwater GI curriculum to support the GI features at each school. This project kicked off in September 2015 and has an estimated completion date of June 2016.

Stormwater Management Solutions – Improved Parking lot and Bioretention (Rain Garden) Design

HW collaborated with the Town of Sandwich Department of Public Works (DPW) and Library staff on a library parking lot improvement project. HW recommended several design concepts and worked diligently through the process with the town and library staff to create a final design that met expectations. HW provided permitting services for application to the Conservation and Historic Commissions. Other services included construction plans and specifications, cost estimating, public bidding, surveying and construction administration. This successful project greatly improved library access versus existing conditions for its patrons, deliveries, and safety vehicles. HW implemented low impact design elements which include grass swales, bioretention areas (rain gardens), and infiltration, to improve stormwater quality which is ultimately discharged to an on-site wetland as well as a nearby salt marsh.

HW’s engineers, landscape architects, and graphic designers worked with DPW and Library staff to create an interpretive sign for the site. The sign features the functionality of the system, the stormwater improvements, and the protection of the environment. Patrons and children who participate in Nature’s Classroom library events will find the sign helpful and educational. Lastly, HW escalated the project timeline so the client could utilize paving contractor’s services who were working on nearby municipal roads.

HW Helps Develop Regional Training Program for Coastal Resiliency on the Florida Panhandle

Workshops and Site Visits based on FEMA and EPA processes

HW trains planning officials and utility managers across the country to better assess and respond to natural hazards made worse by climate change. Most recently, we brought our national experience to communities on the Florida panhandle to help them create regional flood resilience strategies and identify mitigation projects. Our staff is working with utilities, local mitigation planners, and floodplain managers to help them:

  • Assess flood risks
  • Identify vulnerable utility assets
  • Identify mitigation actions for utilities and the region
  • Integrate utilities into local/state mitigation plans
  • Explore funding for mitigation actions

The work is based on FEMA’s hazard mitigation planning process and draws from EPA’s Flood Resilience: A Basic Guide for Water and Wastewater Utilities. Workshops took place at the Emerald Coast Utilities Authority in Pensacola.

Workshop One – Mitigation Planning and Flood Resilience

On-site Visits – Assessments at Selected Utilities

Workshop Two – Mitigation Projects and Plans

Contact Tom Noble for more information.

The EPA, FEMA, FL Dept. of Environmental Protection, Florida Rural Water Association, Florida Division of Emergency Management, and Bureau of Mitigation are sponsors.

HW provides sustainable environmental solutions for New England college campuses

The University of Rhode Island (URI) hired HW to provide civil and environmental engineering services for parking lot reconstruction, stormwater treatment facilities, and peer review services. URI has a vision to continue to become a “greener” institution while remaining a leader with its curriculum. The URI campus is continually undergoing renewal, reconstruction, and building expansion. Most of these improvements occur by infilling, where possible, within the developed campus perimeter. These improvements enable the campus to remain compact, walk able, and a more sustainable and enjoyable place to learn, study, live and work.

As the campus infrastructure continues to expand, URI may face difficult challenges, including flooding and water quality impacts from untreated stormwater runoff. HW goal is to assist URI with expansion plans while abating stormwater quality impacts on receiving waters including White Horn Brook. HW looks to support a master plan implementation while addressing these concerns. As a component of each project, HW advises the college campuses outreach practices through public forums, interpretive signage, and hands on training and workshops. HW has directed many stormwater and watershed master planning projects at similar facilities that include roads, parking facilities, pathways/sidewalks, signage, and stormwater assessments. HW is committed to providing environmental engineering services that support functional and vibrant settings while retaining a natural balance.

Horsley Witten Wins Morrissey Boulevard Redesign Project

The Horsley Witten Group is collaborating with HDR, Inc. on a Morrissey Boulevard Redesign Project in Boston, Massachusetts. This important project features a complete street assessment and design for the scenic parkway’s entire 2.5-mile length from Neponset Circle north to Kosciuszko Circle. The redesign will accommodate multi modal transportation options and add resiliency from climate change and coastal flooding impacts. The parkway, which is within a vulnerable coastal location, must continue to provide an array of functions including its roles as a critical arterial roadway, a linear coastal parkway, and a corridor connecting open spaces. HW will lead the project’s assessment and design of storm and flood control related matters, including coastal tidal and storm surge protection, roadway surface drainage, and green stormwater infrastructure.

The project will embrace a diverse range of uses and face environmental challenges; such as the changing land uses and development in the northern end; the need to provide neighborhood connectivity; the dynamic effects of climate change throughout the corridor; and the need to efficiently and safely accommodate the multiple modes of transportation envisioned for the project.

Alternative Strategies to Restore Upper Narragansett Bay

HW is working with Rhode Island Bays, Rivers and Watersheds Coordination Team to evaluate opportunities to improve water quality in the upper reaches of Narragansett Bay. The state has made significant investments to reduce nitrogen concentrations in wastewater effluent discharged to the Bay, and is now evaluating alternative options to further improve water quality. HW has researched options such as shellfish harvesting, floating islands, circulation improvements, wetland buffers and stormwater management to evaluate their effectiveness in cleaning up the Bay. HW has participated in a series of stakeholder meetings led by the Consensus Building Institute to discuss these options, and arrive at consensus on which opportunities have the greatest potential. Approximately 30 people attended each meeting bringing a wide range of expertise to the discussions. In the next phase of the project HW will conduct 1-2 pilot projects to help prove the viability of the options deemed most favorable.

Smith Island, Maryland Looks to Protect and Sustain the Waterman Way of Life

Coastal erosion, regional economics, heritage, and local values come together in one of our most complex and compelling projects

In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, local residents, federal and state agencies, and county officials collaborated on the idea of developing a Vision Plan for Smith Island.  To get to the heart of Smith Island, one must understand it as a community of people bound together by their faith, their work, and their connection to the water.  With a population of only 275, the legacy of the watermen’s way of life is still alive today and is the backbone of the island’s identity.  The residents are part of a tight knit community that cares for one another and maintains a high quality of life on an island where there is no law enforcement and few social services.  However, Smith Island, as a community is facing diverse challenges. The challenges include sustaining and growing the watermen’s culture, developing and maintaining resilient infrastructure, and leveraging the island’s tourism potential.  The purpose and process of the Vision Plan, is to lay the foundation for meeting these challenges. Together with our project lead, the Consensus Building Institute, HW presented the first complete draft of the Vision Plan at the Maryland Working Waterfronts Exchange on June 18, 2015.  For more information about Smith Island, visit smithislandunited.com.  For more information on the Working Waterfront Exchange, click here.

Nate Kelly for more information

Photo: Jay Fleming

Plano, Texas Mixed-Use Urban Neighborhood Project Celebrates
Nature as a Fundamental Community Value

Award winning project will serve as a model for neighborhood development nationwide

Rosewood Property Company is developing The Heritage Creekside project in Plano, Texas.  The 156-acre infill project has an approved buildout of over 1,400 residential units, a hotel, and 2.5 million square feet of office and retail space.  HW is collaborating with Gateway Planning on planning, urban design and civil engineering efforts, including integration/restoration of the existing Pittman Creek into the master plan, production of mixed-use walkable neighborhood designs, and implementation of green infrastructure practices.  Rosewood Property Company plans to commence construction before the end of 2015.  The project is the recipient of the 2015 CLIDE (Celebrating Leadership in Design Excellence) Award for “greatly exemplifying principles of development excellence.”

HW staff shared project benefits with the attendees at the April groundbreaking ceremony in Plano:

  • Walkable, vibrant, green places are healthy, safe places where people want to be
  • With Rosewood’s overarching commitment to sustainability, infrastructure will manifest as civic art at Heritage Creekside
  • The project will serve as a model for neighborhood development nationwide, celebrating nature as a fundamental community value

Contact Jon Ford for more information.

Image: Gateway Planning

HW Provides Watershed Management Training in Saipan, CNMI

Techniques shared for managing watersheds in the pacific islands of
Hawaii, Guam, CNMI, American Samoa, Palau, and the Federated
States of Micronesia

The Pacific Islands Watershed Institute (PIWI) tradition continues with an event held in Saipan, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) this May.  This NOAA sponsored event focused on training for agencies, engineers, and other practitioners. 
 
The focus at the first PIWI held in Oahu, Hawaii in 2011 was components of watershed planning from field assessments, to modeling, to implementation planning.  The CNMI Bureau of Environmental and Coastal Quality hosted the recent PIWI2 event.  Participants learned about managing watershed drainage infrastructure and participated in three days of intensive fieldwork involving:

  • Identifying illicit discharges and updating drainage infrastructure mapping in downtown Garapan
  • Evaluating the design and functional performance of stormwater management practices around the island including ponding basins, constructed wetlands, organic filters, oil and water separators, and rain gardens
  • Diagnosing the causes behind eroding unpaved, paved, and understanding which techniques will stabilize them
 
“Thank you for an amazing experience!”
Edwin Reyes, Administrator, Guam Coastal Management Program

Contact Anne Kitchell for more information.

Pollution Solution: Rain gardens to help Walton’s Cove

HW’s own Hannah Carlson and Kris Houle participate in Hingham Conservation Commision’s Create A Rain Garden event.

Read the full Hingham Journal article here.

Shrewsbury begins first step in drafting Master Plan

Shrewsbury

Led by Nate Kelly, planners from HW’s Providence office recently facilitated the first of several public workshops in the Town of Shrewsbury. In collaboration with project partners RKG Associates and McMahon Associates, HW is assisting the town in updating their Master Plan.

Read the full Community Advocate article here.

River Restoration and Stormwater Management at Mill River Park

 

Alison Bowden (TNC) discusses river restoration, rain gardens, and stormwater management designed by Horsley Witten Group at Mill River Park in Taunton, MA.