Salt Marsh and Habitat Restoration Management

Weston & Sampson was selected by the Boston Planning & Development Agency (BPDA) (formerly known as the Boston Redevelopment Authority) to manage a major salt marsh and habitat restoration project in Chelsea Creek. Funded by a North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) grant, the project was intended to reclaim this damaged urban environment. Project goals included maximizing avian habitat, developing constructible plans, developing a public park space, and satisfying regulatory concerns while fulfilling NAWCA grant goals. Project challenges included:

■ Working within a designated port area (no linear park construction allowed)
■ Land ownership issues (i.e., City of Boston development plans for the area)
■ Identifying future sea level rise and storm surge events
■ Resource area impacts (creating a new avian habitat without significant damage to the shellfish habitat)
■ Developing a flexible design concept including hardened structures and habitat barriers that would modify/evolve with changing environmental conditions
■ Satisfying regulatory requirements for numerous agencies

Weston & Sampson’s team included the specialty firms of Bourne Consulting Engineers, Applied Coastal Engineering, local historian Nancy Seasholes, and avian specialist Nature Watch, LLC, in addition to the firms of AECOM and Durand & Anastas, who assisted with the original grant application.

Key staff from Weston & Sampson were familiar with the site from past project work related to stormwater outfall monitoring and Brownfields petroleum site assessments. For this project, our team provided a thorough characterization of the site that included:

■ Detailed soil data evaluation
■ Topographic survey of coastal zones, designated port areas, Chapter 91 lands
■ Avian habitat assessment
■ Shellfish habitat assessment
■ Wave action study and impact analysis

We developed site/civil considerations and conceptual design plans for three pre-selected sites.

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Posted in Climate Resilience, Resource Management.