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Abstract: Session E  3:30 pm (Back to Session E)
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Stream Restoration Problem Solving in the Urban Environment

Robert Scrafford, PE, PMP
Gannett Fleming, Inc.
Baltimore, Maryland

Co-authors:
Dennis Genito (Baltimore County, MD Department of Environmental Protection and Sustainability)
Karen Ogle (Baltimore County, MD Department of Environmental Protection and Sustainability)

Stream restoration in the urban environment is challenging and entirely different than work in a rural area.  The restoration design must be robust as property and infrastructure could be negatively affected by construction.  Urban construction is challenging in general due to community interest, requirements of property owners, lack of floodplain, and the general constraints of construction like access and room to stage supplies and equipment.  However, urban streams are generally the most degraded and in need of restoration.

We have encountered and overcome several challenges related to construction in the urban environment.  Utilities, historic structures, and private property encroach on the floodplain, each having challenges to overcome.  For example, cost and time synergies can be achieved when utility work is coordinated with the stream construction while the utilities are accessible.  We have determined best practices to eradicate invasive plant species that are prevalent in the floodplain.  Community acceptance for stream restoration is extremely important, particularly for residents who are close enough to see and hear the construction.  Stream construction is increasingly being paired with enhanced stormwater management, either retrofit or new micro-scale facilities, to alleviate flooding and make the stream restoration more likely to succeed. 

All of this extra work adds to the cost of restoration in an urban area, which is of great concern to municipalities that have an MS4 permit and need Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) credits.  Based on several urban projects, we have quantified the percent increase for urban restoration over what would be required for rural construction with fewer constraints.