Wetlands Creation, Habitat Restoration
Extreme Habitat Makeover: Bronx & Staten Island!

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An Electronic Newsletter 
of EEA's Environmental Consulting Activities
Fall 2005

EEA, Inc.

55 Hilton Avenue,
Garden City, New York
(516) 746-4400, (212) 227-3200
(800) 459-5533
additional New York offices:

Stony Brook
(631) 751-4600
Altamont
(518) 861-8586
Asheville, NC
(828) 253-0982

e-mail addresses:
General:
mailto:eea@eeaconsultants.com
Individual:

First initial and last name
@eeaconsultants.com
   
EEA services include 

Phase I ESAs, Haz-Mat
Testing and Remediation, Wetlands Delineation 
and Creation, Natural
Resources Inventories,
Marine Ecology Studies,
Air Quality and Noise
studies, and Environmental Management System (ISO 14000) implementation. 
   
Visit our web site
at
http://www.eeaconsultants.com/

 

 

For information or quotes,
contact:

Phase I ESAs
Richard Fasciani

Phase II/III Haz-Mat
Testing and Remediation

Nicholas Recchia, VP, CPG

Dredge Management Testing
Jeffrey Shelkey

EAS/EIS Studies
Janet Collura, CWS

Wetlands Studies and Design
Laura Schwanof, RLA

Marine Ecology
Teresa Rotunno

Terrestrial Ecology
Denise Harrington, AICP

Air Quality and Noise
Victor Fahrer, P.E.

Environmental Management
Systms (ISO 14000)
Robert Clifford

Director of Strategic Planning
James McAleer

 

EEA, Inc.
Founded in 1979

Principals

Leland M. Hairr, Ph.D.
President
 

Allen Serper, M.S., P.E.
Vice President 

Roy R. Stoecker, Ph.D.
Vice President

 

Waterfowl can be found
easily in the Zoo!

 

 
In its 1992 report, Restoration of Aquatic Ecosystems, the NRC (National Research Council ) defined restoration as the "return of an ecosystem to a close approximation of its condition prior to disturbance." Further in the report, regarding wetland restoration, it states:  "The term restoration means the reestablishment of predisturbance aquatic functions and related physical, chemical and biological characteristics. Restoration is ... a holistic process not achieved through the isolated manipulation of individual elements. Within the restoration model, there are branches that modify this definition.  Creation and enhancement are two such branches that still restore habitat, but through different processes.  Each Before habitat requires a custom made design to ensure a successful restoration.  The Before may be very different habitats and functions than the After, but a successful  restoration can still be achieved.  Our ecologists here at EEA want to let you know about two of these projects that are currently in progress.  One is  located within The Bronx Zoo and the other project lies within Fresh Kills Landfill in Staten Island (Richmond County).

The Bronx Zoo

The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) is designing a Center for Global Conservation at the Bronx Zoo scheduled for opening Spring 2007.   Led by FX Fowle Architects, a NYC-based architectural, interior design and planning firm, the design for the WCS world headquarters was recently completed for the 40,000 square-foot office building and the surrounding landscape.  The EEA ecology team was called in by HM White Site Architects, an award winning landscape architectural and urban design firm on the team, to assist in the design of the wetland creation phase.  

Upland community in the restoration area

The goals for the wetland creation were multiple; to design a palustrine emergent wetland system to provide stormwater detention and water quality improvement, habitat enhancement and site beautification.  This wetland system will be a prominent entry feature for the Global Conservation Hall and a well-traveled wildlife viewing area for visitors.

Currently, the existing footprint for the wetlands creation is a successional old field habitat with a mix of ornamentals and non-natives.  Mowed lawn, hilly slopes rock outcrops and sparse trees characterize the project site classified as an Oak Tulip Forest by Reschke, 1990.

Existing channel sections
in restoration zone

Meandering through this habitat is an existing stream channel that is redirected underground at isolated points with storm water control structures.  Flamingo Pond, located in the southern section of the design footprint, lies at the mouth of this aquatic system.
 
 
  EEA worked with the project team to create a design that would restore and enhance this aquatic habitat.  A wet meadow with emergent wetland plants will be created along with three deep pools within the new wetlands, situated strategically to be seen from the Exhibit Hall, terraces and walkways.  Native plantings were carefully chosen to attract local wildlife by providing food and shelter to be compatible with the surrounding landscape, and to enhance the educational component of the wetland creation for park visitors.

Flamingo Pond

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Inventory It!

Members of EEAs Ecological Division began by investigating the existing hydrological conditions, wetland and upland communities, soil properties, and storm water system.  The analysis of existing conditions is a key step that must be completed first in any design.  After this data was analyzed, preliminary designs were formulated for the type and size of both aquatic and upland communities to be created or enhanced.  Once HM Whites design incorporated our data, EEA reviewed and modified all design details and specifications including plantings, soil amendments, hydrology, flood control measures, soil erosion, substrate stabilization, storm water collection & disposal, micro-habitat analysis and herbivory controls.

Waterfowl make use of the adjacent uplands

 

Whats Next

Once plans are finalized, it will be time to address the monitoring plan for the restoration.  A Monitoring and Maintenance Plan is critical to both the short- and long-term success of any wetland restoration.  Created wetlands may be more challenging to sustain during the early stages of establishment.  Monitoring consists of collecting ecological and physical data on the system.  Plant health & growth, water level checks, water quality, disease control, wildlife observations and invasive species monitoring are documented.  Adjustments are then made to the restoration to ensure continued achievement and successful completion of design performance criteria.  The Maintenance Plan will focus on removal of trash and sediment accumulation, particularly around storm water control devices, removal and replacement of dead plant material, long-term site stabilization and repairs/adjustments to all structures as needed.

 

Spartina planting begins

 

 

 

 

Elevations are repeatedly taken when crafting tidal wetlands

 

 

 

 

 

Data collection is key to monitoring wetland success before, during and after restoration.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Transfer Facility Building
is complete

 


Fresh Kills Landfill Wetlands Creation

In 1996, Governor Pataki and then NYC Mayor Giuliani jointly announced the plan to close Fresh Kills Landfill in Staten Island. By March 2001, NYCs last solid waste disposal facility was closed.  Thereafter, the Department of Sanitation of New York City (DSNY) issued a Solid Waste Management Plan Modification that, among other things, called for the development of a truck-to-rail-facility for Staten Island waste on a site within the Fresh Kills Landfill. An existing rail line was proposed to be extended to reach the new facility and rail yard. The Staten Island Transfer Station has been constructed and is expected to begin operation once the rail connections have been completed.

EEA was called in by the Lead Project Engineering Firm, HDR, Inc. to address the tidal wetlands issues in the project area and find solutions.  HDR is a world-wide architectural, engineering and consulting firm with a reputation for finding innovative engineering solutions.  They continue to work closely with DSNY to address solid waste management solutions.

 

Restoration footprint

 

The area is graded to create
tidal habitat zones

EEA was contracted to conduct an ecological assessment of the affected footprint, design the wetlands, write the specifications for the construction bid, oversee the construction phase, and develop a monitoring and maintenance plan to conform to NYSDEC guidelines.  The loss of tidal wetlands resulting from the rail crossing, stormwater outfall apron and erosion control material was mitigated with a wetland creation project adjacent to the site.  A 4.5 to 1 ratio was established for the wetlands (for every 1 acre of wetlands lost, 4.5 acres of wetlands are created).  The planting phase has begun and will continue in the Spring of 2006.  A little over three acres of tidal wetlands and adjacent uplands will be created.

Nearshore tidal plantings, wildfowl exclusion barrier in place

 

Inventory It!

EEA performed the ecological assessment first, to gather all baseline data on botany, wildlife and habitat characteristics.  Alternative wetland creation sites were also investigated by the ecology team within the vicinity of the proposed project.  A wetland delineation was conducted and a wetlands line was flagged for future surveying into the design plans.  Once the baseline data was processed and analyzed, EEA ecologists worked with HDR to design the wetland creation habitat.  The design was submitted with overall project plans to the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) for review and approval.  Permitting from all Federal, State and local agencies was obtained to progress toward the construction phase of the project.

During the construction phase of the project, EEAs tasks included:

      Review the ecology-related tasks within the Construction Bid
       Document
     
Develop the Seeding and Landscaping Plan and Specifications for
       the wetland excavation area
     
Develop the specifications for the waterfowl exclusion devices
     
Develop the specifications for sediment and erosion control
     
Coordinate with the Resident Engineer on shop drawings
     
Cost analysis for bioengineering and planting tasks
     
On-site inspection of wetland plants/soil erosion materials upon
       arrival
     
Management of time-sensitive ecological tasks and materials
     
Plant Installation Oversight
     
Pre- and post-construction monitoring of wetland plantings
       according to NYSDEC guidelines
     
Continued monitoring of erosion control, waterfowl exclusion
Soil testing as needed for planting suitability

Transect analysis in planting zone

EEAs HazMat Team was brought in to review existing subsurface data and perform a subsurface profile of the wetland creation footprint.  Test pits were developed across the site for this gross characterization of the soil profile.  Results were used to support plant selections and engineering tasks.

Whats Next

EEA will continue to monitor the planting phase as scheduled.  The projects Monitoring and Maintenance Plan will be in place once construction is completed.  NYSDEC will assist the project team to ensure a thriving and successful wetlands.

 

For further information, contact Laura Schwanof at the Stony Brook office or lschwanof@eeaconsultants.com

12/01/05