I starting to imagine what emergent wetland habitats would look and feel like on this barren sand island in the Xiang River with the SWA Group in 2012. It started with just a sketch…
Prior to Army Corps anti-logjam crusade in the late 1800s, the Skagit River Valley was a beaver and salmon playground (an excerpt from Ben Goldfarb’s recent book Eager). Government Land Office (GLO) surveys between 1866 to 1895 (below) document “willow swamps” and “lagoons”, clearly the handy work of beavers. They created diverse wetland complexes along Nookachamps Creek floodplain, which encompasses the current Skagit Environmental Bank property (390 ac) in Washington State.
To reverse a century of agricultural drainage practices and restore wetland hydrology on this piece of property, a series of channel spanning wood weirs were constructed in 2016 to emulated beaver dams. They collect fines, provide much needed fish habitat, raise surface water elevations, and thus increase wetland hydrology.
Any yes, with the sound of leaky water, the beavers have returned (below)! We have done our best to restore basic structure to this site, now it is up to the locals to do the rest.
I guess hummingbirds are like (salmon), they come back to the same tree (stream) to nest (spawn). A clear sign that spring is on its way. We are blessed to have these birds frequent our office deck each year!
GEO who is part of the Herrera consultant team just completed our first workshop with the City of Vancouver, B.C. to develop an Integrated Water Management Plan for the Cambie Corridor Project. This project encompasses 1,000 hectare or 9% of the City’s total area, will add 34,000 new housing units, and support 50,000 new residents by 2041. GEO will be using guidance provided by the City’s Biodiversity and Urban Forest Plan to quantify ecosystem services that this project will generate.
GEO’s work spans the globe from exotic resort master planning to supporting WA state local developers in developing strategies to minimize environmental impacts to critical areas. I am still lucky enough to get in the field and dig pits to identify hydric soils for projects. I am always in awe of how water, microbial communities, and soil create amazing underground art forms. This is a great example of depletions and concentrations in wetland soils.
An epic sunset over the Da River valley, west of Hanoi, Vietnam. GEO is working with SOM based out of San Francisco to develop a master plan for this 402 hectare resort development tucked within broad-leaf tropical forested hillsides. GEO is leading the roadway, drainage design, and ecological planning for this project. Lucky to have my partner in crime, Bill Lucas with me on these trips.
Mark Merkelbach worked with the SWA Laguna Beach office to provide hydraulic and ecological design of the Baxi Island in Changsha, China. This involved modeling river water surface elevations which were used as a basis for design of permeable island levees, multiple wetland complexes, and habitat wood structures. This project was recently recognized as a ULI Urban Open Space Award Finalist.
Typhoon Nida caused substantial flooding in Guangzhou last week. GEO is working with Chinese cities (i.e. Wuhan, Ningbo, Zhenjiang) to optimize existing infrastructure and designing retrofits using SMART technologies to make cities more resilient to extreme events.
Video courtesy of Shenzhen University
Green Earth Operations attended a ribbon cutting ceremony to mark the completion of the Dihua Wastewater Treatment LID retrofit project in Taipei. The Taipei City Public Works Commissioner, Cheng-sheng Pong also in attendance was a big advocate for this project and wants to promote more LID throughout the city. GEO was the lead civil and landscape designer.