Concurrent Session: Wetlands and water management
3:30 PM - 5:00 PM Wed
Title: Bioengineering for resiliency: Using stormwater wetlands to halt mass wasting of Lake Michigan coastal bluffs
Abstract: Integrated approaches that meld the disciplines of geophysical engineering and ecological restoration can significantly out-perform more traditional methods of stormwater management. This is especially true at the interface of built and unbuilt environments. After documenting mass wasting of more than two million cubic feet of soil in the Lake Michigan coastal zone, I led the development and execution of a Stormwater Wetland and Ravine Restoration project at Schlitz Audubon Nature Center in northern Milwaukee County. The project focused on the use of wetland creation and enhancement approaches to halt coastal ravine downcutting and expansion. The set of new and enhanced wetlands was engineered to increase resilience to severe storm impacts and improve habitat for species of greatest conservation need. The project included demolishing failed concrete check dams and installing wetland scrapes, stormwater berms, hardened and vegetated flow paths, and regenerative stormwater conveyance. Through careful planning and project management, a project-wide cut-fill balance was achieved to minimize overall project costs while keeping construction access routes and site disturbance to a minimum. The set of created and enhanced wetlands can intercept and temporarily detain stormwater up to the 100-year storm event, mimic emergent wetland hydrology, and support rapid colonization by ephemeral wetland fauna. I will describe approaches and provide insights to help maximize benefits and minimize costs of future projects.
Bio: Marc White is the senior restoration practice leader for GEI Consultants in Wisconsin. With more than 30-years of experience in both the public and private sector, Marc has worked to integrate methods of ecological restoration and green infrastructure design to improve natural area resilience to urban stormwater impacts. His work includes planning, permitting, ecological design, and project management.