Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) 319 Grants Fund Wildlands’ Recent Urban Ecological Restoration Work
Through an EPA 319 Grant (Grant), Wildlands Engineering, Inc. (Wildlands) designed, permitted, and oversaw infrastructure and stream improvements within McPherson Park in Greenville. This project features natural channel design practices, bioengineering measures, and stormwater control measures. The City of Greenville (City) replaced impervious features (e.g., concrete swale, asphalt parking) with bioswale retrofits and pervious pavement to infiltrate and filter stormwater runoff, providing a water quality benefit to downstream receiving waters, such as Richland Creek. Native river rock within bioretention facilities, stamped concrete pavers and vegetative geolifts enhance park aesthetics and serve to stabilize stream banks and treat and improve water quality.
The urban environment presents a unique challenge for ‘natural’ design approaches, but serves as a great platform for public outreach and education. This project not only provides stream and water quality improvements but integrates a variety of features to support public education. Through our partnership with the City, our team was able to anticipate design and construction hurdles. The project was phased to minimize interruptions to the City’s citizens (and park visitors) in a high-traffic urban park. Completed in August 2019, this project has proven to be a benefit to both park infrastructure and the environment. Check out the before and after photos below.
Through a separate Grant, the Gills Creek Watershed Association (GCWA) partnered with Wildlands to assess and design stream stabilization and stormwater water quality improvements along a reach of Gills Creek, an impaired 303(d)-listed stream, within the City of Columbia and Richland County, South Carolina. Wildlands’ design for this project improves water quality, provides in-stream habitat, and enhances the aesthetic benefits to this reach of Gills Creek while fostering community use of this unique urban resource.
Through a coordinated effort by the project’s stakeholders, this project was advertised to contractors in March 2021, with an anticipated construction notice-to-proceed in late April. This is a major accomplishment for the GCWA and a demonstration of the association’s continued efforts to improve water quality and benefit natural resources within the Gills Creek watershed.
McPherson Park Improvement Project before and after photos: