SVS has pioneered the use of the Value Methodology on environmental restoration projects. We began in the early 1990s on major ecosystem restoration projects such as Rio Salado and Tres Rios in the Phoenix, AZ area. Since then we have conducted numerous studies on projects with either a primary or secondary function of river or stream restoration, and ecosystem restoration and projects to re-establish riparian corridors, wetlands, fisheries habitats, various structures related to protecting migratory fish, and more.
Bubbly Creek Ecosystem Restoration, Chicago, IL
This project restores diverse habitat structure to a 1.25 mile long tributary in the greater Chicago area. For approximately 175 years the creek had been severely altered by human activities, receiving combined sewer overflows and industrial waste. The alteration of the landscape had resulted in the historic loss of significant migratory bird, fish, and wildlife aquatic habitat. The project included restoring the creek substrate, submergent and emergent vegetation, woody debris, and riparian corridor. The value team provided value alternatives that would result in potential savings of 34% of project cost and would shorten the 21 month construction schedule by six months or 29%.
Ecosystem Programmatic Study
As is common in large cities, the Greater Chicago area has suffered damage to the ecosystem and the native habitat within their rivers, streams, and other water bodies. As we become more aware of human destruction to these native habitats, there is great pressure to restore these to a more sustainable environment. In an effort to create a more unified, efficient approach to these projects, SVS facilitated a Value Planning study on the ecosystem restoration program for the Greater Chicago area. The workshop developed alternative concepts to improve the ecosystem restoration program and to improve three representative projects.
Flood Risk Management along the Cache la Poudre River, Greely, CO
Winding its way through Greeley, Colorado, the Cache la Poudre River is susceptible to flooding from the mountain snowmelt runoff, thunderstorm runoff or a combination of both. A significant flood did extensive damage to parts of Greeley in May 1999 and even greater damage was caused by a larger flood in June 1983. The current Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Flood Insurance Rate Map for Greeley notes that significant portions of the city are within the 100-year (1% annual chance of exceedance) floodplains of the Cache la Poudre River. In order to minimize damage to property and risks to people, this project evaluated structural and nonstructural measures, channel widening, and examined flood reduction measures. The project also evaluated numerous alternatives to restore riparian and wetland habitat along the Cache la Poudre River.
Southwest United States Wetlands Rehabilitation
This $91 million environmental restoration project was the first of this kind and magnitude accomplished by the Corps of Engineers. The project was to restore the riparian and wetlands habitat to the now dry and barren Salt River. The natural habitat disappeared because of upstream usage. This project was to restore that natural habitat in the riverbed by planting 750 acres of various trees and plants. The trees and plants would obtain water through an artificial stream and piped irrigation system. The project was complicated by the fact that this channel also serves as a major flood control channel for the Cities of Phoenix and Tempe. The project was unique in its objective to plant trees in a flood control facility without compromising the capacity of the channel. The VE study resulted in changes to the size of the proposed plantings which resulted in a higher survivability rate and reduced the capital and maintenance costs. The VE team also assisted the design team in developing a more hydraulically stable planting scheme and provided them with a plan to better protect the investment during a flood event. The VE study resulted in $10 million in capital cost savings and another $10 million in operation and maintenance costs over the economic life of the project.
Fish Collection Structure
Five-day value planning project to build scenarios for a fish catching apparatus that would protect fish from the turbines of a dam on the Columbia River. The design presented to the value team was over budget by over $40 million. The focus of the study was to discover options for reducing the costs of the project and supplying power while performing the functions of re-establishing anadromy (fish migration patterns) for the fish in the reservoir which had been previously blocked from downstream movement for over 40 years. The study resulted in meeting the project budget of $62 million while meeting all the essential functions of the structure and also improving overall operation of the fish movement and safety. UPDATE: Since having constructed this structure, the client has reported an unprecedented success. Implementing the results of the value study created a first ever concept in fish collection and the successful fish collection and transport is upwards of 95% of all fish in the reservoir. This is an over 50% improvement on other traditional fish collection structures that average around 60-70% successful collection rate. This new model of facility is now being used with similar success all around the Northwestern United States as a solution to fish anadromy.
Wabash-Maumee River Basin Connection Study
Following is an excerpt from the Aquatic Nuisance Species Controls Report, Wabash-Maumee Basin Connection Study, Fort Wayne Indiana, prepared by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), dated November 2012. A link to the Public Review Submittal has been provided for your convenience and consideration.
In 2010, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Great Lakes and Mississippi River Interbasin Study (GLMRIS) identified 18 potential aquatic pathways between the Great Lakes and Mississippi River basins,s outside the Chicago Area Waterway System (CAWS), where a surface water connection may exist between headwater streams in either basin and that could be utilized for the interbasin transfer of aquatic nuisance species (ANS). Of these locations, Eagle Marsh in Fort Wayne, Indiana (Allen County), was determined to pose the greatest near-term potential for allowing interbasin transfer of ANS, specifically Asian carp. As a result, the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (Indiana DNR) constructed a temporary fence across part of Eagle Marsh in late 2010 to prevent interbasin transfer of adult Asian carp into the Great Lakes Basin. A more detailed study was launched by USACE to identify a permanent solution to this ANS threat to the Great Lakes.
Invasive Species Workshop
The US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) scheduled a workshop to generate planning level information for assessing hydrologic separation to prevent the inter-basin transfer of aquatic nuisance species (ANS) between the Upper Mississippi River Basin and the Great Lakes Basin via the Chicago Area Waterway System (CAWS). Hydrologic separation represented one alternative within a full suite of alternatives to address transfer of nuisance species between basins. The other alternatives were not discussed during this workshop.
The workshop was successful in soliciting issues and concerns to assist USACE in the development and evaluation of seven alternatives to implement a hydrologic separation between the Mississippi River Basin and the Great Lakes Basin within the CAWS.
SVS led a Value Engineering (VE) study as a follow on in which numerous possible structural and non-structural measures were developed with attention to long-term prevention of ANS transfer at a specified location. With this intention, a multi-disciplinary team facilitated by SVS and primarily composed of the USACE project design team, personnel from Indiana DNR and NRCS convened. During this process, emphasis was placed on preserving the important ecological and aesthetic significance of this area, while identifying alternatives to exclude ANS from the waterway.
This restoration project along the Southern California coastline is being developed to revive the wetland ecosystem to about half of the project area by restoring tidal influence from the Pacific Ocean. Improvements to the ecosystem include enhancing over-wintering habitat for migratory shorebirds, seabirds, and waterfowl, expansion of nesting habitat for migratory shorebirds and seabirds, and expansion of estuarine/marine fish habitat. A new ocean inlet which passes under Pacific Coast Highway requires construction of a bridge for the four-lane highway, as well as a new oil service bridge. An ebb bar is also being constructed offshore with the material dredged from the full tidal basin.
The value team reviewed the project and provided recommendations for both construction-in-the-wet (dredging) and construction-in-the-dry. Recommendations made were to decrease the depth of channel, provision of an alternate location for the dredge material, use of separate contracts for distinguishable features of work, and using the Navy’s Seal Beach dock during the project.