Highlands Park Wetland Enhancement

The City of Westerville sought to revitalize Highlands Park, including the improvement of an existing stormwater-fed cattail marsh. MAD was hired as the design-build contractor to restore and enhance this marsh in order to enhance wildlife habitat and improve ecosystem functioning. The restoration design prioritized the construction of a meandering flow path with a forebay and mixed-depth pools to maximize water residence time for sediment deposition and nutrient processing, creating upland islands to increase habitat heterogeneity, controlling invasive species, establishing a mosaic of plant communities ranging from emergent marsh to mesic prairie, and creating a nature–play area for hands-on and unstructured exploration. Although broken into discrete contracting phases (e.g., delineation, design, permitting, construction oversight, and planting) through the client’s purchase order process, from the initial site analysis through planting, this was a ~$200,000 project.

MAD started with a delineation and habitat assessment in 2009, which provided the foundation for enhancement planning opportunities. After completing the conceptual design, MAD led public meetings to engage stakeholders and address any concerns, and we developed marketing materials for public education and outreach. To secure funding for the project, MAD assisted the city in developing an application for an EPA Section 319 grant, which was awarded in 2012. The wetland enhancement plan and conceptual design was then used to obtain a Nationwide 27 permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

MAD then subcontracted a local engineering firm to formalize a bid set for earthwork and boardwalk plans with our final restoration design. MAD provided construction oversight, developed a planting plan, and coordinated volunteer planting events and educational workshops. The project was completed within the scheduled timeframe and budget in the spring of 2013. MAD continues to monitor the health and function of this wetland for the City of Westerville.