Watershed Management

Hazen and Sawyer helped the Town of Jupiter to plan, design, and implement engineered wetlands and other stormwater detention features that reduced the peak discharge rates, total runoff volume, and loading of pollutants reaching the environmentally-sensitive Loxahatchee River Aquatic Preserve.

In studying New York Harbor water quality, New York City was divided into four area-wide projects with 18 separate watersheds. CSO-PlaNYC encompasses five of these watershed areas, depicted in the above aerial map.

The organics and nitrogen levels in the CSO and water pollution control plant discharges promote “eutrophication,” resulting in anoxic (low dissolved oxygen) conditions that can be lethal to aquatic life.

Before surrounding wastewater treatment plants upgraded to Biological Nutrient Removal, nitrogen discharges dangerously lowered dissolved oxygen levels and threatened the health of Long Island Sound.

The Chesapeake Bay is another good example of an ecologically-rich waterbody that has benefited from the concerted work of multi-state groups of stakeholders to lower nutrient levels.

Sanitation District No. 1 of Northern Kentucky has entered into an innovative Consent Decree with the State of Kentucky and USEPA Region 4, the first in the nation to address wet weather issues using a watershed management approach. The Decree aims at achieving water quality improvements more quickly and cost-effectively by allowing the District to consider all sources of water quality impairment when developing long term plans to address wet weather impacts.

South Richmond, a suburban area in Southern Staten Island, was prone to frequent localized flooding and erosion due to uncontrolled stormwater, and degraded water quality caused by failing septic systems. To alleviate these conditions, Hazen and Sawyer is assisting the NYCDEP in developing and implementing an environmentally sound and comprehensive drainage management that enhances the existing wetlands that would have been destroyed if a traditional grid-like network of storm sewers had been constructed.

Watersheds are drainage areas that capture stormwater and snowmelt flows into a waterbody, such as a river, lake, estuary, or reservoir. These waterbodies supply drinking water to area residents, provide recreation and respite, and sustain natural ecology, providing habitat for birds, fish, and other wildlife.

Protecting these valuable resources requires a holistic, “watershed approach,” providing the most effective framework to reduce pollution effects, control flooding, restore ecosystems, and enhance the quality of water supplies. In implementing a watershed approach, the focus is on making sound infrastructure and growth decisions that are in harmony with the way in which water flows through a watershed. Watershed planning incorporates present and future aesthetic, ecological, community growth, and health concerns into planning efforts.

Hazen and Sawyer has extensive experience in watershed planning and stormwater management. Our analyses enable key decision makers to consider the most cost-effective, natural resource-based alternatives alongside the traditional treatment technology investments. We design stormwater management solutions that perform effectively in concert with the natural environment, preserving in sensitive watersheds and providing a surface water management plan that addresses both current conditions and evolving needs.

Effective watershed management includes:

  • Controlling water flows through urban and suburban neighborhoods and agricultural areas – including aquifers, streams, rivers, lakes, and estuaries.
  • Addressing the highest priority problems within hydrologically-defined geographic areas, taking into consideration both ground and surface water flow.
  • Going beyond traditional geographic boundaries to create interstate and inter-local partnerships.

In implementing effective watershed management, we can help our clients reduce the impacts of nonpoint sources of pollution on water resources; regulate activities for soil conservation; protect waterways and wetlands; form local and regional partnerships to restore and protect water resources, including drinking water sources; and educate citizens about watersheds and the effect of development activities within these sensitive areas, eliciting their support for and participation in enforcing watershed controls .

Hazen and Sawyer has provided hundreds of clients with innovative and sustainable watershed management solutions, safeguarding water supplies, restoring rural, suburban and urban environments, and improving the overall quality of life.

For inquiries contact:
Sandeep Mehrotra