nick cohen, env sp

Senior environmental planner

We are pleased to announce that Nick Cohen has joined our Boston office as a Senior Environmental Planner. Nick will be assisting our clients, with MS4 compliance, as well as green stormwater infrastructure and resilience planning. He earned his B.A. in Environmental Studies and Spanish from Bowdoin College in Maine and his master’s degree in City Planning (MCP) from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Nick has extensive experience  working as a Green Infrastructure Planner and Sustainability Analyst in New York City and as an Environmental Analyst/Environmental Justice Coordinator working with Massachusetts communities. Most recently, he was an Environmental Planner with a large engineering and planning firm.

 In a previous role, Nick led the production of a documentary film about the environmental history and revitalization of the Malden River, managing  a small crew, who filmed and developed the documentary. Nick also acted as the film’s narrator and the project received an Alliance for Community Media Hometown Media Award!

When he is not working on a documentary, or planning local rain gardens, Nick can be found hiking, skiing, or just exploring the outdoors. He enjoys cooking and has a unique pet turtle named Sally who unbelievably was a birthday present from his parents when he was six years old!

Welcome to HW Nick!

 

Natasha rae

project coordinator

We are happy to share that Natasha Rae has joined our Sandwich office as a Project Coordinator with our Emergency Preparedness Training Team. She will be working with our planners to deliver and support webinars for our federal clients and partners. Natasha earned her B.S. in Environmental Science from Framingham State University in 2016 with a focus on Advanced GIS- hydrologic modeling, location analysis, spatial interpolation, nearest neighbor estimation, map algebra and urban growth simulation. She participated in an environmental science independent research project which assessed fecal contamination of Massachusetts’ waterbodies near dog parks.

Natasha loves animals and much of her customer support experience comes from being an Animal Welfare Specialist with the MSPCA on Cape Cod, and working at a veterinary hospital in NH. When she is not working, Natasha can be found reading (currently non-fiction), visiting bookstores, and spending time with her young son. Of course, she has pets and currently has two Central American Ornate Wood Turtles that she has cared for lovingly since she was ten years old!

Welcome to HW Natasha!

 

Kellie king

environmental planner

We are pleased to announce that Kellie King has joined our Providence office. Kellie is interested in land use regulation, floodplain management, and climate adaptation planning. She will be assisting our planners with a wide range of project work. Kellie earned her Master of City Planning from the University of Pennsylvania, from which she also has a Certificate in Ecological Planning. She completed her B.A. in International Relations and Environmental Studies at Tufts University. Her experience will focus on the application of geospatial analysis to economic, social, and environmental policy and regulatory issues.

Before joining HW, Kellie interned at the Rhode Island Infrastructure Bank, where she learned about financing climate resilience projects. As a graduate student, she worked as a research assistant evaluating the vulnerability of public drinking water infrastructure to coastal hazards. Kellie also taught English at a vocational-technical high school, which will come in handy with community engagement and technical trainings with our clients! When she is not exploring Providence, Kellie enjoys wheel throwing pottery and hanging out with her cat. Welcome to HW!

 

congress for
new urbanism

Spatial Justice Fellowship Program
Jon Ford, P.E.

HW is proud to sponsor the Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU) New England Chapter  2021 Spatial Justice Fellowship program at the highest “Visionary” level!

CNU New England is a non-profit organization that supports public and private sector leaders, community activists, and multidisciplinary professionals dedicated to building stronger cities and towns through citizen-based participatory planning and design. 

The Spatial Justice program is designed to improve spatial justice outcomes in New England cities and towns while increasing the quality of our joint professions by making room for new and different voices. 

During the summer of 2021, the program paid living wages to support three aspiring young professionals of diverse backgrounds to take part in otherwise unpaid internships and complete independent research projects.

 

HW’s Jon Ford, P.E., CNU New England co-founder, past President, and current board member, served on the program’s core committee and as a mentor for Grecia White.  Grecia conducted research bringing visibility to issues women and minorities face as they move around cities, starting with a wait time assessment and safety audit along MBTA bus routes.

 

a Master Plan for Habitat, Stormwater, & Recreational Improvements

Nantucket land bank

Lily Pond Park wetland and boardwalk today. Inset: Geese in Lily Pond in the 1890’s

How often do you get the chance to restore the landscape, improve water quality, and reduce localized flooding?

Not often, but Lily Pond Park in the heart of historic Nantucket is one place where it could happen.  HW worked with the Nantucket Land Bank on a Master Plan to improve the hydrologic, ecological, and recreational function of the park, a 6.2-acre property located within the residential outskirts of the historic downtown.

Stormwater runoff from over 90 surrounding acres drains into the park’s existing wetlands before ultimately discharging to the Town’s drainage system and out to Children’s Beach. A watershed services workhorse, the quality of this wetland habitat has degraded over time due to stormwater runoff inputs, hydrologic changes, and an invasive species explosion.

 

It’s such a gem, tucked into a residential area, I’m excited about what it could be in the future.” 

-Anne Kitchell, HW Associate Principal, Senior Watershed Planner


The Master Plan presents a preferred approach to restore and diversify wetland habitats, treat runoff with green stormwater infrastructure, and enhance the user experience with improved connectivity and signage. Key features include looped boardwalk extensions, more seating areas and entrance enhancements, daylighting of the existing outlet drainpipe into a surface stream, and restoration of a shallow marsh system with open water pockets. Stormwater Best Management Practices (BMPs) along the park perimeter (constructed wetlands, bioswales, etc.) provide initial water quality treatment.

Constructed wetland and habitat restoration illustrations above

Proposed Plan:
The plan prepared for the Nantucket Land Bank Commission includes priority invasive management areas, a phased implementation approach, and planning level construction costs plus contingency. The phases of construction are based on site constraints and staging feasibility include:

  1. Restoration of the central wetland and surrounding boardwalks and overlooks
  2. Restorative daylighting of the original stream
  3. Installation of a constructed wetland and entrance enhancements at North Liberty St.
  4. Construction of a cascading bioswale and constructed wetland with boardwalk at the existing Lily St. entrance
  5. Entrance improvements and upland amphitheater at 36 Lily acquisition

Example precedent images (left to right) of open water portion of a restored wetland, restored surface stream, constructed wetland, and cascading bioswale

Project Benefits:

  • Water quality – twice as much sediment removal and 1.5 times nutrient reduction over existing conditions
  • Flood management—by lower ponding elevations and shortening of inundation periods in the park and adjacent properties
  • Habitat enhancement—restoring diversity of wetland and stream habitats and controlling invasive plants
  • Improved visitor experience—enhanced park entrances, additional seating, more programmable upland areas, and looping boardwalks

Next Steps:
There is still much to be done including discussions with permitting agencies, DPW, and neighbors. We look forward to working with the Nantucket Land Bank and others moving forward on soil evaluations and water level monitoring, advancing restoration designs, and permitting.