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.

 

Roger Williams park

Providence, RI

The Rain Harvest Arts Festival at Roger Williams Park encouraged visitors to celebrate water, science, and art – just our kind of party!  Hosted by the Providence Stormwater Innovation Center in June, the festival was a community celebration of the City of Providence’s investment in over 40 projects to clean polluted stormwater runoff before it enters the Park’s beloved ponds. Visual and performance artists and environmental scientists shared their inspirations and engaged the public in learning about stormwater and water quality. 

HW sponsored and participated in the festival, leading tours showcasing our stormwater projects throughout the park. The day was full of art, music, yoga, food, science, and great conversations about water!

We enjoyed the tours and look forward to future work at the park! Enjoy the short video by Big Tree Production.

 

 

“As a manual for implementation this submission is very user friendly and does an excellent job of communicating to its intended audience. Information is presented via easy-to-follow icon language and technical data, and it nicely balances skimming and deep dives, providing immense value to the reader.”

BSLA Jury comments

 

About the BSLA Design Awards Program

Boston Society of Landscape Architects (BSLA) seeks to recognize excellence in the diverse practices of landscape architecture. Projects should demonstrate excellence and reflect the careful stewardship, wise planning, and artful design of our cultural and natural environment. Awards may be granted in LANDMARK, PROFESSIONAL, and STUDENT categories, for design, analysis & planning, communication, and research projects. 

GSI Design & Implementation Guide Wins BSLA Award

The Boston Society of Landscape Architects (BSLA) has awarded HW with a Professional Merit Award in Communications for the Green Stormwater Infrastructure Design and Implementation Guide  created for Boston Parks and Recreation Department (BPRD).

Congratulations to everyone who worked on this Guide!  HW and our teaming partner, Brown, Richardson + Rowe, are honored to have collaborated with BPRD on the creation of the Guide.  This team effort included invaluable contributions from the Boston Water and Sewer Commission and the Trust for Public Land.

As climate change introduces new constraints and threats to Boston, resiliency has been identified as a city-wide goal.  BPRD is looking to advance the implementation of Green Stormwater Infrastructure (GSI) strategies to meet resiliency, livability, and health goals.  The Guide is intended to assist BPRD staff, as well as city agencies and consultants, to design, implement and maintain resilient, multi-functional parks that maximize benefits to park users and the environment.

The Guide includes distinctive key steps:

  • Defining and redefining GSI objectives with BPRD staff, partners, stakeholders, and volunteers throughout the project
  • Identifying the park contexts to understand all uses, allowing the layering of functionality and integrating, instead of inserting GSI into the park
  • Understanding and addressing maintenance requirements, expectations, and capabilities during the design process
  • Leveraging partnerships which can lead to additional funding for design and construction as well as shared resources and maintenance capabilities

View an example of a practice page from the Guide outlining considerations for designing GSI in parks.

 

 

kellie knight

Staff Scientist/Landscape Designer

Kellie Knight has joined our Sandwich office as a Biologist and Landscape Designer. She is joining a busy ecological restoration team  where she will be assisting with wetland delineations, habitat/ecological assessments, landscape design, and permitting.

Kellie gained experience in ecological design working as an Associate Restoration Designer and an Environmental  & Nursery Technician for a small ecological design firm located on Cape Cod. Her work in the New England /Maryland areas includes an Earth Stewardship Fellowship Initiative, natural history study of box turtles, and a bird count study.

She earned a Master of Landscape Architecture (MLA) from the Rhode Island School of Design and a B.S. in Wildlife Conservation Biology with a minor in Animal Science, from the University of Rhode Island. She studied abroad in South Africa through Duke University  as part of the Organization of Tropical Studies which sparked her interest in environmental science.  

When she is not working, Kellie enjoys painting and spending time outdoors hiking, camping, and sailing.

Welcome to HW, Kellie!

 

Emmanuel Guerzon

Environmental Scientist

Emmanuel (Manny) Guerzon has joined our Sandwich office as an Environmental Scientist. Manny will be assisting our team with a variety of projects in the field and in the office with data analysis and modeling.  Our clients and staff will benefit from his technical expertise. He earned his B.S. in Geology-Physics/Mathematics from Brown University in Rhode Island and is currently working on his M.S. in Geosciences from Colorado State University. His M.S. thesis focuses on geologic processes occurring on the southwest Australian margin during the breakup of East Gondwana.

When he is not refining his geoscience skills, Manny is a dedicated angler and pursues saltwater gamefish throughout New England. If he is not casting to striped bass in shallow water, he is manning a boat deck chasing all species of tuna and billfish. Besides fishing, he enjoys working on his sunglasses tan in other ways such as paddle boarding and hiking and can be found skiing in the winter as well.

Welcome to HW Manny!

 

Katie Feeney, E.I.T.

Design Engineer

Katie Feeney has joined our Providence team as a Design Engineer. Katie spent the last three years working for a civil engineering firm in RI focused on transportation projects. She is interested in stormwater and water resources work and will strengthen our engineering capabilities in New England.

Katie earned a B.S. in Civil & Environmental Engineering from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and studied abroad in Scotland at the Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh. This was an important milestone in her education as she worked diligently with fellow engineering students to convince the school that a curriculum match existed. Katie and her fellow students have paved the way for future engineers looking to study engineering in Scotland!

When she is not spending time practicing yoga, running, or enjoying the RI beaches, Katie can be found planning her next trip or taking some time with her pet frog, Apple who is a very pretty Dumpy Tree Frog!   Welcome to HW Katie!

 

happy brook

blog post by jonas procton, design engineer

Once Upon a Time…

Once upon a time, there was a stream. It was not the biggest stream, but to the fish, beavers, and snakes that called it home, that did not make it any less special. Perhaps it was the water, kept cool under the shade of evergreens even through the summer. Or maybe the meandering banks, winding their way through a deep wooded valley blanketed under the soothing still of a comforting quiet. Whatever it was, something just made this brook a cozy spot to call home.

Paradise Lost

One day, things started to change for the brook. People started stacking big rocks, until eventually there was a small stone dam in the middle of the brook! The water in the brook could not meander like it used to and was forced to turn into a big pond just to get over the dam. Because of the dam, the water in the brook had to sit around in the hot, hot sun. The water was not as cold as it used to be, and the brook became a little sad.

As time passed, people wanted to build a road to get across the brook, so they  installed a culvert. A culvert is a pipe or a tube that helps a brook keep flowing, but also can support a road on top of it. They do a similar job to a bridge. Some culverts are helpful as they allow the brook to flow like it normally would.

Some culverts though… some culverts are are too small. Much too small! Small culverts cost less and are easier to install but all the water cannot fit inside, so it ends up making another pond on the upstream side of the culvert. The small culvert also makes a traffic jam for critters trying to swim up or downstream, sort of like going from a wide-open highway to a one lane dirt road.

In our story, the culvert in the brook was much too small. The fish would have to wait in line if they wanted to go through it. Some days when the water was too low, they could not even go through at all! The fish would have to wait and wait in the hot, hot water just to get through. That made the brook very sad…

How to Get to Happily Ever After

Fortunately, years later, scientists and engineers learned a lot about rivers since people put a dam and a culvert in the brook. There are a few rules or  Stream Crossing Standards that help determine how big to make a culvert to keep a stream flowing like normal and keep critters moving along with it.

One of the most important things: make it wide and tall, so it feels “open”. At brooks like the one in our story, our scientists and engineers take measurements at what is called a “reference reach” (a natural- section of the stream) to make an estimate of what the brook looked like before it was damaged. 

The Details…

One of the more important geometric metrics is how wide the stream is from top of bank to top of bank. This measurement is known as the “bankfull width” and shows how wide the stream would be to hold water during a really big storm – the type that might come only every couple of years. When we design a replacement culvert, we aim to be at least 20% wider than the bankfull width, just to be sure. This makes sure that there is enough space for fish, salamanders, and even teeny tiny worms to get through the new culvert under all but the biggest of floods.

Healthy, flowing brook

 

A stone dam on this Brook diverts flow and causes problems upstream

 

An undersized culvert

 

A culvert that is large enough for water to flow underneath with minimal disturbance

We also put at least two feet of native river bed materials on the bottom of the culvert to let animals get across the culvert safely. One other important rule is to make sure that the new culvert is both wide and tall enough so that it doesn’t “feel” so confined as to deter critters from passing through. This is based on a rule called the “openness ratio,” where we can do a calculation that tells us if the culvert will feel too long and skinny.


Happy Ending

With these rules as our guide, we do our best to design a new culvert and to remove the stone dam in order to help the brook from our story transform back closer to its fairy tale beginnings, all with the hope that the critters that live in the brook will get to live happily ever after.

This story plays out in many brooks, streams, and marshes across MA. Ecological restoration services aid in the recovery of ecosystems that have become impacted or degraded by past human activities. Our ecological restoration experts work with the state, town officials and nonprofit organizations to come up with a plan including funding options to help improve the area.

Email Jonas Procton, Design Engineer or Neal Price, Associate Principal, Sr. Hydrogeologist with questions about these services or to share your culvert story!

 

Related links:

Stream Crossing Standards

Stream Continuity

Dam Removal Feasibility Study-Ipswich

Riverfront Park and River Restoration-10 mile River