New Entrance at the Caratunk Wildlife Refuge

The Audubon Society of Rhode Island hired HW for site and landscape design services to enhance the Caratunk Wildlife Refuge. We also provided permitting services including Site Plan Review through the Planning Board and wetlands permitting through the Conservation Commission. The design features a naturalized rain garden that collects and treats stormwater from the parking area; an accessible boardwalk that crosses a vegetated conveyance swale; and an improved porous parking area with demarcated accessible parking spaces. These features have enhanced the ‘sense of arrival’ to the Refuge opening sightlines, offering universal access into the barn, and managing stormwater. The enhancements provide an educational opportunity for hundreds of scouts that visit the refuge each year. Native plantings provide wildlife habitat and mimic the natural surroundings found within the refuge. Since the project’s completion in 2018, flooding no longer occurs in the parking area and visitor counts have increased overall.

CLIENT:  Audubon Society of Rhode Island

PROBLEM:  Flooding in the parking lot, limited access, need for an improved entrance 

SOLUTION:  Green Infrastructure site design, stormwater management (rain garden, swale)

BENEFITS:  Site improvement, water quality improvements, improved aesthetics

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Brian Kuchar, P.E., RLA, LEED AP

Principal Landscape Architect