The City of Springfield is responsible for 22 waterbodies within its borders. These desirable natural resources in an urban setting provide a valuable public recreational resource but are adversely affected by the encroaching urban development. GZA has been engaged by the City to stay abreast of related wetlands regulatory compliance and to address ongoing issues with invasive species and other negative impacts at the lakes and ponds.
GZA’s natural resource specialists have worked closely with the City since 2002, conducting annual comprehensive Aquatic Plant Surveys on six lakes and ponds in Forest Park, in compliance with MEPA and wetlands permitting as well as to control invasive species within the waterbodies. In 2007, GZA’s scope of work expanded to provide more comprehensive services to meet the City’s needs. GZA developed an iterative management plan for each of Springfield’s lakes and ponds. GZA aquatic biologists evaluated each of the waterbodies, performing aquatic vegetation surveys; bathymetric and soft sediment evaluations; watershed analysis; nutrient loading modeling; and other related studies. In the resulting three-volume document, GZA provided a list of lake management options and alternatives for management and/or restoration for each waterbody. GZA has worked with the City since that time to implement many of the recommendations at each of the waterbodies, responding to the prioritization based upon need and available funding. Between 2015 and 2018, GZA was further asked to update the plans and provide permitting for the routine management tasks at 18 of the water bodies under a single comprehensive permit; four of the remaining water bodies will be addressed under more specialized permitting, due to the presence of rare species.
GZA has continued to provide services at individual lakes and ponds in accordance with the management plan—including vegetation monitoring and phased implementation of the management recommendations. GZA’s institutional knowledge of the City’s water bodies, as well as the firm’s natural resources expertise and permitting experience in the region, adds great value to the project and facilitates the successful management of these water bodies.