In response to current and anticipated water demands, a New England municipality explored options to increase the storage capacity within its water supply system. Their analysis included the feasibility of raising the elevation of a 100-acre pond, integral to its water supply system, by up to 10 feet. GZA helped evaluate the potential environmental impacts that would result.
GZA undertook a significant field data collection effort, using handheld mobile devices pre-loaded with site-specific forms, maps and natural resource data references to maximize productivity, expedite the work, and lower costs. The large quantity of electronic data that resulted was incorporated into a GIS-based topographic model, developed by GZA, which helped the team assess the extent of potential inundation and predict changes to habitats and natural resource features. GZA completed a comparative analysis of current and proposed environmental conditions to evaluate overall project feasibility. GZA also supported the lead Design Engineer and the City in regulatory agency meetings, identifying regulatory review and permitting issues as well as specific species and habitat concerns. When potential impacts to Blanding’s turtle — a State Endangered species — were identified, GZA completed a reservoir-wide turtle trapping study to identify turtle species occupying the reservoir; captured Blanding’s turtles were radio-tracked for one year to identify important seasonal habitats, and the data was incorporated into a project re-design.
GZA provided a wide range of ecological and engineering services to the project team, working efficiently to collect data and identify ecological concerns — ultimately informing important design revisions that minimized potential impacts to a sensitive resource.