Firm’s Restoration and Mitigation Expertise Proves Critical to Ecosystem Re-stabilization Efforts
Michael Baker International, a global leader in engineering, planning and consulting services, recently announced it was selected by the North Carolina Division of Mitigation Services to restore and preserve the Finches Branch Stream, wetlands and surrounding habitat located on the historic Lochill Farm in Hillsborough, North Carolina. Michael Baker was selected based on its record of success and expertise designing full-spectrum restoration and mitigation implementation solutions, including more than 400 restoration projects over the past seven years that encompass more than one million feet of streams and 3,000 acres of wetlands.
In operation since the 18th century, Lochill Farm’s past use as a horse farm, history of logging activity and varied agricultural use for both row crops and pastures for livestock have negatively impacted the existing stream reach, floodplains and wetlands on the property. These factors have caused the streams to straighten, become incised and disconnected from the historic floodplains. Michael Baker designed a solution that will restore the water quality of Finches Branch Stream and its two main tributaries, and will preserve an additional five spring-fed tributaries, for a total of 5,500 linear feet of existing streams.
“Michael Baker’s design will raise the stream beds to the proper elevation, install in-stream features like riffles and pools, stabilize all the banks and reconnect the stream to its original floodplain, restoring hydrology and function to the adjacent wetlands on the site,” said Scott King, Michael Baker Environmental Specialist and Project Manager. “Incorporating theses stabilization techniques will further ensure We Make a Difference not only for this critical habitat but for the wildlife and residents of the farm’s surrounding communities as well.”
Further wetland rehabilitation will be achieved through re-establishing a native riparian (riverbank) wetland vegetation community, removing limited upland soils and permanently excluding livestock to protect both soil structure and vegetation. Native hardwood trees and shrub species will be planted along the entire riparian buffer to promote native wildlife along the newly vegetated stream corridor. All work will be protected by a perpetual conservation easement.
Permitting is scheduled for spring and summer 2017, and construction is scheduled for late summer and fall 2017. Following completion of construction, Michael Baker will monitor the site for seven years to confirm site stability. Project closeout is anticipated in 2024.
About Michael Baker International
Michael Baker International is a leading global provider of engineering and consulting services, which include planning, architectural, environmental, construction, program management, and full life-cycle support services as well as information technology and communications services and solutions. The company provides its comprehensive range of services and solutions in support of U.S. federal, state, and municipal governments, foreign allied governments, and a wide range of commercial clients. Michael Baker International has more than 6,000 employees in more than 90 locations across the U.S. and internationally. For more information, visit www.mbakerintl.com.