Woonasquatucket River Riparian Buffer Restoration

Project Name: Woonasquatucket River Project

Summary: Riparian Buffer Restoration Identification and Implementation

Client: Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management and Woonasquatucket River Watershed Council

Project Location: Woonasquatucket Watershed, RI

Services Provided:
•  Riparian Studies
•  GIS Database Design and
•  Habitat Mitigation and Restoration

Project Timeframe:
2004 - 2008

Relationship with Client: Since 2002

Client Needs:
Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (RIDEM) and the Woonasquatucket River Watershed Council (Watershed Council) received funding from the U.S. Forest Service to perform a riparian buffer restoration project. The primary project objective was to restore degraded stream corridor functions such as the provision of stream corridor wildlife habitat and maintenance of in-stream water quality.
Kleinschmidt Solution:
Kleinschmidt completed the first phase of the project, which was to identify and prioritize potential riparian restoration opportunities along the Woonasquatucket River. The rating method developed by Kleinschmidt requires field reconnaissance and rates sites according to the potential to restore specific ecological functions (such as water quality and wildlife habitat), the potential for developing socioeconomic functions (aesthetic and educational components), practical considerations (such as parcel ownership), and costs relative to benefits. The GIS effort included creating a method for numerically rating the restoration potential of individual sites and completing a basin-wide inventory. The second phase of the project involves implementation of site restoration measures such as plantings, streambank bio-stabilization, restoring floodplains and improved stormwater management. Kleinschmidt completed detailed planting plans (utilizing native riparian species), and grading plans for a demonstration project in the City of Providence.
Client Benefits:
Kleinschmidt’s Phase I deliverable (site assessment method, GIS mapping, and results) is an innovative tool that is useful to the Watershed Council and to RIDEM for prioritizing and planning future restoration efforts in the watershed.