West Maui Restoration Soil Stabilization
West Maui watersheds suffer from a number of stressors to the nearshore reefs including the impact of pollutants from legacy agriculture, increasing urban runoff and wastewater injection wells that connect to the ocean. It is our intention to work within these middle and lower watershed areas to address sediment transport within the gulches using bioengineering practices that can act to re-stabilize these areas for the long-term and help to mitigate the impacts from potential future land use changes. After developing a successful restoration model to deal with these mobile sediments in one watershed we will be able to transfer those methods to other West Maui watersheds including those held by private landowners and corporations.
Seagrass Restoration Project, South Coast, PR
Seagrasses have been historically impacted on the South Coast of Puerto Rico by acombination of impacts including human recreation and boating, shipping,construction of coastal piers and development, trash and debris and sewage and septic systems. The project proposes to address several factors impacting sea
grasses including boating and recreational impacts, marine debris and specific areas of known sewage and septic impacts. The impacts will be addressed by performing education and outreach particularly at public access locations, by pin pointing underwater locations of marine debris and performing clean up, and reducing the impacts from illicit sewage connections and poorly sited septic systems.
Innovative Biofilters and BMP's
Ridge to Reefs will install nine innovative agricultural Best Management Practices (BMP's) on four Eastern Shore farms. The project will construct two woodchip bioreactors, two multi-celled treatment wetlands, two woodchip infiltrators, one P-filter, a forebay and bioretention to treat barnyard runoff and one enhanced grass swale for nutrient removal. Our woodchip bioreactors will include a design modification to be placed downstream of ponds to maximize treatment area and reduce dissolved nutrients. Ridge to Reefs has worked closely with Kent County SCD office to coordinate cost-share funding where possible. Funds will be used for project costs not covered by cost share.
Watch recent video featuring Drew Koslow one of Ridge to Reefs' staff members on reducing high nitrogen concentrations using wood chip bioreactors.
Guanica High Mountain Soil Stabilization
This project involves stabilizing high mountain soils in the Guanica watershed, it is part of a larger effort to implement the restoration plan for the watershed. In this instance, soil was exposed due to a former road being washed out and reconstructed. This area of the watershed receives 80 - 100 inches of rain (>100cm) annually and is a major source area for sediment that is transported through the watershed to the nearshore coral reefs. The technical staff at Ridge to Reefs and Protectores de Cuencas purchased a hydroseeder and worked with experts from NRCS/USDA, NC State University, NOAA, and Fish and Wildlife Service to develop mulches/seed mixes to stabilize steep slopes in high mountain and high rainfall areas of Puerto Rico.
Low Impact Development Integration
The St.Mary's River watershed in southern Maryland is experiencing tremendous growth due to base realignment -- over 17,000 additional residents are anticipated in the watershed over the next 10-15 years. If the development is not constructed to minimize its impact on the River, the relatively healthy river will be greatly impacted. Despite Maryland having LID stormwater regulations most of the development in St. Mary's County will occur under older regulations due to subdivisions being previously permitted.This project represents an opportunity to work together with the development community to minimize the impact and to create and market a product that honors attractive design elements and functions to safeguard the river.
Ridge to Reefs has completed the first two projects under our Innovative Filters Grant from the Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays 2016 Trust Fund. We are proud to work with Ed Fry and Matthew Fry of Fair Hill Farm in Chestertown, MD. The Frys are in the process of converting their large dairy to an organic grazing operation. We also received funding for the Phosphorus Sorbing Filter from Maryland Department of Agriculture.
Tracking Sources of Pollution in Rincon, PR
Ridge to Reefs (RTR) and Surfrider Foundation Rincon are working together to track down sources of pollution and specific areas where septic systems and other sources of bacteria are contributing to dangerous conditions for surfing, swimming, snorkeling and coral reefs inside the Tres Palmas Marine Reserve (Rincon, PR) and surroundings areas. Specific issues have already been identified and a remediation project to address nutrient and bacterial contamination issues has been put in place in Quebrada Piletas.
Tamarindo Beach Restoration Project
This pilot project was conducted as part of current efforts to develop the Watershed Management Plan for Culebra. The project was done in partnership with Department of Natural and Environmental Resources of Puerto Rico and forms part of the RED Sustainable Forest Initiative of the Forest Service Bureau. The goal is to mitigate the adverse effects of stormwater runoff, erosion and sedimentation that impact coral reefs and other marine ecosystems. The project focused on the implementation of erosion and sedimentation control measures by redirecting and intercepting runoff, and reforesting the site with native plants. Reforestation and habitat restoration were also carried out through the rehabilitation of the dunes and the permanent vegetation line, and by limiting access to this area by building two small boardwalks.
La Parguera Contamination Source Identification
We have determined many of the major sources of contamination of the nearshore reefs, mangroves, and sea grass beds and we are also beginning to implement measures to reduce contaminants that wash off the streets and parking lots of La Parguera (a small coastal town and tourist destination in Southwest Puerto Rico). Contamination from sewage and poorly planned historical construction are being addressed with partners that include Environmental Protection Agency, PRASA (PR Sewerage Authority), UPR Rio Piedras and Protectores de Cuencas. Coastal pollution is being monitored in an on-going fashion by Interamerican University in San German and we'll be continuing to track improvements in coastal water quality.
Green Infrastructure in La Parguera
The Green Infrastructure (GI) Plan for La Parguera was a collaboration between landscape architects (LA) from Polytechnic University in San Juan (Polytechnic), Ridge to Reefs and Protectores de Cuencas among other partners. It is a interesting document (see it here) as it was produced by (LA) students at Polytechnic -- it is more in the form of a LA studio pictorial than a typical watershed plan. This form is likely to have more resonance with the public helping them to visualize GI in their community. Our first efforts in implementation are a result of a partnership with Interamerican University of Puerto Rico (IUPR) CECIA Lab who have been engaged in the monitoring of GI projects as well as the nearshore coastal waters Their students/staff have also created a mural to support the education of the community and tourists. Our initial project stabilized two dirt parking lots and created a sand/biofilter (photo to the left) to reduce the transport of hydrocarbons, heavy metals sediment and nutrients to the coastal waters and nearshore reefs. Monitoring is on-going to assess the effectiveness of the project.
Sassafras Constructed Treatment Wetlands
Paul Sturm led the technical content for the watershed plan for this River in the Upper Chesapeake Bay which has experienced harmful algal blooms and recently updated the plan to meet the new Chesapeake Bay TMDL. One of the recommendations of the plan was to address key source areas of pollution in the watershed by creating 10 constructed wetlands. This particular treatment wetland was designed using wastewater principles to help address the high levels of nutrients being transported from the site. In addition, it will treat both surface water and shallow groundwater in two separate treatment cells and the facility was designed with a large storm water basin to capture runoff from over 15 acres of impervious cover associated with a large egg laying Confined Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) and then release the runoff at a constant flow rate to the wetlands