Using nature-based solutions to safeguard infrastructure and bring coastal resiliency to this Alabama community
Twelve Mile Creek was in trouble. The creek lacked floodplain access and was experiencing significant degradation and instability, excess sediment, habitat impairments, and the expansion of invasive species. A priority project identified in the Watershed Management Plan, the creek needed help and that’s where we came in—the Mobile Bay National Estuary Program (MBNEP) engaged us to restore an 1,800 linear foot segment using funding from the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council. Funding was also provided from the Resources Ecosystems Sustainability, Tourist Opportunities, and Revived Economies of the Gulf Coast States (RESTORE) Act.
Our team developed a design that restored ecological function to the existing streams, floodplains, and riparian corridors while maintaining proper stormwater conveyance and protecting critical infrastructure. Restoration included reconstruction of the existing channel and incorporating natural channel design structures such as toe wood and brush runs to provide stability and improved habitat diversity. Hydrologic connectivity was also improved through floodplain grading. Riparian enhancements comprised the removal of invasive species and supplemental planting of native species.
Just days after construction, the project withstood Hurricane Ida, a Category 4 storm that brought 150 mile per hour (240 kilometre per hour) winds, multiple tornadoes, and flooding rains of up to 11 inches over several days. Despite the severe test of the design so closely following construction, the Twelve Mile Creek restoration remains intact.
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