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Wayne County Refuge Gateway Restoration Design

Design and engineering for shoreline restoration projects

  • Detroit River, Michigan

    Detroit River, Michigan

A brownfield riverbank site formerly used for automotive manufacturing receives environmental remediation.

In earlier phases of industrialization, often little consideration was given to its environmental impacts. The Wayne County Refuge Gateway represents the changes in thinking that have come about regarding former industrial lands and the responsibilities of industry to the environment. Located along the Detroit River and the former site of automotive manufacturing, the ground was contaminated with various chemicals and debris. Wayne County purchased the 44 acre brownfield site with a goal of restoring it to a natural state. This would result in improvements in the surrounding wetland and river ecosystem and would create recreational opportunities for residents.

This is where we came in, preparing the NEPA environmental assessment and providing permitting assistance with federal and state agencies. Our environmental experts analyzed and evaluated issues of concern on the brownfield site. Five contaminated areas were discovered along with a significant amount of debris fill and vast amounts of an invasive plant species. Our analysis of the site, its topography, vegetation, aquatic ecosystem, and surroundings informed our rehabilitation plan and engineering drawings for the restoration projects. These included creating eight acres of shallow emergent marsh, seven acres of submergent marsh, and 27 acres of forested and prairie upland buffer. 

Over time, attitudes have changed as knowledge has grown. Where once industrialization was encouraged for its own sake, now industries work in greater partnership with communities—and under more effective regulation—to gain the benefits at far less cost to the environment. 

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