Three projects studying waterways and watersheds in the city of Daphne will be part of the focus of a two-day seminar for scientists and city planners in Daphne Dec. 3 and 4.
The D’Olive Watershed Restoration Workshop will focus on Gulf Coast water sustainability during the first day and watershed modeling systems on the second day.
“There are several groups that have been working together to address concerns with the overall health of water and quality of life,” Auburn University’s Eve Brantley said. “This workshop will be a review of what’s been learned over the past several years for technologies to improve streams. That directly translates to improvement in local bays and, in this case, the D’Olive Bay watershed. These are projects that can be replicated in other areas throughout Alabama and the Gulf Coast.”
Though the workshop will be based at the Daphne City Hall meeting room the first day, attendees will be visiting projects in the field to study how they are working.
“The first one is D’Olive Creek as it passes under [Interstate] 10 and in between I-10 and Highway 90,” Brantley said. “What we tried to do with several of these projects is mimic nature in a way that helps it to resist erosion from a lot of the landscapes that are now parking lots and roadways and rooftops.”
The second project the group will study is a stream off of County Road 13 to see if improvement measures there are working and can be used in other parts of the Gulf Coast area.
“That’s a very similar story,” Brantley said. “A stream had eroded down into a gully and the restoration efforts were to get it stabilized and then include a lot of features that improved the habitat and allowed the floodplain to absorb water and treat water. The third project is in the Lake Forest neighborhood. It’s another stream-enhancement project that looks at stability but not just erosion but how do we improve the ecology.”
The scientists and other attendees will go back and study how the projects were successful and measures that may not have worked as well as expected.
“The reason for this workshop is to say it’s good periodically to say what have we learned from projects put on the ground to improve streams,” Brantley said. “And, how are the stormwater practices that we are putting into place, how are they working and what can we learn so that we can continually improve and adapt?”
Brantley said the second day of the workshop will be led by John Curry of Hydro Engineering Solutions and will concentrate on how to anticipate growth when planning water flow.
“One of the most important disciplines is planning and how do we plan for future development and how do we plan and manage our current water resources,” Brantley said. “His [talk] will be really valuable for communities from the planning aspect of things.”
The workshop is sponsored by the Mobile Bay National Estuary Program, city of Daphne, city of Spanish Fort, Clean Water Future, Auburn University and the Alabama Cooperative Extension System.
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