Founded in 1891, the 250-acre New York Botanical Garden is a National Historic Landmark Site located in the Bronx borough of New York City. With more than 800,000 visitors per year, the Garden is seeking to develop a Master Plan for its site to increase visitors, highlight lesser used parts of the site, and protect its land from development by other entities.
Nitsch Engineering & Land Surveying of New York is collaborating with the landscape architect to develop a Master Plan for improving the garden using sustainable design techniques. We studied the existing utility infrastructure in and around the Garden to determine the existing conditions and identify trouble areas, reviewed the existing drainage system and flow regimes to develop a garden-wide approach to making the site’s stormwater runoff a resource for the entire property, and coordinated with the New York Department of Environmental Protection (NYDEP), Garden staff, other consultants, and city agencies to use innovative designs in stormwater capture for reuse in irrigation and other site needs. The improvements will be seamlessly incorporated into the Botanical Garden’s daily operation.
As the plan progressed, Nitsch Engineering continued to work with the Landscape Architect on a more detailed study of the core of the Garden, called the “Heart of the Garden.” We performed a hydrologic study and water balance analysis for the “Heart of the Garden,” an existing stream and wetland system that meanders through the Rock Garden, Native Plant Garden, and Mitsubishi Wild Wetland. The purpose of this analysis was to evaluate the existing water system, make recommendations to refurbish existing features, add open water in the form of a new feature wetland at the new entrance to the Native Plant Garden, and create a sustainable water management program that eliminates the need for a municipal water supply at the Rock Garden Cascade. As a result of this study, Nitsch Engineering developed a sustainable water management strategy to divert, store, and re-use excess water flow through the system from precipitation events to sustain to supplement the municipal water feed at the Cascade and the new feature wetland. We also worked with our sub-consultant, Haley & Aldrich, to perform a hydrogeologic analysis to estimate groundwater baseflow and make recommendations for a long-term monitoring program to field-measure groundwater baseflow.