2023.09.13 Blog Featured Image Bsla Lightning Talk 2023.09.13 Blog Featured Image Bsla Lightning Talk 2023.09.13 Blog Featured Image Bsla Lightning Talk

Talking about Climate Action in New England with the BSLA

On May 5th, 2023, Project Manager Jessica Wala, PE, LEED AP ND, ENV SP presented a Lightning Talk at the Boston Society of Landscape Architects (BSLA) Landscape Architecture + Climate Action in New England Summit. The presentation highlighted Nitsch Engineering’s support for the Town of Braintree, which was awarded a number of grants to support planning-level watershed studies and subsequent project designs. These projects focus on improving water quality discharging to the Weymouth Fore River and incorporating adaptive and resilient infrastructure to prepare for rising tides and increased storm intensities due to climate change.

In 2019, Nitsch worked with the Town to prepare a grant-funded watershed study to identify potential sites to incorporate green infrastructure retrofits and ranked these sites based on “the biggest bang for your buck,” where projects can capture and remove the largest pollutant loads most effectively.

The Smith Beach Parking Lot was identified as a top priority site because of its location at the bottom of a drainage area that outfalls directly to the river. In 2022, Nitsch worked with the Town to design and permit the Smith Beach Parking Lot Green Infrastructure Project. The design was funded by the Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) Action Grant through the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs.

At Smith Beach, Nitsch analyzed the drainage area and quantified the pollutant removal, focusing on pathogens, total suspended sediment (TSS), total phosphorous (TP), and total nitrogen (TN) in pounds annually through the use of green infrastructure. We designed a deep porous pavement section and bioretention filters to manage up to 5 inches of rainfall from the contributing drainage area, which far exceeds any current-day regulations for stormwater management.

Nitsch used the state’s Resilient MA Action Team (RMAT) Climate Resilience Design Standards Tool to inform the project design; this tool helped the team identify the project site’s exposure and risk to climate related scenarios, including sea level rise, storm surge, urban flooding, and extreme heat. The tool also identified high-level design goals and metrics that were incorporated into the design.

Nitsch then used the state’s Coastal Flood Risk Model (MCFRM) to estimate the projected flood elevations within the site through 2050 during major storm events. The design incorporated backflow prevention to prevent surcharging from the tidal river into our system throughout the lifespan of the project.

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We are thrilled to continue to support the Town in the design of two additional projects that were identified in the 604B Watershed Study: the Watson Park Green Infrastructure Project and the Elder Affairs Green Infrastructure Project. The design of these projects is funded by a Coastal Pollutant Remediation Grant and a 319 Nonpoint Source Grant (respectively), administered through the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP).

Nitsch’s Resilience Planning & Design team continues to work with a variety of municipalities on securing grant funding; preparing Municipal Vulnerability Plans, vulnerability assessments, and hazard mitigation plans; developing stormwater ordinances; and designing sustainable and resilient stormwater solutions.