Geosyntec personnel partnered with the City of Daphne, Daphne Utilities, Mobile Bay National Estuary Program, Daphne High School, the EPA, Baldwin County Master Gardeners, and others to acquire and implement an EPA grant to establish a watershed pilot project along the Tiawasee Creek to provide education to students and outreach to the community centered on improved water quality.
Geosyntec consultants provided the educational base students at Daphne High School needed to implement best management practices on site.
“We taught the concept of watershed, how water moves across the landscape, how pollutants are picked up, and ultimately reach the bay,” said Wade Burcham, civil engineer with Geosyntec Consultants, Inc. “We educated students on best management practices and guided them in selecting the best solutions.”
Through facilitated discussions, students gained hands-on experience in the creation of their watershed enhancement plan that will improve water quality and guide the restoration and stabilization process. The plan addresses current stormwater and erosion problems and provides suggestions for Low Impact Development (LID) projects including constructed wetlands, bio-retention, native plantings, terracing, and floating wetlands.
With support of the community, students have already begun implementing a number of projects. They are growing native plants in the Daphne High School greenhouse for onsite stabilization and other BMPs, and monitoring water quality in Tiawasee Creek through the Alabama Water Watch Program. The project is anticipated to provide at least a 5% reduction in pollutant loads.
“The biggest impact has been community interaction,” said Dr. Elizabeth Anderton, agricultural sciences teacher at Daphne High School. From master gardeners to city officials, people throughout the community have donated their time, materials, and expertise to this project. “It’s been amazing for the students to realize the impact that people from all different walks of life can have.”
Students participating in this project will go forward armed with the information needed to make wise environmental decisions and the experience of bringing together diverse teams to preserve and positively impact our community’s quality of life.