Town Project Earns Engineering Excellence Award

The Town of Wake Forest and W.K. Dickson & Co., Inc. recently received the Engineering Excellence Award for Scientific Research for their bentho macro invertebrate relocation efforts as part of the Sanford Creek Habitat Restoration Project.

The award was presented on Thursday, Nov. 5, during the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) of North Carolina’s Engineering Excellence Gala in Durham.

The award-winning project was led by a team comprised of W.K Dickson & Co., Inc.’s Ward Marotti; Town of Wake Forest Assistant Engineer and Project Manager Holly Miller; Town of Wake Forest Urban Forestry Coordinator Jennifer Rall; and Eagle Scout candidate Ross Keyser, who installed coir fiber rolls into Sanford Creek in Heritage South in the vicinity of Golden Star Way/Marshall Farm Street as part of his Eagle Project.

Each year the ACEC of North Carolina selects the top project from North Carolina engineering firms and submits it to the national ACEC’s annual Engineering Excellence Awards competition. Since 1967, U.S. engineering firms have entered their most innovative projects and studies in ACEC’s annual Engineering Excellence Awards program (EEA) – “the Academy Awards of the engineering industry” – honoring the year’s most outstanding engineering accomplishments. Projects that are winners at state level EEA competitions are eligible for ACEC’s national EEA competition.

The Sanford Creek Habitat Restoration Project and the overall Smith Creek Watershed Project were judged to be “outstanding examples of the dedication and determination of a firm to push the envelope into unchartered territory to improve the environment. W.K. Dickson & Co., Inc. monitored macro invertebrates for a four-year period on Smith Creek Watershed, a 303d listed category 5 impaired stream/watershed located in Wake Forest, North Carolina. Not only did they monitor, they also collected samples from a reference reach to relocate into Sanford Creek, a major tributary to Smith Creek. They utilized simple rolled coir matting, duck bill anchors, leaf packs to create habitat and then placed the relocated macro invertebrates into the coir rolls. Samples were taken pre- and post-installation for two years with the last sample being taken in July 2015.

“It was found that Sanford Creek was able to support the benthos with the additional habitat, thus negating the impaired stream status. The final data shows a major increase in richness and diversity, which is an amazing success. The town will continue to add habitat to the stream banks and will also pursue a delisting of the entire watershed based on four years’ worth of data that was conducted by W.K. Dickson & Co, Inc. in the entire watershed.”

According to Miller, W.K. Dickson’s use of readily-available materials is an excellent example of value engineering.

“The large benefits of potentially removing a stream from the 303d impaired waters list and not having to produce a TMDL (Total Maximum Daily Load) have created a change in how we look at stream restoration and habitat enhancement. Overall the addition of the habitat will save the Town of Wake Forest both time and money.

“The Sanford Creek Habitat Restoration Project, a portion of the Smith Creek Watershed Restoration and Implementation Project, added value and ingenuity to our efforts and more than achieved our overall goals. We are grateful for the opportunity to have worked with W.K. Dickson & CO., Inc. Their knowledge and depth of stream restoration experience and assistance with public involvement has been an excellent asset to the Town of Wake Forest.”

For more information, contact Holly Miller at 919-435-9443 or [email protected].

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