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SLR has been honored to receive a Merit Award from the American Council of Engineering Companies of Connecticut (ACEC-CT) at their 2024 Engineering Excellence Awards Gala, held on January 22nd, 2024. This award recognizes the innovative applications of water resource engineering to restore a tidal estuary in the city of West Haven, CT after years of active manipulation through tide gates and salt hay cultivation. SLR’s Andie Greene, Fernanda Mastroluca, Shelley Plude, Tony Ciriello, and Marc Mancini attended the gala to receive the award.
The Cove River tidal estuary has a long history of active manipulation through the use of tide gates. Salt hay cultivation and upstream flood management goals have led to the marsh to be cut off from its saltwater inflows, causing decades' worth of ecological harm to the marsh. The native vegetation in the marsh has been outcompeted with invasive species such as phragmites, and the marsh platform has shown signs of subsidence due to the lack of tidal sediment accretion and the decomposition of organic matter on the tidal platform.
SLR was approached by the City of West Haven to design and later construct a series of SRTs to allow saltwater back to the marsh for the first time in decades. This project also involved the removal of two sets of old tide gates and the installation of a prefabricated aluminum truss bridge for pedestrian use.
SLR expanded the site use at the City’s request by providing landscape architectural, geotechnical, and structural design services to develop pedestrian supportive infrastructure that included walkways, a pedestrian bridge, native and resilient plantings, green stormwater infiltration, and custom site lighting. Beach access pathways and ADA-accessible compliant parking were built into the site restoration plan to ensure all members of the community could utilize the rehabilitated space.
The project was very well received by residents and the public of the area, who now had improved infrastructure to reinvigorate their naturally occurring tidal marshes and increased accessibility to their coastal public spaces.
This is the second award to be given to this project. The first being a 2023 Achievement in Civil Engineering (ACE) Award in Coastal Resiliency.
Click here to read the full project story about the Cove River Tidal Marsh Restoration, Pedestrian Bridge and Sea Bluff Beach Park Improvements