Habitat restoration projects at Buckhorn Island and Beaver Island State Parks on Grand Island have been recognized by the American Council of Engineering Companies of New York for engineering excellence.
ACEC is a coalition of nearly 300 New York State engineering societies.
“We strive to build superior engineering projects that improve the health of the state parks natural environment, increase our resilience to climate change, and support outdoor recreation experiences for park visitors” , State Parks Commissioner Erik Kulleseid said. “WSP USA Inc.’s award-winning mapping and design work for the Beaver Island and Buckhorn Island State Parks projects is proof of that.”
WSP USA Inc., a state parks consulting engineering firm, received a Platinum Surveying and Mapping Technology Award for its mapping contributions to the Burnt Ship Creek Habitat Improvement Project in Buckhorn Island State Park. The project involved drone-based mapping technology that accelerated preliminary construction logistics without affecting the marsh habitat. Drone mapping during construction also captured efforts to improve aquatic connectivity in the project area, which greatly benefits the park’s important marsh ecosystem.
The Niagara River Corridor is an Audubon Important Bird Area of Global Priority, in part due to a remarkable diversity of waterfowl.
WSP USA Inc. also received a Gold Medal in the Water Resources category for its contribution to the East River Marsh Habitat Improvement Project at Beaver Island State Park. State Parks engaged the company to design plans and specifications, develop permit applications, and provide tendering and engineering support during the construction of a habitat project that constructed rock barriers , restored the Niagara River shoreline, and widened existing trails in the park.
Rocky reefs serve to limit shoreline erosion and provide calm water areas for paddlers, native plants and fish habitat. Native plantings and fish structures have also been used to restore riparian habitat. Trails near the shore have been expanded and restored, allowing safer and more enjoyable walkways for birdwatching and other recreational activities.
The projects were funded by the Environmental Protection Agency Great Lakes Restoration Initiative under an $11.2 million GLRI grant to state parks for several projects in the Niagara River “Area of Concern”, which was designated by the EPA in 1987 due to environmental degradation. .
Buckhorn Island State Park is located on 895 acres at the northern tip of Grand Island. Beaver Island State Park is located on 950 acres at the southern tip of the island. For more information, visit www.parks.ny.gov.