Session B1.1

Wildlife Protection Plan Helps Large Water Pipeline Project Move Forward

Jill Chomycia, PMP

9:00 – 9:30 AM (PT) | 12:00 – 12:30 PM (ET)

About the Presentation

The Willamette Water Supply Program (Program) is a partnership between Tualatin Valley Water District, the City of Hillsboro and the City of Beaverton to develop Oregon's Willamette River as an additional water supply source and build a new $1.4 billion potable water system. The system includes 30+ miles of pipeline, a state-of-the-art water treatment plant, pump stations and water storage tanks. Through a proactive environmental permitting process and a goal to limit environmental impacts, the new pipeline will largely be built in the public right-of-way, avoiding direct impacts to most wildlife habitat. One stretch of right-of-way presented a constructability challenge requiring a 900-foot section of pipeline to cross a popular nature park. Neighbors of the Orenco Woods Nature Park are concerned about the impacts of construction on wildlife and have formed an advocacy group to advocate for wildlife protections.

The Program developed the Wildlife Protection and Adaptive Management Plan for Orenco Woods Nature Park with input from the public, permitting agencies, advocacy organizations, and the park owners to address neighbors' concerns. This presentation will review the approach to adaptively managing wildlife protections during construction, how public and agencies' input improved the plan, and provide information on how to build wildlife protection efforts into construction contract documents.

 Biology Track, 0.5 AICP Credits

About the Speaker

Jill Chomycia, PMP
Permitting Manager

Jill Chomycia is the Permitting Coordinator for the Willamette Water Supply Program, and a Permitting Manager at Stantec. She has 13 years of experience in regulatory compliance and project management focused on large water resource programs and projects. In her current role with the Willamette Water Supply Program, Jill leads permitting and compliance efforts for a 10-year, $1.3 billion infrastructure program. In this role, Jill is responsible for coordinating permit acquisition and environmental compliance; liaising with regulatory agency staff to facilitate land use and environmental permit acquisition and modification; leading development and implementation of permitting and compliance strategy, tools, and processes; supporting development of intergovernmental agreements and grants with various entities; facilitating real estate acquisition efforts; managing environmental consultant contracts; and supporting program-level budgeting, scheduling, and risk management efforts.

Session B1.2

Ecological Restoration and Permitting of Small Dam Removals in Washington State

Becky Holloway, CEP & April McEwan

9:30 – 10:00 AM (PT) | 12:30 – 1:00 PM (ET)

About the Presentation

The interest in small dam removals is becoming increasingly greater in the Pacific Northwest. Many non-hydroelectric dams constructed in the early to mid-1900s are derelict facilities that no longer function as originally intended. Further, these dams were often built without fish passage facilities, and as a result, have since limited access to spawning and rearing habitat for several species of anadromous fish. The removal of dams provides a mechanism to restore pre-dam ecological conditions in a watershed, and benefits not only the fish that were formerly blocked from access to upstream habitat, but the predators that consume them.

This discussion will focus on two small dam removals at ecologically different sites in the state of Washington. Each dam functioned or functions to deliver surface water to municipal and irrigation systems. The first dam is the Middle Fork Nooksack River Dam, located on a tributary to the Puget Sound. The second dam is Nelson Dam (or Naches-Cowiche Dam), located on a tributary to the Yakima River in central Washington. The Middle Fork Nooksack River Dam was removed in 2020, and Nelson Dam is scheduled for removal beginning in the summer of 2021. This presentation will briefly discuss the funding pathways and stakeholder avenues pursued for these projects, and dive into some details relative to the design, permitting pathways, and timelines required to obtain regulatory approvals.

 Biology Track, 0.5 AICP Credits

About the Speakers

Becky Holloway, CEP
Environmental Scientist
HDR Engineering, Inc.

Becky Holloway is a biologist and environmental scientist who has been practicing in the Pacific Northwest for more than 20 years. She is the regulatory compliance specialist for HDR's Fisheries Design Center and primarily works on projects that enhance fisheries including restoration projects, dam removals, hatcheries, and fish passage facilities.

April McEwan
River Restoration Project Manager
American Rivers

April is an interdisciplinary river scientist and project manager with 10 years of experience developing and implementing innovative river restoration and water resource projects in the Pacific Northwest and California. Project experience includes dam removal, fish passage and habitat improvements, sustainable water resource infrastructure replacement, and flood reduction working for the US Forest Service, California Department of Water Resources, and American Rivers. In the past three years, she has led restoration of 141 miles of critical habitat for ESA-listed species in Washington and Oregon using collaborative matrix partnerships to complete five multi-benefit river restoration projects with a combined value of $26 million. In her spare time, she loves adventuring on her snowboard, whitewater kayak, and surfboard.

Session B1.3

Ecological Restoration and Permitting of Small Dam Removals in Washington State

Taylor Nordstrom, PE

10:00 – 10:30 AM (PT) | 1:00 – 1:30 PM (ET)

About the Presentation

Nature-based solutions are an effective method, in many cases, to increase resilience to natural disasters from community and environmental perspectives. However, not all nature-based solutions are created equal. The effectiveness of a nature-based solution is highly dependent upon site specific characteristics, as well as the hazards being mitigated. These conditions must be factored into the conceptual planning and design for the project to develop nature-based solutions that are effective for hazard mitigation. This presentation will debunk some myths about the abilities of nature-based solutions to address hazards while providing engineering insights to help illuminate when, where, and in what way nature-based solutions are effective and beneficial.

It is becoming more demonstrable that nature-based solutions are a more comprehensive investment than single-purpose, gray infrastructure because they provide a wider range of benefits in a more adaptable manner, resulting in a more resilient solution. This presentation will attempt to explain how to identify the solution to best address the individual needs of communities based on their hazard types, budgets, and natural and built environments. The nature-based solutions chosen for project implementation should help reduce risk to communities while simultaneously supporting their environmental, social, and economic goals.

Nature-based solutions are evolving, as are the funding pathways for their implementation. Hazard mitigation funding opportunities can take the form of pre- or post-disaster mitigation to reduce loss or damage to life and property. While different funding opportunities have specific requirements for project performance, projects should be shown to have economic benefits that outweigh the costs to construct and maintain. In this presentation we'll focus on three key steps for selecting nature-based solutions for hazard mitigation, including:

  • Determining limitations of nature-based solutions so they are properly represented
  • Understanding which nature-based solutions are appropriate for specific hazards, and
  • Giving a brief introduction to hazard mitigation funding for nature-based solutions.

 Biology Track, 0.5 AICP Credits

About the Speaker

Taylor Nordstrom, PE
Coastal Engineer

Taylor Nordstrom is a coastal engineer at AECOM based in Houston, Texas. Her experience includes coastal resiliency and maritime planning to protect natural resources and communities for Texas state agencies, ports, and leading environmental organizations. Balancing her planning and resilience work with on-the-ground engineering, Taylor designs restoration projects to improve coastal wetlands, protect against shoreline erosion, and integrate expected system responses to coastal storms and sea level rise.