U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Norfolk District

ODU Drainage Canal and Wetlands Restoration Project

Hampton Roads, VA

PKS, in partnership with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Norfolk District, Old Dominion University (ODU), the city of Norfolk, the Elizabeth River Project (ERP), and Andrew Miller and Associates, completed the ODU Drainage Canal and Wetlands Restoration Project. The project was designed to rehabilitate existing site features and create constructed wetlands. The project site is adjacent to the ODU Sailing Center and located on the Elizabeth River, a tributary of the southern Chesapeake Bay.

The Elizabeth and James Rivers, form Hampton Roads, one of the largest natural harbors in the world. The Elizabeth River is also the northern terminus for the Atlantic Intercostal Waterway. Historically, the river has been home to various maritime industries, including the Norfolk Naval Shipyard. As of 2011, the Elizabeth River is one of the most polluted rivers on the east coast. Through the combined efforts of volunteer organizations and local, state and federal agencies, a Watershed Action Plan is being implemented to restore the environmental health and vitality of the river. Wetlands restoration is one of several Action Plan elements designed to improve water quality.

The ODU project involved the rehabilitation of an existing stormwater drainage channel and shoreline revetments. Tasks included the installation of guide walls to reduce the turbulence of stormwater entering the river and a check dam to capture sediment. Concrete debris was removed from the shoreline and the revetment was graded prior to placement of new geotextile fabric and armor stone. Breakwaters were installed, providing basins for constructed wetlands. Approximately 2,400 cubic yards of imported sand fill was placed inside the basins and 10,000 native grass sprigs were planted. An ADA-compliant floating dock, pier and gangway were also constructed.

In April 2012, the ODU Drainage Canal and Wetlands Restoration Project was recognized on DredgingToday.com and the Norfolk District website.