Maurer-Stutz Inc. and Hanson Professional Services Inc. won the Award of Excellence from the Association of Conservation Engineers’ (ACE) Carl V. Anderson Conservation Project Awards in recognition of Emiquon Preserve’s water control system, which is believed to be the only one of its kind in the world. The Nature Conservancy (TNC), Maurer-Stutz and Hanson were honored for the project Oct. 18 during 56th annual ACE Conference in Ogden, Utah. This award is ACE’s highest honor.
Emiquon Preserve, one of the largest floodplain restoration projects of its type in the Midwest, is located near Havana, Illinois. The floodplain had been farmland that was separated from the Illinois River by a levee. To keep the 5,500-acre wetland in the preserve from degrading, TNC teamed with Maurer-Stutz and Hanson to create a water control system that reconnects the floodplain to the river for the first time in nearly a century. The team designed a multipurpose, gated water control structure; a pump station; and an elevated control building. Watch a video about the project at https://youtu.be/1iYPMlJTU5E.
The water control structure provides adequate drainage and flood control for adjacent agricultural lands and infrastructure, connectivity between the floodplain and the river, control of the movements of sediment and fish and opportunities for scientific monitoring and research. It also allows for the management of water levels, which will benefit aquatic species in the habitat and the river. The water control structure is named Ahsapa — which means “web” in Myaamia, the language used by Native Americans who had been the land’s early inhabitants — to represent the reconnection of Emiquon and the Illinois River.
“Since the gate has been in operation, we have been so thrilled with the data collected, the general function and the sheer number of fish the wetland is contributing to the river when the gates are open,” Michelle Carr, state director of TNC’s Illinois chapter, said. “It’s cutting-edge floodplain conservation in action!”
Maurer-Stutz served as the project manager and main point of contact with TNC; completed design, plans and specifications for the pump station and control building; developed bid documents; facilitated bid review and contractor selection; and led construction observation efforts as the engineer of record. Hanson provided complete design services, plans and specifications for the water control structure, as well as foundation design of the pump station and control building.
ACE is an international organization that was founded in 1961. The Carl V. Anderson Conservation Project Awards recognize members for outstanding projects in conservation engineering.
Earlier this year, this project received an Honor Award from the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) of Illinois and a National Recognition Award from ACEC.
The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, the Conservancy develops on-the-ground solutions to our world’s toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. To learn more, visit www.nature.org or follow @nature_org on Twitter.
Maurer-Stutz is a full service, multi-discipline firm with offices in Peoria and Canton in Illinois and in Muncie, Indiana. Its headquarters is located at 3116 N. Dries Lane, Suite 100, Peoria, IL 61604. The office may be reached at (309) 693-7615. For more information, please visit www.mstutz.com.
Hanson is a national, employee-owned consulting firm providing engineering, planning and allied services. The firm’s corporate headquarters is located at 1525 S. Sixth St., Springfield, IL 62703. The office may be reached by phone at (217) 788-2450. For more information, please visit www.hanson-inc.com.