CA restoration project honored for notable economic, environmental services

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CAMBRIDGE, MA and WASHINGTON, DC, Nov. 18, 2013 -- For its notable economic and environmental efforts, Snow Creek Stream environment zone restoration in North Lake Tahoe, Placer County, Calif., has earned the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure's (ISI's) Envision™ Platinum award.

Placer County Department of Public Works and CDM Smith, which provided project planning and design services, will accept the award from ISI Executive Director Bill Bertera at an award presentation in the spring. "This project received ISI Envision's Platinum award because it exceeded expectations with sustainable features that accommodate community needs, goals, economic viability, plans, and environmental issues," explained Bertera. "It scored highly for its restoration of a brownfield site, historic wetlands and the stream environment zone by removing fill and debris and reestablishing vegetation and wildlife habitat."

The highest level attainable in the Envision rating system, the Platinum award was given to Snow Creek, the second project to receive an ISI Envision rating, for its endeavors toward investing in the following features that scored highly in the Envision structured credit categories:

  • Leadership: During the design process, programs established stakeholder identification, engagement and involvement in project decision making. Design integrates several infrastructure networks, including the North Lake Tahoe trail system and local stormwater systems.

  • Resource Allocation: Construction of the project minimizes water use and protects water resources. Willow trees planted near the natural stormwater channel will provide shade for water temperature control, and the project will reduce sediments within stormwater, allowing more water to reach Snow Creek. Reducing sediments and unwanted phosphorus and nitrogen will improve Lake Tahoe's water quality.

  • Natural World: The Snow Creek project scored highest in the natural world credit category because it protects wetlands and surface water, which buffers, enhances and restores wetlands and other water bodies. The project protects floodplain functions, and native plants including yarrow, mountain sagebrush and silver lupine have been selected to eliminate pesticide and fertilizer use -- preventing surface and groundwater contamination, and controlling invasive species.

  • Climate and Risk: Snow Creek's environmental zone restoration was designed to prepare for short-term hazards to increase resilience and long-term recovery prospects from natural and man-made short-term hazards, including wildfire, flooding, soil erosion and drought.

  • Quality of Life: The project will improve community mobility with the construction of a walking/biking trail that connects to existing trails and reduces dependency on car travel while restoring views and local character.

"The Envision rating categories helped guide the project team in providing quality of life and natural world benefits, while also reducing risks to the new stormwater infrastructure and trails," said Suzanne Wilkins, CDM Smith project planner and Envision Sustainability Professional.

"In addition, Envision served as an excellent resource for the project team in focusing on sustainable principles and practices important to Placer County and project stakeholders," said CDM Smith Senior Vice President and Director of Sustainability, Tom Pedersen.

Placer County's project was evaluated using the Envision project assessment, which was verified by a third party reviewer. "Project design components, such as using a recycled rail car for a bike trail bridge over sensitive areas and reuse of many materials onsite, helped the project attain the Envision Platinum award level," added Placer County Senior Engineer and Project Manager, Kansas McGahan.

The Envision sustainable infrastructure rating system is a comprehensive planning and design guide that helps infrastructure owners and designers meet sustainability goals and address projects' lifecycle economic, social and economic aspects. This holistic tool can be used to guide decisions about investment of scarce resources and to address community and environmental priorities on all types of civil infrastructure.

About CDM Smith

CDM Smith provides lasting and integrated solutions in water, environment, transportation, energy and facilities to public and private clients worldwide. As a full-service consulting, engineering, construction, and operations firm, we deliver exceptional client service, quality results and enduring value across the entire project life cycle. Visit us at

About Placer County Public Works

The Placer County Department of Public Works provides a wide range of public services outside of city limits such as: Road Maintenance, Bus Service/Transit, Floodplain Management, Stormwater Quality, Public Works Engineering and Maintenance of County Vehicles. For more information, visit at:

About ISI Envision™

Envision™ is the product of a joint collaboration between ISI, which was founded by three national engineering associations: American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC), and American Public Works Association (APWA), and the Zofnass Program for Sustainable Infrastructure at Harvard University Graduate School of Design. Information on all of ISI and Envision™ can be found on the ISI website,


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