November 27, 2018

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Geosyntec Staff Contributing to the 2018 Alabama Mississippi Bays and Bayous Symposium

Wade Burcham, P.E., LEED AP BD+C (Alabama) and David Vance, P.G. (Georgia) will present at the 2018 Alabama Mississippi Bays and Bayous Symposium at the Arthur R. Outlaw Convention Center in Mobile, Alabama on November 28 - 29, 2018.

Wade is a Principal Civil and Environmental Engineer based in Alabama with more than 21 years of professional experience focused on natural stream stabilization, water resources engineering, stormwater management, municipal engineering, and contract administration.

David is a Senior Scientist based in Georgia with more than 14 years of professional experience focused on the interdisciplinary application of river science (applied fluvial geomorphology) to geomorphic and physical process characterization, fate and transport of sediment, and design of solutions to restore or stabilize stream and river systems, especially in watersheds where natural flow regimes have been altered by urbanization, diversion, and/or damming.

The Bays and Bayous Symposium brings together a broad array of scientists, resource managers, policy makers, and business and industry interests from throughout the southeast region of the U.S. to promote information exchange and networking related to coastal issues that impact long-term sustainability. The goals of the symposium are to: provide a scientific overview and on the ground perspective of the state of our knowledge and activities addressing the water quality, living resources, habitat management, human impacts, and citizen stewardship challenges of the northern Gulf of Mexico; explore how the economy, ecosystem, community and culture each play a role in maintaining northern Gulf coast resilience; learn about what environmental factors put stress on local economies, ecosystems, heritage and culture, and communities; and inspire how to best balance environmental protection with human uses of our natural resources.

Geosyntec Participation

Title: A Vision for Sustainable Restoration of Salt Marsh in an Age of Rising Seas
Presenter: David Vance
Time: 1:45 p.m. - 02:00 p.m., November 28, 2018
Ecosystem services of salt marsh are well documented; they are dynamic, unique ecosystems, but not all salt marsh is created equal due in part to anthropogenic influences. At present this resource faces two significant challenges: wave erosion and sea level rise. Given uncertainties in published sea-level rise estimates and projections, the most optimistic projections leave us asking the question, "Will what I'm conserving or restoring be here in several decades?" For restoration practitioners, where we place our efforts for conserving, protecting and restoring salt marsh is a central question and should have a central foundation, a comprehensive salt marsh functional assessment. The backbone of this assessment is the use of a tidal fringe wetland hydrogeomorphic method (HGM). The HGM serves to quantify existing marsh function but it can also serve to estimate future restored marsh function (i.e., highest potential function) and as such can be a valuable tool in prioritizing the location of salt marsh restorations (i.e., best sites to restore for highest function) and conservation actions (e.g., oyster reef breakwaters to protect existing marsh systems). The HGM method for the Mississippi and Alabama Gulf Coast was successfully employed in the Savannah River Estuary in Georgia to site and restore over 2.4 acres of salt marsh since 2012. Despite the continued effects of wave erosion and sea level rise on our coastal systems, the HGM method for salt marsh continues to hold promise as a guide for salt marsh restoration and conservation efforts along the northern Gulf Coast estuaries.

Title: Economic Benefits of the Restoration of D'Olive Watershed
Presenter: Wade Burcham
Time: 4:15 p.m. - 4:30 p.m., November 28, 2018
Abstract: Mobile Bay National Estuary Program (MBNEP) has served as the project owner for sixteen different projects in the D'Olive Watershed. These projects were supported wholly or in part by MBNEP as part of a grant from National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund. MBNEP also leveraged the resources of other entities through their many partnerships and associations, who have also significantly contributed to the effort. The projects have stabilized degraded streams and implemented management measures to reduce riparian and downstream impacts, including stream bank erosion, and wetlands loss. Many barren areas are now teeming with life where there were little to none. The environmental benefits are apparent. However, other benefits such as infrastructure enhancements are not so obvious. The projects are providing improvements that not only increase infrastructure resiliency but also result in millions of dollars of avoided, decreased, or delayed cost. This presentation primarily seeks to tell the story of those sometimes obscure economic benefits beyond water quality and habitat creation and provide attendees with real-world cost data of how the projects provide a positive impact to their communities from a different viewpoint.

Title: Stabilization Alternatives – Another Choice to Consider
Presenter: Wade Burcham
Time: 09:30 a.m. - 09:45 a.m., November 29, 2018
Often times there are better design options to protect stream banks and shorelines than traditional hard measures. Ideally, we want to use Mother Nature as a template, and utilize design concepts that incorporate natural materials. However, projects occasionally present with situations such as schedule limitations (e.g. emergency repairs) or physical limitations (e.g. lack of space) that require the consideration of traditional measures. Designers must be able to rapidly sift through their toolbox of ideas to quickly determine the best solution. This presentation seeks to provide designers and planners with another tool to place in their toolbox; a tool that can meet many project limitations and is also regenerative. It can also be used to retrofit and enhance traditional designs and methods. This design tool is living walls. Living walls such as Filtrexx's GreenLoxx® products, applications, and resources will be presented, along with case studies that describe considerations for product selection, design, construction, and lessons learned. Examples of both Non-MSE and MSE living walls will be presented, as well as a summary of some quantitative environmental impacts.

More Information

Learn more about the event:
For consultation regarding gulf coast stabilization or restoration, contact Wade Burcham at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or David Vance at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
Learn more about Wade at:
Learn more about David at: