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TEDESCO Environmental Learning Corridor

Located in Ames, IA

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Story County Conservation’s Tedesco Environmental Learning Corridor is a 38-acre greenbelt park located within the ISU Research Park in Ames, Iowa.  It is a unique community space showcasing conservation techniques and sustainable technologies.  The park brings several partners together to illustrate synergies between commercial development, quality of life improvements, and natural resource conservation.

Shive-Hattery led a project team that was selected to provide master planning, design, permitting, and construction oversight services for the development of the new park space.

A main component of the project was the restoration of 4,700 feet of stream and several acres of wetlands.  The existing stream channel had become degraded and incised over time, with tall, nearly-vertical banks severing the connection between the stream and its floodplain.  The existing stream corridor and much of the surrounding upland area had become overgrown with invasive vegetation. 

The Shive-Hattery team designed improvements to preserve and enhance ecosystem functions and services, improve public access, and create new opportunities for recreation and education while demonstrating innovative approaches to streambank stabilization. Floodplain wetlands were created by lowering streambanks to allow stream flow to access the floodplain during larger rain events.  Hydrologic and hydraulic models were created to analyze flows and guide restoration approaches.  The reconstructed stream includes nearly one mile of stream restored with a variety of bioengineered stabilization techniques that act as a demonstration site for the public, students, and design professionals.

A major goal of the project has been to encourage and promote access to and interaction with the water.  Story County Conservation understands that growing the public’s interest for improved water quality starts with connecting people to our water resources.  When people interact with water, it elevates the need for water quality awareness and improvements.  If people can develop a connection to the water in their communities, it helps build an overall sense of ownership and care about water quality.  This was accomplished through stair access to the stream, gathering areas at the streambank, a stepping stone water crossing, and an outdoor amphitheater/classroom overlooking one of the stormwater wetlands. 

The project also included trail connections and amenities for park users.  Approximately one mile of 10-foot wide paved trails were installed to provide connectivity between the City of Ames trail network and the ISU Research Park.  Other amenities such as overlooks, picnic tables with solar charging stations, wetland boardwalks and shade structures were incorporated into the park. 

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