Tanyard Branch: demonstrating an interdisciplinary approach to the design phase of an urban stream restoration
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An interdisciplinary group of university students, faculty and staff participating in a summer design studio took on the challenge of designing a restoration proposal for Tanyard Branch, a severely degraded stream that flows through the University of Georgia (UGA) campus. The main problems targeted for restoration in this urban stream were channel erosion and instability, caused by a predominance of impervious surface in the watershed, and poor water quality (particularly fecal coliform contamination) that has prompted health concerns for students who monitor the stream. Data were collected pertaining to utilities, soils, hydrology, geomorphology, county stormwater plans, and the university master plan. A hydrologic model was used to predict water surface profiles for design storms and determine appropriate floodplain width for the design of a new channel. As a product of the studio, students presented two detailed design options for a highly impacted reach of the stream in the middle of campus with conceptual designs for the larger stream network. The detailed designs show two options for this reach of stream: one with a formalized riparian zone including a designated walk to be used in pre-game football ceremonies, and one option with a less formalized park atmosphere surrounding the stream. In the subsequent academic year, classes concerned with ecological and hydrological monitoring, as well as stormwater modeling, landscape management and urban design are continuing work on this stream restoration.