Build America Award for Muddy River Restoration Project

The Muddy River Flood Risk Management and Environmental Restoration Project in Boston, Massachusetts, recently received the Associated General Contractors (AGC) of America’s Alliant Build America Award, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England District, said.

The 3.5 mile long Muddy River is a small waterway located in the Boston metropolitan area. Most of the 5.6 square mile watershed is located in the city of Boston and the town of Brookline, with a small portion located in the city of Newton.

As a result of multiple floods, Boston’s Parks and Recreation Department, working with the Boston Water and Sewer Commission, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the town of Brookline, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and non-profit community groups such as the Emerald Necklace Conservancy and Fenway Alliance developed a comprehensive master plan to identify and address issues affecting the Muddy River.

The Corps of Engineers was authorized to study the Muddy River by a series of legislative acts, and resulted in the 2003 Feasibility Study.

“The recommended plan from the Feasibility Study consisted of a combination of the 20-year flood risk management plan and extensive environmental dredging,” said Project Manager Jennifer Flanagan. 

Due to high unit costs of the proposed restoration, the decision was made not to support the Environmental Restoration element of the project in 2005.

According to Flanagan, the major features of the current federally approved plan include:

  • protection against a flood with a return frequency of 20 years to include channel improvements, removal of undersized culverts, installation of two new culverts, and daylighting two sections (about 700 linear feet) of the Muddy River;
  • dredging approximately 96,000 cubic yards of sediment from five areas in the Riverway, Leverett Pond, and in the Back Bay Fens (the material will be dewatered on site and disposed of in licensed upland landfills);
  • required removal of Phragmites from wetland and riparian areas affected by dredging for the flood risk management channel;
  • preservation and restoration of the historic park shoreline and vegetation in construction areas.

The project will be completed in two phases, with phase one already complete at a cost of $35.2 million.

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