Posted in ECOLOGY, ENVIRONMENT, LAM MAGAZINE, tagged A Sand County Almanac, Aldo Leopold, Cambrian Period, carcinogenic, energy, EPA, FDA, frac sand, Fracking, Frank Lloyd Wright, glass, industry, Karner Blue butterfly, knapweed, Laurentide Ice Sheet, mining, Philip Walsh, quartz, sand, Wisconsin, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Wisconsin Industrial Sand Association, Wonewoc Formation on March 23, 2015 |
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BY PHILIP WALSH
A new cash crop is shifting the contours of Wisconsin’s countryside.
Two saucers full of sand sit on my desk. One contains a heathery mix of grains that I scooped up from L Street Beach in South Boston. It’s a blend of dark, light, and medium stone, mostly quartz weathered from the granite mountains of New Hampshire. Viewed at a distance it’s just gray. The coastal sands of southern New England were originally washed down by glacial floodwaters when the Laurentide Ice Sheet began to retreat about 20,000 years ago. Sand is dynamic, particularly when acted upon by the ocean. And indeed, the effect of water on stone is the very genesis of sand. The action of millennia of waves and currents reshapes the grains themselves. This sand is “semiangular”: The grains are irregular and somewhat sharp edged, although the occasional near sphere of transparent quartz does crop up now and again, as I peer at it through a 10x loupe. It is very young sand.
The second dish of sand is quite another matter. It’s an even golden color, reminiscent of straw or lightly done toast. The grains are on the whole much finer than the beach sand, and even without magnification they have a remarkable consistency, almost a silky quality. Under the loupe the grains are almost all rounded, most nearly spherical. The saucer also holds several large lumps of aggregated sand, still damp when I collected them at a mine operated by Fairmount Santrol at Menomonie, Wisconsin. This is sandstone from the Wonewoc Formation, and the mine was originally prospected by a nearby glassmaking company. Some of the sand from this site still ends up as windows. When I gathered these lumps of sand at the quarry, still moist, the stone had the consistency of halvah and readily crumbled into a heap of the distinctive, fine golden grains. Now that the sample has dried it behaves more like the sandstone it is. The Wonewoc sandstone dates to the early Cambrian Period, about 500 million years ago. It was smoothed into its typical roundness and sorted into beds by the actions of shallow seas that lapped the shores of supercontinents that predate even Pangaea, the breakup of which continues to shape our globe. This sand is so old that the tides that refined it were governed by a shorter day and a year 400 days long. It is unthinkably ancient.
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Posted in CLIMATE, ECOLOGY, LAM MAGAZINE, VIEWS, tagged Conservation Letters, Douglas Fir, Forest Ecology and Management, Franklinia alatamaha, ginkgo, Kevan Williams, Ponderosa Pine, Torreya Guardians, Torreya taxifolia on September 16, 2014 |
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BY KEVAN WILLIAMS
A torreya sapling growing in North Carolina and a photograph of its parent tree.
For more than 200 years, naturalists and plant enthusiasts have come to the woods along the Altamaha River in south Georgia, searching for a horticultural holy grail: a wild Franklinia alatamaha, William Bartram’s “lost camellia.” First discovered by the famed naturalists John and William Bartram in 1765 at a single site near Darien, Georgia, and seen only a handful of times since, a wild specimen of the plant was last conclusively identified in 1803. Franklinia is considered extinct in the wild, and the species has survived only in propagation: All living plants are descendants of seeds collected by the Bartrams and grown in their Pennsylvania garden. But many aficionados have continued the search for a surviving wild plant, ignoring the seeming finality of extinction. I’m wandering through woods repeating the exercise in the Altamaha Wildlife Management Area, but the Franklinia I’m seeking aren’t wild, as such. They’re an outplanting of two dozen nursery-grown plants, attempted by the staff of the Nature Conservancy to see whether Franklinia could still survive in Georgia.
My guides are Alison McGee, the Southeast Georgia conservation manager for the Nature Conservancy, and her husband, Rob Sutter, a conservation ecologist, who lead me down a dusty dirt road to the conservancy’s experiment site. We park near a campground frequented by hog hunters and venture off into the woods, clad in orange. For a couple of hours we wander through a maze of saw palms, searching without success. All the signs seem to be there. There are tattered strands of survey tape hanging from a few of the trees, and machete wounds mark others, but there are no Franklinia. The planting should have had a marker—“That’s the way we usually find rare species these days,” Sutter says—but we can’t find it. Was it kicked over, hidden under the saw palms, or are we looking in the wrong spot? McGee takes home two hog skulls as a consolation prize, signs of one migrant species that seems to be doing well here.
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Posted in BIRDS, BOOKS, CITIES, ECOLOGY, GARDENS, GOODS, HISTORY, INTERVIEW, LAM MAGAZINE, LAND MATTERS, NOW, NURSERY, PARKS, RESEARCH, RESIDENTIAL, RESILIENCE, SPECIES, THE BACK, tagged assisted migration, Award of Excellence, Bill Marken, design, drought, LaGuardia, memorial, Mexico City, Norman Jaffe, puffins, Rails to Trails, rattan, sudden oak death, Weeksville Heritage Center on September 2, 2014 |
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Drought is said to be too many nice days in a row. Well, in California, three years of nice days has curdled into sheer dread. In the Features section of our September issue, Bill Marken, a frequent LAM contributor and a former editor of Sunset, takes a road trip through California to witness the effects of the drought, which is crippling in certain places and seemingly not such a big deal in others, and to comment on the efforts, or lack thereof, to help soften the drought’s blows. In Mexico, a memorial to victims of the drug war struggles to honor the local impact of this complex, global tragedy. When the ever-encroaching tides threatened an iconic Norman Jaffe house in the Hamptons, LaGuardia Design Landscape Architects pulled it back from the brink and garnered an ASLA Award of Excellence in Residential Design. The landscape historian Thaisa Way takes Michael Van Valkenburgh’s words to heart when she looks at Chicago’s Lurie Garden, by Gustafson Guthrie Nichol with Piet Oudolf, 10 years after it opened beside Lake Michigan.
Also in this issue: The new landscape design for the Weeksville Heritage Center unearths the site’s past as a freedmen’s settlement; the ongoing efforts to contain sudden oak death’s spread (efforts which, it turns out, may be helped by the California drought); ecologists on the cutting edge of assisted migration who argue that it’s the only way to save the trees; and a brief history of pushback on Rails to Trails conversions. All this plus the regular goodies in Species, Goods, Books, and Now. The full table of contents for September can be read here.
As always, you can buy this issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine at more than 200 bookstores, including many university stores and independents, as well as at Barnes & Noble. You can also buy single digital issues for only $5.25 at Zinio or order single copies of the print issue from ASLA. Annual subscriptions for LAM are a thrifty $59 for print and $44.25 for digital. Our subscription page has more information on subscription options.
Keep an eye out here on the blog, on the LAM Facebook page, and on our Twitter feed (@landarchmag), as we’ll be ungating some September pieces as the month rolls out.
Credits: The Lurie Garden, The Lurie Garden; Assisted Migration, Torreya Guardians; Weeksville Heritage Center, Nic Lehoux Architectural Photography for Caples Jefferson Architects; Sudden Oak Death, Yana Valachovic, UC Cooperative Extension; Memorial to the Victims of Violence in Mexico, Sandra Pereznieto; LaGuardia Associates Perlbinder House, Erika Shank; San Luis Reservoir, Peter Bennett/Green Stock Photos.
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Posted in ECOLOGY, ENVIRONMENT, HABITAT, LAM MAGAZINE, NOW, SHORELINE, WILDLIFE, tagged Elliott Bay Seawall, James Corner Field Operations, revitalization, Salmon, Seattle on July 10, 2014 |
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BY KATHARINE LOGAN
New design for Seattle’s Elliott Bay Seawall will include habitat for young salmon and a glass-floored promenade to allow light into the ocean.
Before Seattle grew up on its shores, Elliott Bay was a bluff-backed beach, with intertidal marshes and mudflats providing a complex and varied habitat for birds, fish, and marine invertebrates. Its sloping beaches offered salmon a safe passage through shallow waters, with plenty to eat along the way.
The growth of Seattle changed that. The developing city filled and leveled its waterfront behind a seawall built on densely spaced and creosote-blackened pilings. Deep, dark, and toxic, the urban shoreline repels migrating salmon out into the bay on a difficult journey where they become easy prey for other fish and marine mammals.
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Posted in CITIES, CLIMATE, ECOLOGY, ENVIRONMENT, INVASIVE SPECIES, LAM BLOG, MAINTENANCE, OCEANS, PRACTICE, REGULATIONS, SAN FRANCISCO, SHORELINE, WATER, tagged climate change, LAM Staff, Landscape architects, Queue, Staff Picks, Water on June 26, 2014 |
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A monthly roundup of the news, dispatches, and marginalia that caught our eye.
This month’s issue of the Queue delights in OLIN Studio’s new digital magazine, absorbs the inevitable wave of backflow on Rebuild by Design, and ponders the goat invasion of Long Island.
CATCHING UP WITH…
- Jan Ellen Spiegel explores the landscape architect Alexander Felson’s work along the Connecticut coast (“Sooner or Later at Seaside,” LAM, November 2013), expressing his eye for “opportunity” when working on everything from sea-level rise adaptations to rain gardens described as “designed experiments.”
- Something interesting is afoot at OLIN Studio (“A Cultural Homecoming,” LAM, January 2014), which has released the first issue of Reframe, a digital magazine with the focus on “exploring the complex and evolving issues facing our cities and environments.” With a focus on “Resiliency,” the first collection of features looks at climate change adaptation projects in California, New York, and the Midwest, as well as a roundtable with Henk Ovink, who has been running the Rebuild by Design initiative for the federal government.
- Kevan Williams’s article on preserving folk art landscapes picked up a bit of traction when we published it back in December 2013, but we missed the Utne Reader’s hat tip in its piece on unconventional and underrepresented art spaces and SPACES (Saving and Preserving Arts and Cultural Environments), a group aimed at their preservation.
OUR WOBBLY WORLD
- Climate change comes to Norfolk, Virginia, a “sea-level-rise hot spot” along the Atlantic coast. The sea is rising, but the land is also sinking. Near an inlet, a church now puts the tide schedules on its website to let the congregation know whether they can get to services and, nearby, the Chrysler Museum of Art prepares for the worst behind a flood wall.
- There’s oil, and then there’s water. The New Scientist reports on the potentially devastating consequences on the water supply from the recent conflicts in Iraq. As control of the dams in Haditha, Mosul, Samarra, and Fallujah has fallen into the hands of Sunni insurgents, there are fears that they could weaponize the water supply by withholding water to Shiite cities and farms to the south, or let loose a catastrophic flood downstream that would wipe out Mosul and rise through Baghdad as well.
- Before there were horses, there were horseshoe crabs? Four hundred fifty million years ago, the ground 40 feet below downtown Lexington, Kentucky, was a wet, steamy place on the continent Laurentia in the southern hemisphere. A local geologist takes the columnist Tom Eblen of the Herald-Leader back, and down, in time.
- John King of the San Francisco Chronicle writes that while the city worries about its building heights, there should likewise be concern for adapting to a four-foot rise in water levels by 2100. “We need to be nimble as it expands,” he says.
- The Landscape Architecture Foundation debuted a new feature as part of its ongoing effort to publish research on landscape performance. The new searchable “Collections” site will consist of everything from case studies to scholarly works.
- Amid the excitement around the recent winners of the Rebuild by Design competition, questions are being raised about the Meadowlands project and the many regulations it must satisfy, habitat it could alter, and concerns about floodwaters displaced to nearby communities.
- The Cultural Landscape Foundation’s latest threatened landscape is Greynolds Park, in Miami-Dade County. Advocates filed a lawsuit against North Miami Beach’s city council’s decision to rezone an area next to the park for high-rise development, arguing that its construction would have a “devastating effect on the the park’s myriad scenic, cultural, and ecological values.”
DISTRACT ME FROM MY DEADLINE DEPT.
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Posted in BOOKS, CITIES, ECOLOGY, GARDENS, GOODS, HISTORIC LANDSCAPES, LAM MAGAZINE, SPECIES, TRANSPORTATION, tagged Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Darrel Morrison, New York Botanical Garden on June 5, 2014 |
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What is a public garden, and what is it for? The June issue of LAM looks at new works at the New York Botanical Garden and the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, prefaced by a conversation on the public garden’s evolving mission with the landscape architects Sheila Brady, FASLA; Darrel Morrison, FASLA; Annette Wilkus, FASLA; Scott Scarfone, ASLA; Gary Smith, FASLA; and the New York Botanical Garden’s vice president for horticulture and living collections, Todd Forrest.
The Foreground sections look at new research on luring the bees to underused parts of Houston, student debt loads for landscape architecture graduates, fetching new transit design in Buenos Aires, and an update on Lawrence Halprin’s neglected Heritage Park Plaza in Fort Worth, Texas. The Species column this month offers up wild pigs and birch syrup, Goods has gorgeous outdoor fixtures, and the Books section reviews a pair of new releases on green infrastructure.
You can read the full table of contents for June 2014 or pick up a free digital issue of the June LAM here and share it with your clients, colleagues, and friends. As always, you can buy this issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine at more than 200 bookstores, including many university stores and independents, as well as at Barnes & Noble. You can also buy single digital issues for only $5.25 at Zinio or order single copies of print issue from the ASLA. Annual subscriptions for LAM are a thrifty $59 for print and $44.25 for digital. Our subscription page has more information on subscription options as well as o
Keep an eye out here on the blog, on the LAM Facebook page, and our Twitter feed (@landarchmag), as we’ll be ungating some June pieces as the month rolls out.
Credits: Native Plant Garden: Ivo M. Vermeulen; Heritage Park Plaza: Elizabeth Meyer, Courtesy the Cultural Landscape Foundation; Native Flora Garden: Elizabeth Felicella; Species: Michelle Pearson; Laguna Gloria: Courtesy Reed Hilderbrand; Stone Mill: Elizabeth Felicella; Buenos Aires Transit: Cecilia Garros Cardo; Ethnobotanical: Francisco Gómez Sosa; Visitor Center: Aaron Booher, ASLA/HMWhite Site Architecture.
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Posted in AWARDS, CITIES, CLIMATE, COMPETITIONS, ECOLOGY, NEW YORK CITY, OCEANS, RESILIENCE, SANDY, SHORELINE, WATER on June 2, 2014 |
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Interboro Team. Courtesy Rebuild by Design.
In the Hurricane Sandy destruction zone today, there were long-awaited exhales to accompany the end of the yearlong competition phase of Rebuild by Design, the federal post-Sandy recovery project. Scores of designers learned which of 10 multidisciplinary teams, and which of the teams’ ideas, will receive federal funding to help make the New York and New Jersey metropolitan region better adapted to fend off huge storms and rising seas in the future.
The announcements of winners were made in two rounds by Shaun Donovan, the secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, who also has served as chair of the federal Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force. Donovan, who is set to leave HUD imminently to become the director of the Office of Management and Budget upon his confirmation by the Senate, announced the winning projects for New York this morning at a public event on the Lower East Side. This afternoon, Donovan announced the winning New Jersey projects in the borough of Little Ferry.
For projects in New York, the winning teams, their project sites, and funding amounts are:
- The BIG Team, for its project, the Big U, a flood-protection system designed to run 10 miles around the lower half of Manhattan. Funding: $335 million.
- The Interboro Team, for its project, Living with the Bay: A Comprehensive Regional Resiliency Plan for Nassau County’s South Shore. Funding: $125 million.
- The team led by SCAPE/Landscape Architecture, for its project, Living Breakwaters, a series of constructed reef habitats along the south shore of Staten Island at Tottenville to slow storm surges and regenerate coastal ecology. Funding: $60 million.
- The PennDesign/OLIN team, for its project, Hunts Point Lifelines, a series of flood-protection and infrastructure strategies to protect the one-square-mile Hunts Point peninsula of the Bronx, the hub of a $5 billion annual food industry serving New York City. Funding: $20 million.
MIT CAU + ZUS + URBANISTEN. Courtesy Rebuild by Design.
For projects in New Jersey, the winning teams, their project sites, and funding amounts are:
- The team led by OMA, for Resist, Delay, Store, Discharge: A Comprehensive Strategy for Hoboken, which looks at a variety of ways to handle flash flooding and storm surges in Hoboken as well as in Weehawken and Jersey City. Funding: $230 million.
- The team MIT CAU + ZUS + URBANISTEN for New Meadowlands: Productive City + Regional Park. Funding: $150 million.
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