Posted in ECOLOGY, ENVIRONMENT, EPA, HABITAT, LAM MAGAZINE, WATER, WILDLIFE, tagged Allegra Bukojemsky, Andrew Bohne, ASLA, Back Bay Fens, biomes, birds, Boston, carbon sink, Clean Water Act of 1972, Conrad Welzel, conservation commissions, Department of the Interior, diversity, Ducks Unlimited, Fish and Wildlife Service, Frederick Law Olmsted, Holly Dolliver, hydric soil, hydrology, hydrophilic, invasive, Jessica Wilkinson, land trusts, Lisa Cowan, loosestrife, lythrum, Marla Stelk, marshes, Massachusetts, mitigation, National Research COuncil, Nature Conservancy, New England, Philip Walsh, phragmites, Preservation, reclamation, redoximorphic, replacement, restoration, riparian, Ruth Ladd, Section 404, stormwater, swamps, Tim Dugan, US Army Corps of Engineers, vegetation, wetland, wildlife on August 25, 2015 |
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BY PHILIP WALSH
The compensatory mitigation mandate opens a dynamic arena for landscape architects.
The song of the red-winged blackbird, although instantly recognizable, is hard to put to words, as even Roger Tory Peterson, author of A Field Guide to the Birds, found. These syllables are his best efforts. The trilling, almost metallic-sounding warble evokes summertime, cattails, and the watery landscapes where Agelaius phoeniceus goes to breed.
But at this moment I’m not seeing cattails. I’m at the edge of a parking lot behind a pizza restaurant in a suburb north of Boston, looking at a large pit, about 10 feet deep, filled with Phragmites australis, the infamous invasive species that, along with purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria), is the scourge of wetlands in the Northeast, choking out cattails and other native species that provide food to the bird population. A few spindly red maples have colonized the embankment, along with some riverbank grape (Vitis riparia), Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia), and Rosa multiflora, a pretty though sprawling shrub introduced to America in 1866 to provide rootstock for hybrid roses and now classed as a pest in many states. Despite the red-winged blackbird’s bright song, this is a dismal place, especially in the fading afternoon sunlight, a bit of wasteland left behind by development, one of millions of similar places across the country.
This blighted spot, however, is a mandated compensatory wetland mitigation under (more…)
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Posted in BROWNFIELDS, CLOSE-UP, ECOLOGY, ECONOMICS, ENERGY, IDEAS, LAM BLOG, MINDS, OCEANS, POLLUTION, REGION, RESILIENCE, REUSE, RIVER RESTORATION, SHORELINE, SOIL, TRANSPORTATION, WATER, WILDLIFE, tagged Bay West, Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper, Catherine de Almeida, Chris Bennett, dredge landscapes, Dredge Research Collaborative, dredging, Duluth, Eli Sands, Great Lakes, Great Lakes Commission, Great Lakes Dredge and Dock, Great Lakes Water Wars, industrial landscape, landscape architect, Landscape Architecture, MAde Studio, Margaux Valenti, Marine Tech, Matthew Tucker, Minneapolis, Minnesota, Open Workshop, Peter Annin, Vandergoot Ezban Studio on July 28, 2015 |
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If you missed DredgeFestNYC and DredgeFest Louisiana (see “The Dredge Underground,” LAM, August 2014) then you haven’t experienced one of the most interesting landscape-focused gatherings around. Fortunately, another chance is just ahead at DredgeFest Great Lakes (DFGL) this August. DredgeFest draws a friendly and curious crowd across a wide spectrum of expertise to look critically at dredging and the land it winds up making—and there are many overlaps with contemporary landscape architecture practice.
This event (conference doesn’t really describe it) will focus on the Great Lakes region (aka the Third Coast in dredgespeak). It will include two days of talks and presentations from a range of designers and others who work in this industrial practice; a day of touring dredge sites around Duluth; and a weeklong workshop at the University of Minnesota’s School of Architecture and Department of Landscape Architecture that brings in a very intriguing international cohort of designers.
This third iteration of DredgeFest should be the best yet, with the now-signature mix of intense investigations and industrial monumentality with the speculative edge that has marked previous DredgeFests.
Landscape Architecture Magazine is a cosponsor of DFGL this year. We’re looking forward to inhaling the fascinating new research and meeting folks in Minnesota this August. Registration for one or all parts of DFGL is open now.
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Posted in ASLA, AWARDS, ECOLOGY, INTERVIEW, INVASIVE SPECIES, LAM MAGAZINE, NEW YORK CITY, PLANNING, REGULATIONS, UNIVERSITY, WILDLIFE, tagged 2013, American Veterans Disabled for Life, ASLA Professional Awards, crowds, Davey Resource Group, firms, Governors Island, Honor Awards, International Young Environmentalists Youth Summit, Ioannis Karamouzas, Lutsko Associates, Michael Cannell, OLIN, Sasaki Associates, tree canopy, unwanted, Urban Design & Landscape Architecture, West8, Woodside Residence on June 2, 2015 |
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June’s issue of LAM looks at the tough choices that landscape architecture firms, such as Sasaki Associates and OLIN, must face when updating for a new era; the rustic landscape of a house in Northern California by Lutsko Associates, a winner of a 2013 ASLA Professional Honor Award; and we visit New York City’s biggest secret, Governors Island, the first phase of which opened to the public last year with designs by West8 Urban Design & Landscape Architecture.
In departments, Michael Cannell interviews the computer scientist Ioannis Karamouzas about the anticipatory nature of people in crowds; New York State’s new “unwanted” list of invasive plants, fish, invertebrates, and vertebrates outright bans the use of some fan favorites; and Louisville’s tree canopy is disappearing by approximately 54,000 trees a year, according to a new report by the Davey Resource Group. All this plus our regular Now, Species, Goods, and Books columns. The full table of contents for June can be found 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 June articles as the month rolls out.
Credits: “Treasure Island,” © Iwan Baan; “The Shelter of Oaks,” Marion Brenner, Affiliate ASLA; “Crowd Computing,” Ioannis Karamouzas; “Don’t Bring It Here,” “Flowering Purple Loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria) Somewhere in Massachusetts, USA” by Liz West is licensed under CC by 2.0; “A Canopy in Crisis,” Courtesy Davey Resource Group.
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Posted in ECOLOGY, ENVIRONMENT, LAM MAGAZINE, PLANTS, WILDLIFE, tagged A Treatise on the Theory and Practice of Landscape Gardening, Andrew Jackson Downing, Applied Ecological Services, ASLA, Bringing Nature Home, Cardno Native Plant Nursery, Chicago, Christa Orum-Keller, Connor Shaw, Conservation Foundation, COnservation@Home, Cook County Forest Preserve, design, Douglas Tallamy, ecosystem, Geoff Deigan, Grace Koehler, Illinois, Jack Pizzo, Jim Kleinwachter, meadow, Midwest, Midwest Groundcovers, mix, National Wildlife Federation, native, parkland, Pizzo Group, Pizzo Native Plant Nursery, plants, Pollinator Meadow, pollinators, Possibility Place Nursery, seeds, supply chain, U.S. Forest Service, University of Delaware, WRD Envrionmental on May 26, 2015 |
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BY CAROL E. BECKER
Building the supply chain for native landscapes.
The oak is our national tree for a reason. Oaks are endemic to our native landscapes in all regions of the United States, easily identified by their leaf shape and gnarly branches. The size of the mature white oak (Quercus alba), spreading up to 120 feet, is one reason we associate oaks with strength, along with the density of the wood and an oak fire’s burning hot and long in the woodstove. Native oaks fall into two taxonomic groups, white and red, and their landscape uses vary depending on soil moisture. But most important today, as Douglas Tallamy, a professor of entomology and wildlife ecology at the University of Delaware, points out, oaks are the “quintessential wildlife plants.” They provide food to more than 500 species of caterpillars and other insects. In this fact lies the oaks’ value to the entire food chain, from the birds that eat insects to the humans who rest in the trees’ shade.
We need more oaks in our landscapes, mostly for the food benefits they provide. But instead of being sought-after plants, oaks are underused, undermarketed, undercultivated, and therefore in short supply. Landscape architects don’t often use them, clients don’t ask for them, and thus growers don’t grow them. A reverse scenario also holds true. Few nurseries grow Quercus species, particularly Q. macrocarpa, Q. muehlenbergii, and Q. alba, because they are hard to grow and suffer significant transplant death. So clients don’t see them and don’t ask for them and, in turn, landscape architects don’t specify them. Whatever the reason and wherever you start, it’s a circle of mutually reinforcing supply and demand.
The oaks are but one example of the larger problem for design professionals working to create sustainable landscapes with hardy plants in a given region. The interest in doing so—the imperative of doing so—is unequaled by the supply of appropriate species. This shortage also helps perpetuate clients’ expectations of plant specimens they do in fact see at the retail level, plants that are well-shaped, blooming, varied, and maybe even a bit exotic. The landscape architecture profession has taught them to value this aesthetic at least since the mid-19th century, when Andrew Jackson Downing codified ornamental landscaping in A Treatise on the Theory and Practice of Landscape Gardening. Now, we find ourselves in a world where, in just the past 40 years, half the songbird species in the United States and more than 90 percent of the monarch butterflies have disappeared. Honeybees and bumblebees have fallen to a mysterious virus, a cataclysmic problem that threatens the entire food chain. We do know how to reverse these trends and preserve biodiversity in landscapes, but we can’t get it done because clients still want constantly blooming and well-shaped plants with no bugs.
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Posted in CITIES, EDUCATION, ENVIRONMENT, GARDENS, LAM MAGAZINE, PARKS, PLAYGROUNDS, SCHOOLS, STUDENTS, WILDLIFE, tagged Arnold Arboretum, Boston, Boston Public Schools, Boston Schoolyard Funders Collaborative, Boston Schoolyard Initiative, Boston Society of Landscape Architects, BSLA, CBA Landscape Architects, honor award, Jane Roy Brown, Kaki Martin, Klopfer Martin Design Group, Kristin Metz, Landscape Architecture, Last Child in the Woods, Merit Award, nature-deficit disorder, Outdoor Classroom Design Guide, Peter Del Tredici, Richard Louv, Warner Larson Landscape Architects on May 12, 2015 |
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BY JANE ROY BROWN
How designers of Boston’s outdoor classrooms arrived at a “kit of parts” that really works.
“Ms. Thompson, what’s a log?” The question came from a kindergartener in a Boston elementary school in 2006, after his teacher (not her real name) read a story to the class about a possum hiding in a hollow log.
As shocking as the question may sound, teachers all over the country have fielded similar ones for years. By 2005, when Richard Louv’s Last Child in the Woods launched the term “nature-deficit disorder” into everyday use, generations of kids in some city neighborhoods had had no experience of woods, never mind logs.
Last Child in the Woods has sent all kinds of communities scrambling to offer some experience of nature to their children, and many of them have focused, logically enough, on schoolyards. As more landscape architects join the push to transform crumbling asphalt schoolyards into landscapes for play and learning, they might do worse than to take a page from the Boston Schoolyard Initiative (BSI).
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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 HABITAT, HISTORIC LANDSCAPES, HISTORY, PARKS, PEOPLE, PRACTICE, WILDLIFE, tagged Bainbridge Island, Bloedel Reserve, Richard Haag, Washington on June 17, 2014 |
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Rich Haag with a clump of Equisetum, one of his favorite plants. Photo: Daniel Jost.
On a recent tour of the Bloedel Reserve on Bainbridge Island, Washington, Richard Haag, FASLA, told a group of us, students from the University of Washington, two stories about the demise of the Garden of Planes. The garden was the first stop in the famous sequence of spaces that Haag designed at the reserve, and it was erased a few years after it was completed.
One story involves a fox. “A fox used to have a den there,” Haag explained as we passed by a giant stump that, ironically, Haag preserved for its habitat value. “And every morning, the fox would come out and leave his morning offering right on top of the gravel pyramid,” at the center of the Garden of Planes, he said. “That’s one of the reasons they got rid of it.”
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