Enhancing transportation project delivery through watershed characterization
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Enhancing Transportation Project Delivery Through Watershed Characterization. Richard Gersib Watershed Program Manager Washington State Department of Transportation. Robert Bailey wrote:.

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Enhancing Transportation Project Delivery Through Watershed Characterization

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Enhancing Transportation Project Delivery Through Watershed Characterization

Richard Gersib

Watershed Program Manager

Washington State Department of Transportation

Robert Bailey wrote:

“A spider web is analogous to an ecosystem. When the web is disturbed at one spot, other strands of the web are affected because of linkages.”


Source: Ecosystem Geography 1996 Springer-Verlag, New York

Increase Environmental Benefit

Reduce Cost

  • Assess project impacts (site)

  • Avoid/minimize impacts (site/landscape)

  • Assess condition of ecological processes (landscape)

  • Maximize benefits by identifying areas capable of matching #1 and #3 (landscape/site)

  • Target sites maximizing long-term environmental benefits (landscape)

  • Tell the story(site/landscape)

Mitigate project impacts, first and foremost

Focus on landscape recovery and ecosystem health

Target mitigation for maximum benefits

Target landscape, not artificial, storage and treatment

Engineered Flow Control

Example, stormwater detention pond

No benefits beyond water quality/quantity

Restoring Natural Control

Example: wetlands restoration

Many benefits beyond just water quality/quantity

Target mitigation where it’s most effective

<5% TIA


5-10% TIA

>20% TIA

Environmental Function


Rural Residential

Suburban Residential








Total Impervious Area (TIA, %)

At Landscape Scales,Focus on Ecological Processes


of Sediment


of Large Wood


of Water


of Nutrients, Bacteria,



of Heat

Characterize Condition of

Target Ecological Processes

Target Key Areas for Recovery

Translate landscape processes back to site functions

Translate site functions to landscape processes




Assess project impacts

type, area, function

Assess mitigation potential

type, area, function

I-405 North Renton Study Area

Establish Spatial Scales for Analysis and Mitigation

Interstate 405, North Renton

Establish Temporal Scales

2020 Buildout

Assess multiple temporal scales



CharacterizeCondition of Study Area

  • Water

  • Sediment

  • Pollutants

  • Wood

  • Heat

  • Aquatic Integrity

  • Upland Integrity

Develop Potential Wetland Restoration Site Database

Potential riparian area

Not a potential riparian area

Develop Potential Riparian Restoration Site Database

Develop Potential Floodplain Restoration Site Database

Potential floodplain mitigation area

Not a potential floodplain restoration area

Develop Potential Stormwater Retrofit Site Database

May Creek Site Locations

“We are confronted by insurmountable [email protected]://www.wsdot.wa.gov/environment/watershed/technical_report.htm

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