Project Stream

Why restore Project Stream?

Move your mouse over the red targets to learn more about the ecological limitations at our site.

Restoration Goals
  • To improve the quality of water entering Upper Lake from the tributary stream.
  • To set the site on a trajectory toward dominance by native plant species.
  • To encourage site visitors and program participants to engage in the science, practice, and social dimensions of ecological restoration through education and outreach endeavors.

What's happening now?

Restoration work at Project Stream began on August 24th, 2015!

  • After completing the permitting process, the first step of the restoration is to remove invasive species like honeysuckle, Japanese knotweed, and oriental bittersweet. This plant material will be composted off site – the heat of the composting process will prevent any seeds from sprouting.

  • Extensive erosion controls have been put in place to protect the existing wetland. These include a silt fence and wall of straw bales that are anchored into the ground, so that even in a heavy rainstorm, no loose soil or sediment from the construction area will make its way into the protected wetland or stream.

  • Next, a team of excavators will come in to lower the elevation by removing soil at the new wetland construction site.
  • **This phase of the project is messy – which is why the erosion controls are so critical – it's important to know that no harm will come to the stream or the existing wetland during the construction phase, and that the entire process is overseen by the South Hadley Conservation Commission, as well as experts from the MHC REP and New England Environmental (NEE).

  • Once the surface elevations are amenable to wetland hydrology, we'll begin shaping a new plant community composed of native species. NEE will be sowing seed as well as planting larger plants throughout the site.

  • Finally, we'll be installing a public boardwalk and an outdoor classroom space that will allow MHC students and community members alike to engage with the wetland, conduct research and educational activities, and experience Project Stream up close.

  • Phase 1 Construction was completed and the site was re-opened to visitors in November 2015.

  • The REP will be continuing ongoing fundraising efforts to support Phase 2 of the Project Stream construction which would allow installation of a rain garden and step pools to control stormwater and runoff from the MHC athletic fields, as well as fund continuation of the boardwalk and educational elements throughout the site.

Why focus on one little stream?

Mount Holyoke is not unique in its water pollution issues.
Insights gleaned from research and restoration at the Project Stream site should be widely applicable.

Nutrient pollution is a problem of national scope.

  • 14,000 nutrient-related impairment listings in 49 states
  • 2.5 million acres of lakes and reservoirs
  • 80,000 miles of rivers and streams
  • And this is a known underestimate...
  • Over 47% of streams have medium-to-high levels of phosphorus and over 53% have medium-to-high levels of nitrogen
  • 78% of assessed continental U.S. coastal waters exhibit eutrophication, many with harmful algal blooms
  • Nutrient impacts reflect doubling of U.S. population over past 50 years (increased construction, wastewater, and food production)
  • In agricultural areas, more than one in five shallow, private wells contained nitrate at levels above the EPA drinking water standard

Project Partners

Amherst, MA

NEE is working with the Restoration Ecology Program to provide a full range of environmental consulting services for the Project Stream restoration, from on-site wetland and soil assessment and landscape architectural and ecological design services to invasive species management, permitting, and construction management/oversight. Registered Landscape Architect Andrew Bohne worked with the REP to design Project Stream, envisioning a meandering wetland with hummocks and hollows that engages students and visitors alike along an elevated boardwalk, with gathering space for an outdoor classroom. The plans created with NEE were essential to getting the wetland restoration project permitted, and NEE's continued involvement in the project is vital to meeting the project goals.

South Deerfield, MA

With an outstanding reputation for quality work in wetland areas, Scapes Builders is our excavation and construction crew. The Scapes team will be lowering the elevation of the floodplain to bring the stream back into connection with the surrounding wetland landscape–a key piece of the restoration. Scapes will also be building the pedestrian boardwalk that will allow visitors from MHC and the surrounding communities to experience the new wetland up close.

Boston & Northampton, MA

Clean Water Action unites diverse groups to protect our environment, health, economic well-being, and community quality of life, with key focuses on preventing water pollution and maintaining clean, safe, and affordable water. Clean Water Action helped make the Project Stream restoration possible through a generous grant.