The Massachusetts Division of Ecological Restoration, in consultation with the Hoosic River Revival and the City of North Adams, has chosen the nationally recognized river restoration firm of Inter-Fluve, Inc. to lead a team developing an overarching design plan for the Hoosic River Revival’s pilot restoration project on the South Branch in North Adams. With funding from the MA Energy and Environmental Bond, this phase of the project will be managed by the Massachusetts Division of Ecological Restoration, which considers the River Revival an Urban River Priority Project. The goal of the project will be to redesign the existing engineered channel to improve access, habitat, river health and aesthetics while still maintaining flood protection. This multi-functional final design requires exceptional experience and unique skills.

With over 40 engineers and scientists in offices from Massachusetts to Oregon, Inter-Fluve met the high standards required of this project. Inter-Fluve is a recognized leader in river and wetland restoration with more than 30 years of experience and many awards from such organizations as the American Society of Military Engineers and National Association of Environmental Professionals. Inter-Fluve’s goal with this project is to ensure 21st century flood protection standards, restore the health of the river, identify opportunities for riverfront redevelopment, and improve the quality of life in the city, just as they have done in Fitchburg, MA, San Antonio, TX, and other cities across the country. Jonathon Kusa will serve as the Principal-in-Charge for this project.

Given the multi-faceted nature of this project, Inter-Fluve has partnered with Sasaki Associates, a national leader in urban planning and landscape architecture. Headquartered in Watertown, Massachusetts, Sasaki has designed waterfront projects locally, nationally, and globally, earning over 500 design awards for such waterfront projects at those in Cincinnati, Cleveland, and Hartford. With Mark Dawson as the principal landscape architect/planner for the River Revival project, Sasaki’s focus will be to create a unique, dynamic, sustainable riverfront design that reflects the city’s history, creates a more engaging amenity for the local community and strengthens North Adam’s role as a landmark cultural and civic destination.

In addition to Sasaki, Inter-Fluve will be joined by HR&A, which developed the downtown plan for the North Adams Partnership, and the western-Massachusetts firms of Tighe & Bond, Holmberg & Howe, and Stockman Associates. HR&A will help with an economic analysis of the project’s impact on the city.

Judith Grinnell, President of the Hoosic River Revival, expressed enthusiastic support for this team of experts: ‘How fortunate we are to have such a strong combination of professionals bringing their talents to North Adams, especially Inter-Fluve and Sasaki, two nationally recognized firms. We look forward to working with them all on this exciting, transformative project for the city.’

The objective of the River Naturalization Project is to have improved water quality, increased accessibility, an aesthetically pleasing river corridor, enhanced riverfront community connectivity, and recreational opportunities, while still protecting the city from flooding. At more than sixty years old, the concrete panels of the North Adams flood chutes are aged and weakened; in order to maintain the current level of flood management, they need significant rehabilitation.

To create a river restoration plan that fulfills all those requirements, and to develop a ‘river city’ that is competitive in the twenty-first century, the Inter-Fluve/Sasaki team will develop ‘sound and permittable design concepts’ that will do the following:

* Celebrate a Healthy, Accessible River
* Improve Connectivity to the River
* Reinforce North Adams as a Destination
* Encourage Development beyond the Pilot Project

The Inter-Fluve/Sasaki team will build upon other planning efforts, including the North Adams Vision 2030 comprehensive plan, the Sustainable Berkshires regional plan, and recent studies focused on enhancing walking, bicycling, and local gateways.

Mayor Alcombright too expressed support for this team: ‘I am pleased to learn of their comprehensive vision for the river, and to see that they acknowledge that its restoration should serve as both a modern flood control system and an economic development catalyst.’

The Hoosic River Revival is a non-profit organization with monthly meetings open to the public the second Monday of every month at 9 am in the City Hall Conference Room. Further information is available on the website or you may telephone the office at 413.212.2996. There will be notices of future community comment meetings in local papers, social media outlets, and on the River Revival website.