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Third Rock Consultants

Restoration Design


Restoration seeks to improve the condition of streams, wetlands, and other natural systems that are degraded, primarily due to human influence. Our collaborative team of experienced engineers, restoration designers, aquatic and terrestrial ecologists, and other environmental professionals makes us uniquely qualified to restore degraded streams and wetlands to systems with enhanced fish and wildlife habitat, increased stability, diverse riparian corridors, and improved water quality.  Restoration includes a broad range of measures to fast-forward the evolution of an ecosystem from an unstable state to a stable, high-functioning, ecologically active system. We recognize that an integrative strategy is essential for designing and implementing stable and sustainable stream and wetland restorations, and this approach has proven successful on our previous projects. 




A typical stream restoration project includes identification of the best site for a project, assessment of the existing impaired stream and its watershed, detailed design, including specification of an appropriate plan view, profile layout, in-stream structures, and site-specific, native vegetation, permitting and coordination with regulatory agencies, construction inspection during project implementation, and performance of post-construction monitoring to ensure project success. Third Rock's collective of diverse disciplines makes us uniquely qualified to handle each of these aspects of stream restoration and provide designs that evaluate hydrologic, hydraulic, and fluvial processes to balance physical stability and sediment transport with biological function and natural appearance. 


We are proud to be regarded as a leader in the field of stream and ecosystem restoration.  We have exceptional experience with each restoration task and have successfully completed stream restoration of over 20 miles of stream. Our projects are located throughout Kentucky and Tennessee, for clients such as the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources (KDFWR), the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT), the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC), the Louisville Metropolitan Sewer District (MSD), and the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government (LFUCG), as well as other municipalities in Kentucky and Tennessee.


Recently we were awarded a basin-wide stream restoration contract for the KDFWR, in-lieu fee (FILO) Big Sandy River service area. The two (2) year open-ended contract has an upset limit of $4,000,000.  KDFWR is responsible for identifying and implementing stream and wetland mitigation sites pursuant to Clean Water Act Section 404 as required and approved by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). In-lieu fee mitigation projects and activities are funded from the Kentucky Wetland and Stream Mitigation Fund (KRS 150.255) and require approval by the USACE in coordination with the Interagency Review Team (IRT) composed of the Kentucky Division of Water (KDOW), the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). Projects are typically at least 2,000 linear feet in length and include the restoration of physically degraded ephemeral, intermittent, and perennial streams and adjacent wetlands.  This is the second, consecutive FILO contract Third Rock has held, previously being awarded the contract for the Green River, Lower Cumberland, and JP Service areas in 2012.   




Third Rock is regarded as the leading firm in this region for providing a full spectrum of services related to wetlands. Our team of wetland scientists is exceptionally well-trained and experienced in all aspects of wetland delineation, restoration, and permitting. We have provided training in wetland delineation to various groups, including developers, KYTC employees, and representatives of other governmental agencies.


Hundreds of wetland delineations conducted in diverse settings and habitats have given us a unique understanding of wetland attributes and the expertise to accurately determine and map wetland boundaries. Identifying hydrophytic vegetation, determining the presence of hydric soils, and assessing indicators of wetland hydrology are essential skills for providing our clients with precise information necessary for their projects. When potential wetlands may be present, early involvement in the site development process enables us to facilitate project design by determining the precise location of wetlands and offering the guidance necessary for project decision–making. We develop cost-effective options for avoiding and minimizing impacts to jurisdictional wetlands, which is crucial for coordination with regulatory agencies, and we prepare complete documentation required for coordination. When wetland impacts are unavoidable and permits are required, we prepare permit applications for the USACE and state water permitting agencies and a preliminary Jurisdictional Determination for the USACE. Third Rock represents clients and guides them through the often challenging permitting process.


Projects that involve unavoidable impacts to jurisdictional wetland often require mitigation. We assess options to determine the most cost-effective form of mitigation, which is frequently in the form of wetland restoration. We are committed to providing our clients with the most economical wetland restoration solutions that fulfill permitting requirements and restore important wetland functions and values. Our wetland experts design restoration based on extensive experience, proven design methodologies and advanced training in restoration techniques. Our environmental professionals have spent many years observing and delineating wetlands, which gives us exceptional knowledge of the unique aquatic and terrestrial ecology of wetland systems. This understanding of how wetlands function is crucial to developing successful wetland restoration plans.


Third Rock integrates planning, design, implementation, monitoring, and management into wetland restoration projects. Our team of experts in ecology, hydrology, biology, engineering, and environmental planning analyze potential restoration sites to develop designs that establish wetland hydrology and sustain hydrophytic vegetation. Our restoration designs frequently include a combination of emergent, shrub, and forested wetlands to provide habitat diversity. Site-specific planting details are an important component of our restoration plans. A variety of native trees, shrubs, and herbaceous plants and seed mixes are selected specifically for each project, depending on the ecoregion and the hydrologic regimes within the site.


Third Rock also provides monitoring and management of wetland restorations that were designed and constructed by others. Our wetland scientists have monitored over 20 sites for KYTC alone during the past ten (10) years and have prepared and implemented remedial plans for several of these sites. As part of our remedial work, we have designed, constructed, planted, monitored, and managed wetland restorations involving hundreds of acres. In addition to planting trees, we have removed invasive species, constructed hydrologic enhancements, installed erosion control, and established groundwater monitoring systems.

Stream Restoration
Restored Stream
Fish Survey
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