Bark River Restoration
Delafield, Wis.
Award of Merit

Owner: City of Delafield
Lead Design Firm/Engineer/Environmental Permitting: Short Elliott Hendrickson Inc.
General Contractor: Drax Inc./Front Range Environmental
Landscape Architect: Dale Bunderson

For years an eroding, trash-strewn waterfront was an eyesore in Delafield. Now it’s an inviting community amenity. In addition to bundling separate planning and restoration needs into a single project to secure the necessary funding, the team worked closely with the city to gain public buy-in for the project, particularly the need to gain property easements and remove dozens of invasive trees. Shorelines were stabilized with a combination of attractive stone and more than 10,000 hand-planted native plants and grasses. 

The project area’s most obtrusive element—an exposed water pipe that feeds a nearby fish hatchery pond—was safely and securely buried using an open-trench method that involved temporarily damming the river flow for excavation and backfill. Along with improved aesthetics, water sports enthusiasts now enjoy expanded shoreline access. Other features include a central plaza/gathering space, an ADA accessible canoe/kayak launch, benches and swings and an enhanced downtown trail system.

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