After more than a decade of planning and vigorous public debate, the $76-million Muddy River Flood Damage Reduction and Environmental Restoration project is now under way in metropolitan Boston’s historic Emerald Necklace parks and waterways.

The project broke ground in October 2012 and is scheduled for completion by 2015, says Mike Keegan, project manager for the New England Division of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The Corps will manage the project with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the city of Boston, and the town of Brookline serving as non-federal sponsors.

The project is a response to severe flooding in past years along and adjacent to the Muddy River as well as several tributary areas that rise quickly during rain storms.

Major components of the $30.9-million phase-one work include removal of undersized culverts to install two 24-ft by 10-ft precast- concrete arch culverts supported by 3-ft-dia and approximately 50-ft-long drilled shafts under existing roadways; construction of concrete headwalls and wing walls also supported by caissons and excavation to return the waterway to a natural state.

The town of Brookline and Commonwealth of Massachusetts have charged the Corps with finding solutions to both flooding and degraded aquatic habitat. “High sediment in the river has resulted in a low oxygen level in the river, causing many fish to die,” Keegan says.

Bob Johnson, senior project manager at Charter Environmental, Boston, says his team is currently installing erosion controls, tree clearing and establishing staging areas and lay downs at the Landmark Center, a private mixed-use complex. It will begin construction on the first culvert at the end of March.