Runway Extension, Wetland Tree Clearing, and Rare Turtle Mitigation and Permitting for the George D. Harlow Field Airport, Marshfield, Mass.

The Challenge:
Ecological constraints required seven environmental permits in order to provide vital improvements for an airport abutting the Massachusetts coastline. The runways were surrounded by wetlands and rivers, and supported various rare species. A Wetlands Restriction Order existed at the airport, impeding future development.

Our Solution:
Creative wetland and rare species mitigation packages, permitting activities, and a partnership with Mass. Audubon enabled GZA to convince regulators to grant permits. GZA proposed a telemetry program for the rare box turtles to document their preservation. We designed a restoration program for Bass Creek that involved removal of invasive species in order to restore hydrology and native vegetation to the system. This effort, along with the improvements to tide gates downstream, has proven to be a successful collaboration between the Town of Marshfield and the Mass. Office of Coastal Zone Management.

The Result:
The Wetlands Restriction Order was overturned, all permits were obtained, and the largest turtle telemetry project in the state was conducted. In addition, Audubon gained more protected open space, Bass Creek was restored, and the hard-to-obtain DEP wetlands variance and accepted mitigation packages allowed development to proceed as planned, expanding the airport and its facilities.