When the city of St. Paul learned that the Ford Motor Company would be shutting down its 135-acre manufacturing plant, they started planning the Highland Bridge development at the site—a sustainable, low-impact, mixed-use community. Because Highland Bridge is on the Mississippi River bluff, the development needed to include innovative stormwater management to meet the city’s vision for sustainability.
Hired in 2007, Barr worked with the city and then with Capitol Region Watershed District to develop a sustainable stormwater management plan for the entire 122-acre development. Emphasizing connected green stormwater infrastructure, the plan was ultimately adopted into the city’s master plan for the site. Ryan Companies later purchased the property, embraced the concept, and hired Barr to complete the final design and assist with construction administration.
Emphasizing connected green stormwater infrastructure . . .
A district-wide stormwater management approach collects and treats runoff where it makes sense, regardless of property boundaries and ownership. This allows for greater flexibility in the development, and by consolidating treatment, reduces construction and operational costs—which in turn yields more space for habitat and public use.
Completed in 2021, the stormwater management system includes dry filtration basins planted with native plants and open-water features, including a nearly half-mile-long recreational pond. By daylighting Hidden Falls Creek, buried in a pipe almost 100 years ago, the project reduces intense water flows to the falls itself by 98% in a two-year event, helping to restore the falls and creek. The system also reduces total suspended solids by more than 90% and phosphorus by over 70%.
Contact us to learn more about Barr’s district stormwater management, planning, and design services.
About the author
Nathan Campeau, Vice President, Senior Water Resources Engineer, has nearly two decades of experience in hydrologic and hydraulic analysis, flood risk management, green infrastructure, and GIS. A certified floodplain manager, he works closely with watershed districts and cities on projects involving stormwater management, flood analysis and mitigation, and low-impact site design. Nathan has led the development of tens of thousands of acres of detailed stormwater models for communities throughout Minnesota.