Merrick’s Engineers Offer River Restoration Trainings for River Managers
Water engineers from the McLaughlin Whitewater Design Group (http://mclaughlinwhitewater.com), a division of Merrick & Company, will be teaching river managers, planners, and representatives of hydropower utilities answers to the question: If our town would like to design a river park for kayaker or surfers, where do we start? They will do so in a classroom workshop and field trip on the South Platte River during the upcoming Managing Rivers in Changing Climes: Training Future River Professionals April 14 – 18 based at the Renaissance Denver Hotel and produced by the River Management Society (RMS).
“We are honored to conduct this ‘how to’ workshop for river managers from across the country,” notes Ben Nielsen, Project Engineer and lead designer of River Run park, a large river restoration and recreation enhancement project on the South Platte River near Union Avenue. “To give it real context, we will follow the classroom session with a river trip that will surprise most participants, experiencing Denver by paddling the Class II-III rapids through neighborhoods and into town. Every Denver resident should get to know how fun it is, and how picturesque it is becoming!” Fellow McLaughlin engineer Brooke Seymour, Dave Bennetts from Urban Drainage and Flood Control District and symposium keynote Jeff Shoemaker, Executive Director, The Greenway Foundation, will speak at points along the way.
“Whitewater river engineering projects, referred to as ‘whitewater parks’ require a unique set of design construction experience,” notes Rick McLaughlin, Senior Project Engineer. “Most public works engineers or city council members have not had to judge design integrity or raise funds for structures built in rivers that must withstand hundred year floods and meet the performance needs of elite whitewater competitors, as do these projects.” Rick will speak to symposium attendees about the excellent safety record at Denver’s Confluence Park, whose design he led in the mid-1990s.
“This is the only conference this year where you can learn about water law and recreational liability, and Wild and Scenic River regulations,” notes Ken Ransford, an avid kayaker and attorney in Basalt who is the event chair. “Rivers run right through many downtowns and provide water we need to drink, wash, and grow crops: they’re often underused amenities that could provide employment and rejuvenated downtown cores. We are excited to share examples of how Denver is doing it right.”
The River Management Society (www.river-management.org) is a national non-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to supporting professionals who study, manage and protect North America’s Rivers. RMS maintains the only comprehensive resource for packing human waste out from rivers; a growing library of hydropower license summaries; and a Career Center featuring a live feed of river-related professional opportunities.
Merrick & Company (www.merrick.com), an engineering, architecture, design-build, surveying, planning, and geospatial solutions firm, serves domestic and international clients in the energy, national security, life sciences, and sustainable infrastructure markets. The employee-owned company maintains offices in the US, Canada, Mexico, and the United Kingdom.