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R.A. Smith National, Inc. Knowledge Blog

Protecting Class 1 Trout Streams in Wisconsin

by Eric Sturm 20. March 2017 12:03

Eric Sturm

Did you know that, according to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR), there are “5,289 miles of Class 1 trout streams in Wisconsin?” That’s a significant amount of trout stream waters that WDNR has classified as “high quality and having sufficient natural reproduction to sustain populations of wild trout, at or near carry capacity.”

While many Wisconsin trout streams have remained untouched, there are some streams that have been disturbed over the years for agricultural purposes and are now being restored. Because it is important to understand the original location of these streams before they can be reconstructed, WDNR works with a professional land surveyor such as R.A. Smith National to both identify the original location of the stream as well as stake the path for the reconstruction.

Scuppernog River

Our survey crews at R.A. Smith National recently provided construction staking and topographic surveying services to the WDNR for the reconstruction of 3,900 lineal feet of Bluff Creek Class 1 trout stream in Whitewater and previously provided the same services for 5,250 lineal feet of Scuppernong River Class 1 trout stream in Eagle.

Our survey crews identify where the stream was originally located (typically referencing historical photos), measure the existing elevation at each end of the section of stream to be reconstructed, collect topographic data every 50 feet along the stream’s path using GPS, and provide construction staking to identify exactly where the new stream should be constructed to most closely match the stream’s original location.

R.A. Smith National’s working partnership with the WDNR to restore Class 1 trout streams represents our organization’s commitment to the environment as a Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Green Tier company.

Map of Scuppernog River

In order to identify where Scuppernog River was once located, and in an effort to restore this important trout stream, our land surveyors collected topographic data and measured existing stream elevations.

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Ecology | Surveying

Diekfuss Publishes Three Articles in ASCE Journal of Structural Engineering

by Jessica Pairrett 11. October 2016 10:34

Joe Diekfuss, Ph.D., P.E.

R.A. Smith National structural engineer Joe Diekfuss, Ph.D., P.E., co-authored three articles recently published in the Journal of Structural Engineering, an American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) scholarly periodical. Each of the three articles detail recently completed research on reliability-based fatigue inspection and evaluation of sign support structures. The technical papers were co-authored by Dr. Christopher Foley, Marquette University Professor and Chair, Department of Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering.

“It is a great feeling to know the work I did at Marquette University will be disseminated via the Journal of Structural Engineering for the engineering community to use,” Diekfuss said of the rigorous review process.

Follow the links below to view more detailed information regarding this research effort and to access the recently published articles.

Diekfuss, J.A., and Foley, C.M. (2016). “Detail Categories for Reliability-Based Fatigue Evaluation of Mast-Arm Sign Support Structures." J. Struct. Eng., 04016044.

Diekfuss, J.A., and Foley, C.M. (2016). “Modeling Error Uncertainty Characterization for Reliability-Based Fatigue Assessment in Sign Support Structures.” J. Struct. Eng., 04016042.

Foley, C.M., and Diekfuss, J.A. (2016). “Reliability-Based Inspection Protocols for Mast-Arm Sign Support Structures.” J. Struct. Eng., 04016043.

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Structures

R.A. Smith National Attends, Sponsors Brookfield Showcase

by Justin Schueler 7. October 2016 08:17

The Wisconsin chapter of NAIOP, the Commercial Real Estate Development Association, held a municipal showcase featuring the City of Brookfield. It’s quite the exciting time in Brookfield because the city is growing. What better way to learn about current and future developments than by taking a tour? R.A. Smith National’s Justin Schueler, P.E., traffic engineer, and Steve Miazga, P.E., business development manager, participated in the event. R.A. Smith National was pleased to be a gold sponsor of the October 6, 2016, municipal showcase event.

Justin praised the event and shared the following:

The Municipal Showcase started at the Brookfield Embassy Suites by Hilton, where Steve Ponto, the mayor of Brookfield, provided an overview of the many active and planned construction projects in the city (many of which R.A. Smith National has been involved with, including Portillo’s and The Reserve at Brookfield apartments to name a couple), and then we took a bus tour of three sites:

1. Brookfield Square Mall: The general manager of the mall presented on active and proposed improvements, including a new Chick-fil-A restaurant replacing the Associated Bank and new restaurant/retail uses planned around the outside of the exiting Boston Store.  Chick-fil-A’s opening of the 124th Street location in Brookfield was its largest in company history, which factored into them considering the second site in Brookfield. 

2. The Corridor: A mixed-use development on the former Ruby Farms site. Retail development is planned to the north along Bluemound Road and is anchored by Dick’s Sporting Goods and is home of the first Wisconsin Portillo’s (which was the company’s third-largest opening in its history). Free samples of their world-famous chocolate cake shakes were provided. The Corridor has a flex area in the middle for hotel/medical/fitness/retail development. Three large office buildings or corporate headquarters are planned to the south along I-94. 

3. The Corners: A mixed-use retail/residential “lifestyle” development. It includes the first Wisconsin Von Maur department store, planned grocery, retail and 244 apartment units. Enough concrete was used on the site to build a 46-story high-rise building. The site features an outdoor shopping setting (similar to Bayshore Town Center in Glendale, Wis., but about one-half the size). 

The event ended with a cocktail happy hour with appetizers back at the Embassy Suites by Hilton.  The developments are expected to generate thousands of new jobs and further entrench Bluemound Road as a premier commercial corridor.

In the photo immediately below: Renderings and site maps of the city’s growth.
In the photo further below: Learning more about The Corridor.

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General | Land Development | Municipal

Regulation of the Invasive Species Takeover

by Theran Stautz 25. February 2016 13:14

Our native landscape is our home, the little world we live in, where we are born and where we play, where we grow up, and finally where we are… laid to eternal rest. It speaks of the distant past and carries our life in the tomorrow. To keep this pure and unadulterated is a sacred heritage and noble task of the highest cultural value. 
— Jens Jensen, landscape architect, 1860-1951

Theran Stautz, ecologist/project manager

Invasive species, both animal and vegetative, are becoming an increasingly large problem in the United States. Nationally, billions of dollars are spent every year by private landowners, municipalities, non-profits and state agencies to control the spread of these species.  In Wisconsin, the Department of Natural Resources alone spent approximately $11 million to control invasive species in 2013 (WDNR Invasive Species Report, 2013).

Two examples of recent invasive species issues are the attempts to prevent Asian carp from becoming established in the Upper Mississippi River and the Great Lakes, and the infestation of Phragmites on the south and west shores of Green Bay. Those of us who enjoy camping know firsthand how the State Park System rules have changed in the last several years in regard to firewood and the spread of the emerald ash borer.

Phragmites patch overtaking a stormwater basin.Phragmites patch overtaking a stormwater basin.

The Wisconsin Legislature established “the Invasive Species Rule” in 2009, making it “illegal to possess, transport, transfer or introduce certain invasive species in Wisconsin without a permit” (Wis. Adm. Code ch. NR 40). A list of regulated species can be found at the WDNR’s website.  Additionally, in 2013 the Wisconsin Invasive Species Council created a statewide strategic plan for 2013-2016, highlighting objectives and goals to guide stakeholders in the process of establishing invasive species control plans.

If you are interested in helping with these efforts, please contact your local Prairie Enthusiasts chapter or The Nature Conservancy for more information.  In addition, other local organizations such as Wild Ones, Pheasants Forever and State Parks “Friends” groups provide educational opportunities and other volunteer events.  You can also contact any one of our ecologists at R.A. Smith National.

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Ecology

The Prayer Gardens of St. Dominic

by Tom Mortensen 29. October 2015 11:46

 

Over the past 10 years, I have been involved
with the design and installation of the Prayer Gardens of St. Dominic, part of St. Dominic Catholic Parish in Brookfield, Wis. One of my daughter’s teachers at St. Dominic Catholic School approached me back in 2005 with the idea of creating a special place on the parish campus, and I saw this as a way to give back to the community of friends and families by sharing my talent and passion for landscape architecture in a positive, meaningful way.

The gardens are a very special place and projects such as this don’t come along too often in one’s career. 

The installation of the gardens spanned the past 10 years and was funded by generous donations from members of the parish community. A local studio owned by another parish member created sketches and designs of the various shrines throughout the gardens. The maintenance of the gardens is being donated by a landscape contractor who is also a parish member. Parish pastor Fr. David Reith was the guiding force that provided the ongoing leadership, involvement and support that made this project a reality.

Read more about the garden project in “Landscape Architect and Specifier News” (below) and on our firm’s website.

 Prayer Gardens of St. Dominic.pdf (405.24 kb)

 

 

 

 

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Landscape Architecture

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