The 2022 ACEC/Iowa Engineering Excellence Awards winning projects in the Special Projects Category:

Special Projects Grand Place Award (1st Place in Category)

Firm: Snyder & Associates
Client/Owner:  Linn County
Project: Wetland, Bridge, and Fish Pond in Wanatee Park

Snyder & Associates provided comprehensive design, planning, bidding, and construction observation services for this project. The project involved construction of several wetlands throughout Wanatee Park on behalf of Linn County Conservation. These wetlands are consistent with Linn County Conservation’s goal of promoting water quality, wildlife habitat, and floodplain storage throughout the county’s natural areas.

This project also involved construction of a pedestrian bridge over Wanatee Creek and stream restoration of the adjacent creek. Construction of the bridge included a paved trail, which created a more durable floodplain overflow that eased the county’s maintenance burden. The bridge provides a sustainable connection between the trail networks of Wanatee Park. In addition to the bridge project, approximately 100’ of stream restoration was performed with the goal of creating a sustainable channel transition through the bridge while enhancing the aesthetic features of Wanatee Creek and the surrounding prairie.

Finally, a fishable pond on the east end of the park was constructed as part of this project. Design of the pond incorporated a sediment forebay, topsoil respread, and native prairie planting to promote water quality in the pond. Several fishability features were included in the pond, including spawning beds, fishing jetty’s, multiple depth zones, and underwater fish habitat. A mowed grass trail that is connected to the existing trail network of Wanatee Park has been included by Linn County Conservation staff to promote accessibility to all parts of the pond. The pond will be stocked with fish supplied by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

These projects were designed to enhance Wanatee Park’s wildlife habitat, promote park aesthetics, and improve water quality in Wanatee Creek. These amenities will serve the approximately 225,000 residents of Linn County and a large number of visitors that come to Linn County to take advantage of its natural resources. The fish pond enhancement is visible to 23,000 cars daily on Highway 13 and serves as a new major focal point for Wanatee Park. Additionally, the wetland, bridge, and fish pond bid at 79%, 90%, and 59% of the engineer’s estimate and were built to be cost-effective but durable.

This award recognizes the accomplishments of Linn County Conservation and Snyder & Associates in creating a local amenity that is safe, visually appealing, and environmentally sustainable as an integral feature to the project’s success.


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