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The Missouri Avenue / Spring Lake Park Sewer Separation Project received a 2017 Engineering Excellence Honor Award from the American Council of Engineering Companies of Nebraska (ACEC/Nebraska). The project was submitted on the behalf of the City of Omaha by Kirkham Michael. The project is part of Omaha’s CSO Elimination Program.

Big Muddy Workshop, Inc. served as a green infrastructure design subconsultant to Kirkham Michael. Big Muddy led a “Green Team” of landscape architects, water resources engineers and an environmental scientist in evaluating and designing the green infrastructure features.

The project includes a broad range of green infrastructure features within Spring Lake Park that clean stormwater, enhance the park’s biodiversity, expand recreational opportunities and restored the Park’s namesake historic pond. The green infrastructure features have a construction value of $4 million.

The green infrastructure features include water-quality basins, vegetated waterways, an infiltration trench, a created wetland, a bioretention garden, restored stream segments, and the wet pond. The new pond serves an urban fishery, with an ADA compliant trail encircling the pond, that includes accessible fishing “hard points”. Green infrastructure features protect the pond’s water quality. Fish habitat improvements were incorporated into the pond. A small picnic area overlooks the pond.

Big Muddy facilitated public meetings and stakeholder discussions to engage residents, community leaders, environmentalists and others interested in the project’s design. South Omaha residents have embraced the completed project, and park use has increased significantly.


Katie’s submittal to the 2016 National Grant Competition for Emerging Professionals in Landscape Architecture was selected for an award. She is receiving a $2,000 grant to fund her participation in the 2016 ASLA Annual Meeting in New Orleans. You can learn more about Katie and her award winning answer at

Kene, a North Dakota State University graduate, joined the staff of Big Muddy as an Intern Landscape Architect. He serves as the Great Plains Chapter (GPC) Chair of ASLA’s Emerging Professionals. He recently participated ASLA’s fourth annual Diversity Summit in Washington DC. You can learn more about the Diversity Summit at

John Royster and Katie Blesener were members of the Omaha Sister Cities Association delegation on its visit to Siauliai, Lithuania in August. Omaha and Siauliai celebrated their 30-year relationship as sister cities. The trip included visiting a botanical gardens and folk art parks and gardens, which will be used as models for the Lithuanian folk art pathway through the woodlands, planned for Lauritzen Gardens, in Omaha. While in Vilinius Lithuania, John and Katie met with Landscape Architect Ramune Sanderson, of the landscape architecture firm of Terra Firma. We discussed similarities and differences in landscape architecture practices.


The 2nd Biennial Great Plains LID Research & Innovation Symposium, was held in Omaha Nebraska May 7 – 9, 2016. Part of the program was a design competition for professionals and students. The symposium was hosted by the University of Nebraska - Omaha Center for Urban Sustainability. Big Muddy Workshop was part of Team Green, which also included Felsburg, Holt & Ullevig, and Carollo, and entered their submittal in the Urban Watershed/Combined Sewer Overflow category. The competition requested solutions to a real problem in the Benson West neighborhood in Omaha, where combined sewer overflows are polluting Cole Creek.

Team Green proposed a tiered approach using a combination of new storm drain pipes and several Low Impact Design (LID) practices. It included strategies to educate home and business owners and encouraging to incorporate LID practices on their properties. The plan also included using LID improvements to spur community revitalization in the surrounding neighborhood.

Team Green was awarded first place, and received a $10,000 prize.

Learn more about the Great Plains LID Research & Innovation Symposium and design competition at: