Elkins Rotary Club hears about restoration company

The Inter-Mountain photo by Brooke Binns Ryan Gaujot, president of Green Rivers, offers a presentation to the Rotary Club of Elkins Monday during the club’s lunch meeting at the Elkins/Randolph County YMCA.

ELKINS — Members of the Rotary Club of Elkins heard from the president of an environmental consulting company that provides ecosystem restoration during their regular meeting Monday.

Green Rivers President Ryan Gaujot spoke to Rotarians about work completed by the company in the area of river restoration and more.

“Watershed, river, wetland and ecosystem restoration is kind of the backbone of our company,” Gaujot said. “My wife and I started our company in 2010. We basically started our company around river restoration — stream wetland restoration. … We have grown the company from river restoration to working in energy as well as mining and timber, and we have diversified into river landscape architecture as well as brownfields restoration, which is the restoration of old dilapidated buildings and contaminated underground storage tank areas.”

The company is made of a team of engineers and surveyors, hydrologists and biologists, as well as environmental scientists and technicians who lead water resource investigations and provide solutions for projects upstream, midstream and downstream.

During his presentation, Gaujot discussed a number of “traditional engineering” techniques used in restoration as well as new, innovative engineering methods.

Gaujot said when Green Rivers representatives work on restoration projects, they use native materials such as wood for natural bed forming — incorporating flood plains, riffles and pools.

“It doesn’t work with the berms or the dredging, you have to come in and rebuild the stuff,” he said. “We have to understand the hydraulics. … We have to start thinking differently. … What we do is natural bed forming, we come in there and rebuild the river with the riffle and the pool.”

Some traditional fixes include covering banks with concrete, dredging, straightening channels or lining the riverbank with tires.

“When we go in and say, ‘We have to clean this out and make it bigger and wider so it flows better and faster,’ but when we do this — what are we missing?” he asked. “What about the riffles and the pools — think of how much water is in the pools. … All sediment transfer happens in the riffles. We have to quit thinking about volume and look at places like the upper Shavers Fork.”

According to the company’s website, Green Rivers is a licensed excavation contractor that can provide specialty services in water, permitting, aquatic resource valuation and delineation, impact avoidance, mitigation, threatened and endangered species inventories, archaeological surveys, erosion and sediment control design and installation, native vegetation reestablishment, stream and wetland construction, riverfront landscape architecture, watershed restoration and ecological monitoring. More information can be found by visiting www.greenrivers.net.