Drainage and Habitat Restoration for Conservation Area

The Town of Lexington, Massachusetts boasts 26 town-owned conservation areas totaling over 1,300 acres. Willard’s Woods makes up 100 of these acres, containing three miles of trails, meadows, pine groves, and wetlands and providing an important habitat to plants and wildlife as well as a recreational space for residents and visitors.

Two streams run through the property, one of which has historically discharged from Willard’s Pond into a 260-ft long buried drainage culvert. When this stream’s drainage culvert began failing and water quality began to decline, the town undertook the project of restoring the stream to its original natural state. Rather than simply replacing the buried culvert, the town chose a more ecologically responsible approach, opting to daylight the stream instead.


The Willard’s Woods stream daylighting project was identified as a high priority project as part of a comprehensive, town-wide drainage assessment and planning effort. The town worked with consulting firm Woodard & Curran to assess the town’s drainage infrastructure and prioritize projects based upon a cohesive, proactive stormwater management strategy. Moving forward with the Willard’s Woods’s stream daylighting project was important to the town due to the project’s capacity to improve stream quality, address deteriorated infrastructure, improve public safety, and protect wildlife habitat.

The project included daylighting over 260 feet of previously buried stream channel, installing a new headwall, implementing natural stream channel design principles, and installing a rock vane that provided for streambank stabilization. Our team constructed the rock vanes in a way that pulls water away from streambanks, which prevents erosion and helps form scour pools that encourage healthy aquatic habitats. The project also included constructing a new pedestrian bridge to replace an existing stream crossing, providing aesthetic improvements and continued access to the full trail network for visitors.

Town of Lexington

Lexington, MA



Zach Henderson

Areas of Focus

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