Merit Award Winner

Project Name:  Bee Branch Creek Restoration 
Location:  Dubuque, Iowa
Design Team:  Saiki Design

The Bee Branch Watershed encompasses historic neighborhoods where over 50 percent of Dubuque residents live or work.  From 1999-2011, six Presidential Disaster Declarations were issued for this region due to flash flooding, resulting in damages estimated at $69.8 million.

The multi-phase Bee Branch Creek Restoration project transformed nearly 1-mile of an underground storm sewer into a creek and adjacent floodplain that is reminiscent of the one that traversed the area nearly a century ago. 

This creative stormwater management solution allows large volumes of stormwater to move safely through the area, while protecting over 1300 homes and businesses from flooding. The daylighted creek simultaneously forms a picturesque linear park. Park amenities include a multi-use trail, an amphitheater, scenic overlooks, play spaces for children, educational signage, rest areas, a community orchard, stormwater management features and a floating island system. 

In 2008 the landscape architect team was part of a multidisciplinary consultant team selected to take this project from inception to completion, providing full service design, documentation, and coordination.  While major portions of this project have been completed, the landscape architect team recently finished bid documents for the next phase to be constructed, the Railroad Crossing which will increase stormwater capacity and provide a pedestrian connection between Upper and Lower Bee Branch.

Construction of Lower Bee Branch was completed in 2011 and includes a large expanse of open water that wraps around a former industrial site which is intended to be privately developed as a retail center. Flood gates at either end of the creek allow water levels to fluctuate in response to storm events and in response to the Mississippi River elevation.  

Upper Bee Branch is nestled in a historic, mostly residential, neighborhood that contains some of the community’s most affordable workforce housing.  Construction completed in 2017 and includes a nearly 2000-foot long creek and adjacent flood plain. Community amenities line the creek, including a multi-use trail, scenic overlooks, play areas, an orchard, water features and an amphitheater.