American Society of Landscape Architects

  2004 ASLA Professional Awards

Research Award of Merit

Residential Impacts To Water Quality & Aquatic Habitat
Sally Schauman, FASLA, Adjunct Professor, Duke University, Durham, NC, and Professor Emeritus, University of Washington, Seattle, WA

Thorough and thoughtful study of backyards and their impact on the surrounding environment. . . Solid research effort with surprising results. . . Photos illustrate the impact well. Excellent project that will benefit and inform similar water quality studies nationwide. . . Clear presentation of hypothesis and research method. . . Conclusions are clear and provide important information to aquatic wildlife management.
           2004 Professional Awards Jury Comments

This research project was a part of the first large scale, multidisciplinary study of suburban impact on water quality and aquatic habitat in the Pacific Northwest. The study investigated landscapes familiar to landscape architects (suburban residential), identified the need to provide better ecological design in these landscapes, and addressed the challenges faced by the profession if it is to provide better water quality designs in ordinary backyard situations. The findings of this research apply specifically to the study landscapes, but they may be considered representative of conditions landscape architects would find in similar settings.


Typical mylar drawing done by a homeowner in Phase 2. This resident "created a special place" as a reason for landscaping this backyard over the past 15 years. (Photo: Sally Schauman)

Special place garden. The resident who created the previous plan (512-01) had great pride in this garden creation that evolved over the years. There was no mindfulness of the damage resulting from the 'taming' of the salmon creek and manicurist approach to the riparian area. (Photo: Sally Schauman)

Ecological care landscape. This resident has strong ecological values demonstrated by composting, the use of biological treatments for insects, and applying organic nutrients. These values to not translate to any evidence of ecological care for the creek in the backyard. (Photo: Sally Schauman)

Oblivious garden. This resident has mined groundwater from an adjacent creek to create this place—oblivious to its deleterious effect on surface flow essential to the salmonid's life cycle. (Photo: Sally Schauman)

Ecopathy. This devastated landscape is adjacent to a salmon-bearing stream. In an effort to create a playground in an unsuitable area, the homeowner has unwittingly released huge amounts of sediment-potential disaster to spawning areas. (Photo: Sally Schauman)

Nature communing. This resident created a contemplative spot along the creek, but left the buffer intact providing a good stream steward. (Photo: Sally Schauman)

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