The Wilds is North America’s largest conservation facility with over 10,000 acres. The 44-acre wetland restoration project rose to critical status in 2007 when the main beaver dam was abandoned, causing the lowlands to drain. The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency Surface Water Improvement Fund and the U.S. Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program supplied funding to permanently restore the water level of the lowlands, replant thousands of native wetlands species and build a trail system.
Although early designs outlined a weir made of concrete, the Wilds staff chose ShoreGuard® vinyl sheet piling due to its lower costs, sustainability, eco-friendliness and its aesthetic look. The Wilds were able to complete the restoration using environmentally conscious materials, setting the standard for other local conservation projects.
Shortly after installation, The Wilds experienced 18” of rain over the normal precipitation levels for the month. The 44-acre lake sent 200-acre ft of water rushing over the newly established weir. The Wilds project manager commented on the vinyl weir’s spectacular performance during the 100-year rain event saying, “It made believers out of non-believers.” Video of the weir was sent to surrounding counties spurring visits from conservation staff from across the state. Other conservation areas commented on the surprisingly natural look of the weir and are planning their own vinyl installations. The Wilds has installed ten other small vinyl sheet piling projects using the left-over material from the original project.
Design plans specified SG-525 and the AW-1075 cap. The two-man construction crew had never driven vinyl sheet piling before but had prior experience driving steel. They brought a mini-excavator to the site to decrease the disruption to the natural environment. SG-525 14 ft sheets were driven through the hard clay soil. This profile’s box profile is two feet wide, minimizing the number of driving episodes and seepage. CMI’s vinyl sheet piling I-Beam LockTM increases stiffness and driving ease. The AW-1075 cap was installed to provide additional strength and rigidity. The project manager is particularly impressed with how easy it is to transport and set the light-weight ShoreGuard® sheets. Projects since the completion of the weir have only required a two-man crew and minimal equipment.