Envision Logo


The Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure (ISI) announced that the first Envision™ rating system project award went to the William Jack Hernandez Sport Fish Hatchery in Anchorage, Alaska.   The HDR-designed project received an Envision™ “Gold” award. The 141,000-square foot hatchery facility is the largest indoor sport fish hatchery in North America, and contains many sustainable features, including sophisticated recirculation technology that reduces by 95% the water and energy normally used by conventional hatcheries.


To view a video on the William Jack Hernandez Fish Hatchery, visit the HDR Fish Hatchery link at: http://www.hdrinc.com/about-hdr/sustainability/envision/first-ever-envision-project-award-william-jack-hernandez-sport-fis?utm_source=hdrinc-news&utm_medium=website-link&utm_campaign=wjh-award


The hatchery’s Gold-level Envision™ award represents significant achievements in sustainable infrastructure design. The project was assessed using the 60 Envision™ sustainability criteria in the categories of Quality of Life, Leadership, Resource Allocation, Natural World, and Climate and Risk.


The sustainability aspects of the Fish Hatchery that garnered high-level ratings included leaving the brownfield site cleaner than before, saving water and energy, keeping Ship Creek clean, and building public education into its design. Additional higher levels of achievement were concentrated in several Envision™ structure credit categories, including the following:


  • Leadership Category: Pursued by-product synergy: The project formed a partnership to transfer waste from the operations of the facility as input to another facility, and evaluated the potential to make use of warm water from a neighboring industry.


  • Leadership Category: Improved infrastructure integration: The project repurposed existing water and sewer infrastructure; created connections to existing bike trails and created a parallel bike trail through a park-like setting, while clarifying traffic flow and protecting the stream; restored and improved public park-like setting and viewing areas with trails, boardwalk, and educational signs.


  • Quality of Life: Improved the net quality of life of all communities affected by the project and mitigated community impacts. The project improved user accessibility, safety and wayfinding of the site and surrounding areas. It also enhanced public space including improvement of public parks, plazas, recreational facilities, or wildlife refuges to enhance community livability.


  • Resource Allocation: Reduced energy use: The project piloted and later implemented a full scale, highly efficient, recirculated aquaculture system that reduced the energy needed to heat the process water, ventilation, and building heating by approximately 88%, while significantly reducing operating costs and maintaining production goals.


  • Natural World: Preserved greenfields: The project included the environmental restoration of a former military brownfield and greyfield site, including the cleanup of contaminated soils.


  • Natural World: Reduced pesticide and fertilizer impacts: The project team designed the landscaping to incorporate native plant species suitable to the Alaskan climate, requiring no pesticides, herbicides or ongoing fertilizers.


The ISI/ HDR announcement marks a significant achievement for APWA’s own sustainability efforts.  Since its formation in 2008, APWA has been working to identify the best tools, practices and theories to make incorporating sustainability into public works projects second nature.  The collaboration with ISI, Zofnass Program for Sustainable Infrastructure at Harvard University Graduate School of Design and with our fellow association partners, ASCE and ACEC, is a keystone component of the APWA Center for Sustainability activities.   




Trees are the Key logo
In late 2010 the U.S. Forest Service and New York Restoration Project (NYRP) launched a national initiative entitled Vibrant Cities & Urban Forests: A National Call to Action to promote and improve urban forests and green infrastructure in our nation’s cities and municipalities.  As a result of the workshop, the Vibrant Cities Task Force crafted a vision, set of recommendations and action steps that can improve our cities over the next decade and beyond and released the Vibrant Cities & Urban Forests Report.

Bringing together the observations and recommendations of 25 experts across multiple disciplines, the Vibrant Cities Report presents a new framework for understanding the benefits of urban and community forestry.  Offering a cohesive and cogent statement for what urban and community forestry means to our cities, the Report establishes a vision, highlights emerging trends, and culminates with a series of recommendations that can be applied to urban areas across the U.S.

The vision of the Report is to “explore the implications of integrated natural and built urban environments and their possibilities for the future.”  Put another way, the aim of the Vibrant Cities Report is to show how urban and community forestry can be used to solve problems that face our cities, particularly in areas that are not immediately obvious.  Most notably, the Report calls out how the urban forest, working as green infrastructure by complementing the built environment to address issues such as stormwater runoff, functions as part of a larger urban ecosystem.  Taking another example, the benefits of trees also extend to the realm of public health through their ability to mitigate air pollution and extreme heat in cities.

By framing urban forestry as a solution to not only the environmental, but also the social, economic and public health issues that face cities, the Report empowers decision makers to unlock the myriad benefits offered by trees and green infrastructure.


In 2012 in an effort to keep the momentum going after the release of the Vibrant Cities Report, the Sustainable Urban Forestry Coalition (SUFC), of which APWA is a member, accepted a challenge by the Us Forest Service to catalyze action around the recommendations under the banner of Vibrant Communities: Trees Are the Key.

In 2013, SUFC unveiled an open-source Trees Are the Key communications platform and toolkit to bring its partners and allies together around a common purpose: to raise awareness about the Vibrant Cities recommendations and the critical role urban forests play in growing and maintaining healthy, resilient, equitable and vibrant communities. 


The new web-based toolkit includes a "how-to" guide -- to help spread the word about the Vibrant Cities recommendations and the benefits of trees to our communities. These tools, including web content, a self-guided Prezi presentation, an electronic brochure, presentation slides, issue-specific talking points, a sample proclamation, live-read radio PSAs, letters to the editor, and a model op-ed, are all open-source materials available for you and your organizations to adapt and use as you see fit.