Chelsea Creek Nature Trail


Maximizing Ecosystem Services

In collaboration with Landing Studio, Offshoots provided horticultural design for a new waterfront park to help restore the ecological integrity and phytoremediation planting design services this formally industrial, disturbed landscape. The existing site was once the site of petroleum storage tanks, which had developed into acres of spontaneous urban vegetation. After the petroleum storage tanks were removed from the site a decade ago, and a successional landscape of native and non-native plants emerged. Offshoots provided a vegetative management analysis, a planting plan, and maintenance plan to help guide the succession of the site’s plant communities on site, improve the soil and water quality utilizing phytoremediation (plant-based pollution clean-up), and enhance habitat for native fauna. By helping to restore the site’s vegetative ecological integrity, the site’s ecosystem services are maximized.

The new nature trail will wrap along the estuarine riparian shore of the Chelsea River, a salt-impacted, flood prone landscape. The plant palette for 295 Eastern Avenue consists of eight unique plant communities each utilizing native plants selected for their tolerance to MA coastal conditions and likely future floods. The vegetation defines a series of low-maintenance spaces that will mimic restoration style planting by including a variety of plant species and sizes to provide habitat value and biodiversity. The intention behind this approach was to increase the odds of long-term success at a site likely to see coastal flooding events. The plant communities included a rain garden buffer, a bioretention system, woody plant grove, meadows, parking lot screening, and entry gardens. The plant communities were designed with consideration of wildlife habitat, phytoremediation potential, seasonal interest, ecological succession, pollinator value, stormwater management, natural fertilization, and the site’s microclimates.

Climate Resiliency, Green Infrastructure, Parks, Phytoremediation, Public

Chelsea, MA

2022 (Ongoing)

Graphics: Landing Studio (