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Olsson-designed cameras allow world visitation to Crystal Cove Park

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Sarah Ferdico, Communications

Rendering of observation kiosk; photo courtesy of PLaN ArchitectureWhether they’re filming the fish swimming by or capturing eagles in flight, cameras that Olsson designed will soon be recording all manner of wildlife in Crystal Cove Park, which is a 60-acre park located in the southwest corner of South Sioux City, Nebraska. The three cameras that Olsson designed will be the park’s cornerstone educational elements, streaming video over the Internet to schoolkids, city residents, and other interested parties across the world.

One camera will capture underwater fish and plant life images. A second camera will sit atop an Olsson-designed structure that overlooks the park’s wetlands, allowing views of more than 200 species of birds and wildlife. A third camera looks along the shore’s water and trees where birds and other animals are frequently seen.

“This project will allow residents who enjoy the outdoors the opportunity to be a part of the surroundings without impeding on the natural habitat of the wildlife and aquatic life that live there,” said Tami Bailey, grant administrator for the City of South Sioux City.

“We have a lot of birdwatchers, so it will give everyone an opportunity to view those things—even from the comfort of their homes, if they wish,” said Chad Kehrt, Olsson’s senior project engineer for the project.

Olsson researched several camera options for wildlife observation both above and below the water. The below-water camera proved especially challenging. For this, early considerations that were eventually deemed too costly included putting a camera in a sophisticated plastic tube or erecting shore walls with viewing windows. Eventually, Chad and his team determined that a specifically designed camera could work for all the city’s observation needs.

Chad and members of Olsson’s Structural and Public Infrastructure teams are finishing up the installation of the cameras, and Chad expects they’ll be live the first part of November. The cameras will be operational year-round, offering viewers unique perspectives of the park’s creatures.

This is the first time Olsson has designed cameras for these purposes. But Chad said Olsson’s camera design can be applied to other projects where viewing aquatic habitat or other wildlife is desired.

Tami and the city have been very appreciative of Chad’s and Olsson’s services.
“Olsson was the only firm willing to attempt to take on a project of this scope and magnitude,” Tami said. “[Olsson] understood the goals of what the city was seeking to accomplish by providing opportunities for residents to interact with nature in such a way that preserved the natural habitat. Chad is, and always continues to be, readily available to assist and help in any manner he can. He is one of Olsson's greatest assets, and his strengths and drive to keep forward progress is critical, even when at times there might be bumps in the road.”

Chad said the city has already begun discussing other ways to use the cameras, including placing video kiosks on the building that houses the camera equipment to allow park visitors to view the video images and learn more about the park’s plants and wildlife.

For more information on this project or for any other questions, please contact Chad at 402.494.3059 or ckehrt@olssonassociates.com.

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