Aquascape, Inc. was commissioned by the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago to construct a 3,000-gallon Pondless Waterfall adjacent to its outside dining terrace. The 80-foot waterfall and stream feature replicates a watershed and can be replenished with rainwater that runs off the terrace into a series of 50-gallon rain barrels.

Three dramatic, weathered limestone waterfalls flow into a 3,000-gallon underground reservoir constructed with 100 AquaBlox water matrixes. The 12-foot high self-sustaining water feature is situated on a slope angled toward Lake Michigan. The reservoir at the bottom of the waterfall and stream helps to capture some of the stormwater run-off that would otherwise flow into the lake. Two Tsurumi 9PL pumps push the stored water up and over the re-circulating waterfall, providing filtration, aeration and habitat, thereby improving water quality.

“This self-sustaining water feature provides a riparian zone, which is instrumental in water quality for surface run-off,” claims Ed Beaulieu, chief sustainability officer for Aquascape, Inc. “By incorporating the sub-surface reservoir, we’re able to better manage rainwater run-off and provide an aesthetic waterfall feature at the same time.”

Visitors to the Shedd Aquarium, as well as passers-by on the lakefront’s paved bike path can interact with the water feature. A bridge

 traverses the stream from the dining terrace to the grass beyond. Native plants soften the edges of the rocky feature and provide a landing spot for birds, butterflies, and bees.