Great Ecology is an ecological consulting firm focused on the restoration, planning, and design of both natural and urban environments through sustainable solutions. We integrate science with design to solve complex ecological challenges to achieve environmental, social, and business goals.
Great Ecology is collaborating with Ducks Unlimited to evaluate a 1100-acre tract of land near Hahnville, LA. The client is interested in better understanding the utility of the site’s natural areas for commercial and operational use. This work consists of desktop and field assessment of the property, including an understanding of site context (physical, biological, hydrological and socioeconomic condition); formation and verification of base maps (habitat type, dominant species, invasive species and hydrologic flows); and development of preliminary recommendations for ecological restoration. The next steps in this work will be analysis of restoration options for ecological and economic feasibility, and compliance with the client’s goals for sustainable site reuse
Great Ecology is working on the restoration of an overflow parking area to a viable salt marsh and upland habitat at the San Dieguito lagoon located in Del Mar, California. Our work includes acting as the Restoration Ecologist in charge of oversight for the installation, maintenance and monitoring of this highly degraded site. In addition, the project is located in direct proximity to an eelgrass critical habitat. As part of the contract services, Great Ecology has identified and is working on solutions to improve high soil salinity prior to plant installation to ensure better plant establishment. Additional project tasks include the identification of native plant seed collection locations, reference site locations, review of construction submittals, installation oversight and the 5-year maintenance and monitoring of this sensitive habitat restoration area
Great Ecology is leading the restoration effort for a degraded vernal pool site that has been disturbed by historic fill activity in San Diego County, California. This project involves preparing a biological site assessment, performing vernal pool delineation, and development of a site plan including restoration of vernal pools, their watersheds, and associated mima mounds. When completely restored the site will be transformed from a dumping ground to a fully functional vernal pool habitat area capable of supporting the site’s San Diego fairy shrimp population and the variety of endemic plant and animal species found in this designated critical habitat area
Great Ecology has been contracted by Denver Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) to develop a system to delineate different landscape types for the purposes of asset tracking and management. DPR wants to understand the total acreage, landscape attributes, and maintenance costs of different landscape types on DPR properties to help inform management and restoration priorities. The system that Great Ecology developed covers a spectrum of landscape types from hardscaped anthropogenic areas to bluegrass lawns to natural plant communities. Great Ecology focused on the natural area side of the spectrum which is not currently covered under DPR Planning, Design, and Construction Standards. The process begins with mapping the different landscape types at a 0.25 acre scale from aerial imagery. Each landscape type is then field verified and site-specific information for each polygon is collected to help inform DPR management of the plant community composition and condition. DPR will then use this data to understand the costs of maintaining different landscape types and identify areas in need of restoration or landscape conversion to identify cost savings and improve efficiencies in operations as well as improve the overall health of DPR properties
Great Ecology was selected by the San Diego Unified Port District (Port) to conduct a mitigation bank evaluation for Pond 20, a 95-acre undeveloped site and former salt pond. Located in South San Diego Bay, Pond 20 is an integral part of the Palm Avenue “gateway to South San Diego County’s beaches”. As a result, the project has been (and is) the subject of extensive stakeholder outreach.
The proposed mitigation bank will encompass the majority of the site and is the first project of a three part development plan approved by the Board of Port Commissioner’s in July 2015. To ensure the long term success, specifically meeting project goals of habitat restoration and economic development, the Great Ecology Team is providing an iterative, phased approach informed by our experience working as consultants for many mitigation banking companies. This approach allows us to quickly and efficiently identify ecological and financial constraints and opportunities.
Phase I is currently underway and includes an in-depth feasibility study of the 80-acre proposed mitigation bank. During this phase, we are analyzing and assessing the biological feasibility, economic viability, and the regulatory environment – all of which will provide Port staff information they need to move the project forward. Phase I is scheduled to be completed in the spring of 2016.
The project team is led by Great Ecology Founder and President, Dr. Mark S. Laska, who brings over 20 years of experience in habitat restoration and mitigation banking and provides support for many entities advancing mitigation banks in California and several other states. Additional leadership is provided by Director of Ecology, Nick Buhbe, who brings a 20 year plus career focused on Southern California marine and terrestrial habitats. Great Ecology’s extensive mitigation banking and habitat restoration experience is enhanced by a robust project team including RECON, ESA, and AES.