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 conducted an ecological evaluation of a 268-acre master planned development in New Jersey. In collaboration with the Wildlife Habitat Council (WHC) the project aims to improve pollinator habitat and launch the Initiative for National Corridors (INC) program. As part of a master development, the site is an example of the integration of the built and natural environments with LEED certified buildings, expansive open space, walking trails, and a wet meadow for stormwater recharge.
As the ecological consultant Great Ecology’s site evaluations informed ecological improvement recommendations to meet the WHC’s Conservation Certification criteria as well as enhance the site’s overall ecological function with an emphasis on pollinator habitat. With the habitat enhancements the landscape will provide habitat for pollinator species including the rare Long Dash butterfly present near the site. The client is currently working to implement the recommendations in preparation of the program launch on Earth Day 2016.
This site is the first of nine properties the client is enhancing to be included in the INC program. Although the initial focus on sites along the Atlantic Flyway, the client’s long term goal is to provide valuable pollinator and wildlife habitat on their properties across the US
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.
Great Ecology is providing Section 404 permitting and ecological design support for the restoration of over one mile of riparian corridor along the Little Thompson River near Lyons, Colorado. The devastating floods of September, 2013 decimated a series of dams that facilitated the collection of drinking water for the Big Elk Meadows community. Great Ecology’s restoration design will stabilize sediment, reestablish riparian and aquatic habitat, provide water quality benefits, and create recreational opportunities for the community. Construction will be ongoing throughout the spring and summer
Great Ecology is designing conceptual restoration plans for three key areas along the coast of La Jolla’s Whale View Point Park. This effort for the non-profit La Jolla Parks and Beaches (LJPB) examines on-site urban stormwater capture and management, coastal erosion, public access, and interpretive signage. Great Ecology is preparing a suite of design alternatives, focusing on green infrastructure strategies, to be further developed with grant funding. Great Ecology is also preparing a visually engaging marketing package for LJPB to generate interest in the project and solicit funding from private donors and public agencies.
Great Ecology is evaluating and enhancing ecological and community use value by identifying and designing restoration opportunities for degraded, former industrial properties located in California’s Central Coast. The evaluation includes developing financial pro formas and analyzing the mitigation credit marketplace. At one site, we are assisting the team in identifying restoration project goals, demonstrating a comprehensive site vision, and modeling the ecological functionality of the restoration plan. We are involved in multiple project evaluations to date, ranging in size and scope from 300 to 3,200 acres