Great Ecology is an ecological and environmental 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 the ecological consultant to Merrick & Company on the design and restoration of the Montclair Creek Outfall Project. The Creek has lost most of its ecological function due to decades of impacts from urbanization and has mostly served as a stormwater conveyance system, including channelization and being forced underground in pipes. As part of the revitalization of the National Western Complex (NWC) in Denver, the project will daylight Montclair Creek near its confluence with the South Platte River, just south of the Denver Coliseum. Part of the project site is within the Vasquez Boulevard and I-70 Superfund Site as well as other contaminated areas along the South Platte River. These environmental constraints require the newly created channel to be contained within an impermeable barrier system to prevent hydrologic connection with the contaminated substrate and groundwater.
Great Ecology is providing ecological and design expertise on the creation of the stream open channel, park integration, and floodplain connectivity. Great Ecology’s design is based on the ecological functionality of native streams and rivers as well as integrate the needs of the local community and NWC. Great Ecology helped with the channel design, including construction details and specifications for channel substrate, growth media, and plant community composition. We also supported coordination with federal, state, and local agencies and stakeholders. When complete in 2018, the project will create a new, functioning stream channel, add additional park space to Globeville Landing Park, and restore part of the South Platte River floodplain, providing residents and visitors with a valuable natural resource within the Denver Metropolitan area.
(Images courtesy: Architerra Group
A mining company intends to re-open a mine in Valley County, Idaho, a region rich in valuable minerals. Mining operations will have significant impacts to natural resources, including wetlands, streams, wildlife and aquatics. To permit the mine, our client has proposed a detailed program of remediation, restoration and reclamation that will restore or create approximately 150 acres of wetlands and 10 miles of stream and riparian habitat, at a potential cost of up to $20M. Great Ecology has been engaged to assist in development of a robust environmental mitigation strategy that includes evaluation of and compensation for past and future impacts from mining and operations; assessment of an off-site mitigation program; assurance and refinement of unit cost estimating based on design evaluations; and justification to external stakeholders, regulators, and mining company decision makers
Great Ecology is the ecological consultant on the Arup and Thomas Balsley team for Phase II of the Hunter’s Point South Infrastructure and Waterfront Park Project. Commissioned by the NYC Economic Development Corporation, the project is part of the masterplan to revitalize the 37.5-acre former industrial site along the East River. The site is currently partially developed as a waterfront park and mixed-use commercial area.
In support of Phase II, Great Ecology designed the ~1 acre tidal wetland mitigation and habitat creation as well as provided extensive permitting support, including a Wetlands Functional Analysis. Great Ecology staff conducted an Evaluation of Planned Wetlands (EPW) to quantify the wetland functional capacity of the pre-existing wetlands onsite. The EPW informed design modifications to enhance ecological function and uplift of the proposed wetlands, resulting in a reduced amount of compensatory acreage required by the USACE. Another key component of our design recommendations included adjustments for sea level rise to ensure long-term success. The complex project requires extensive coordination between stakeholders and city, state, and federal agencies including the NYC Department of Transportation, NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Over the last 40 years, Thailand has continued to develop and implement artificial reef programs aimed at conserving and enhancing resources and fisheries production in shallow, coastal areas. The Gulf of Thailand currently has numerous offshore platforms, several of which are owned by a large oil & gas (O&G) company. At this time the O&G company is evaluating its options for platform decommissioning after production has ended, including implementing a Rigs-to-Reefs program, which would provide an alternative to the complete removal of its non-productive oil and gas structures in the Gulf of Thailand.
Great Ecology assessed the feasibility of implementing a Rigs-to-Reefs program in the gulf using the company's oil and gas platforms by examining several critical elements of successful program implementation. The investigation included evaluating the suitability of the selected reefing sites, with regard given to the physical marine environment, as well as assessing the condition of the platform jacket materials, by addressing the physical and biological stressors (i.e. corrosion, fatigue, etc.) of reefed structures in marine environments that can impact structural integrity. Through this evaluation, Great Ecology determined that converting these platforms into reefs would likely contribute to the overall productivity of the Gulf of Thailand’s marine ecosystems, generating both local and regional socio-economic benefits. Implementing this program in the Gulf of Thailand not only would minimize waste, but would also create artificial habitats for ecosystem rehabilitation.
The findings of this assessment will inform Thai stakeholders and the O&G company on a pathway forward in implementing Thailand’s first Rigs to Reefs Program. Great Ecology’s work will be used to aid regulators, operators, scientists, and other relevant stakeholders in Thailand as Thailand continues to develop and enhance its artificial reef program to include a Rigs-to-Reefs option.
Great Ecology is providing ecological design support for the CH2M team in redesigning a reach of First Creek in northeast Denver, Colorado. The intent of the redesign is to create a 6 acre nature play themed park, the first in Denver. Over half of the park is in the floodway and Great Ecology is tasked with developing a planting plan that is conducive to exploration and imagination while still being sustainable and low maintenance. Great Ecology is working withproject geomorphologists, landscape architects, and engineers to develop a landscape that will function within the context of the landscape and engage park users in a way that enlivens the senses and encourages out-of-the-box thinking. The project is currently at 50% design and construction is anticipated to begin Spring 2018. Image by Valerian