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President & Founder of Great Ecology to Speak at NRD Conference in DC

Mark S. Laska, PhD, Founder & President of Great Ecology, will be presenting at the Law Seminars International Sixth Annual Advanced Conference on Natural Resource Damages in Washington, DC on March 24th at 9:30am. He will present a case study on “The Future of Restoration: Update on New Approaches for Developing the Most Effective Restoration Strategy.”  His ideas for future restoration of NRD injuries involves “banking” and upfront restoration projects drawing from his expertise in mitigation banking and recent policy developed by five federal agencies.

The conference will provide the chance to explore successes, challenges, and opportunities of the Natural Resource Damages (NRD) legal regime, including the effectiveness of NRD as a remedy for environmental damage. In addition, the conference will include information on the latest developments in NRD science and restoration, and how to prepare an NRD case for trial.

If you’re unable to make it to DC, the conference proceedings will also be available via paid webcast.

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Great Ecology’s Director of Ecology to Present at AEHS

Nick Buhbe, M.S., Great Ecology’s Director of Ecology, will be presenting at the 27th Annual International Conference on Soil, Water, Energy, and Air for the Association of Environmental Health and Sciences (AEHS) Foundation in San Diego, CA. The workshop, “More than a Blank Slate: Increasing Value at Cleanup Sites Through Sustainable Repurposing for Renewable Energy Production and Habitat Restoration” will be co-presented with June Yi, of Project Navigator. The workshop will explore ecologically oriented approaches to create or enhance habitat and wetland resources, incorporate reuse strategies for Brownfield sites, and identify when and where solar energy-generation facilities can be incorporated into end-uses.

Nick and June will present on Wednesday, March 22 at 7pm.

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After the HAR-CeRSER 2017 Conference

Last week several Great Ecology staff members attended the 2017 High Altitude Revegetation Workshop & Central Rockies Chapter of the Society for Ecological Restoration (HAR-CeRSER) Conference in Fort Collins, CO.

Great Ecology’s Vice President of Technical Services, Randy Mandel, provided two presentations: (1) an oral presentation on “The Use of Ecotypic Plant Collections for Restoration Design to Benefit Pollinator Habitat”, and (2) a poster presentation on the Colorado Water Conservation Board Restoration Plant Matrix the was compiled in response to Colorado’s 2013 Front Range Floods, as well as the closing remarks at the conference.. Other presentations included:

  • Keynote: “Can We Manage for Resilience? Making Decisions about Where and How to Restore in a Changing World” (Katharine Suding, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO)
  • Keynote: “New Natures and Mountain Landscapes” (Eric Higgs, University of Victoria, Victoria, British Columbia)
  • Keynote: “Weed-Suppressive Bacteria: A New Tool for Restoration” (Ann Kennedy, USDA, Agricultural Research Service, Pullman, WA)
  • “A Seedling-Based Approach to Aspen Restoration” (Alexander Howe, Utah State University, Logan, UT)
  • “High Elevation Mine Lands Reclamation Using Biochar” (Christopher D. Peltz, Research Services, Silverton, CO)
  • “Manipulating Cheatgrass Seed Dispersal to Benefit Restoration” (Danielle B. Johnson, Colorado Parks & Wildlife, Grand Junction, CO)
  • “Rehabilitating Aquatic Habitat in Urban Systems” (Ashley Ficke, GEI Consultants, Fort Collins, CO)
  • “The Urban Prairies Project: Pollinator Habitat Restoration and Community Engagement” (Amy C. Yarger, Butterfly Pavilion, Westminster, CO)
  • “The Southwest Seed Partnership & the Ethos of Seed Conservation” (Ella M. Samuel, Chicago Botanic Garden, Bureau of Land Management, Santa Fe, NM)

There were many additional engaging and important talks, and dozens of posters, all of which helped convey important trends, new research, and strategies for restoration success.

Great Ecology was proud to be a sponsor for this event. Great Ecology was especially proud of the students who presented their research. Congratulations to the winners of the student poster and presentation awards!

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Dr. McGrady to Present at DecomWorld 2017

Dr. Jill McGrady, California Office Lead, will present the latest research and thinking about Rigs-to-Reef this afternoon at 1:30 PM CDT at DecomWorld GoM 2017 in Houston, TX. Her talk is titled: “Reefing’s New Frontiers: An Update on Global Development & Reefing in Deepwater.” She will lead a panel regarding developments in the Rigs-to-Reef program as the industry considers reefing in deeper waters as well as how oil structures are being adapted for eco-tourism in Malaysia and marine parks in west Africa.

DecomWorld GoM focuses on “decommissioning, well plugging and abandonment, and late life strategies” which are undergoing significant disruption due to low oil prices, regulatory changes, and rapidly improving technologies. This year, the conference offers three tracks: Wells, Structures, and Strategy & Finance.

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Great Ecology Welcomes Kay Wiseman

Great Ecology is pleased to announce that Kay Wiseman has joined our Denver office. Kay is an ecologist with more than eight years of experience, which include research on the impacts of invasive species; botanical surveys and habitat assessments; and noxious weed identification and management. Her expertise in ecotypic plant materials collection, revegetation, and ecological management planning will be a huge asset to the work being done in our Denver office. Kay holds a BS in Ecology from University of Louisville, and is a qualified supervisor for pesticide application, in the State of Colorado.

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Great Ecology at HAR-CeRSER

Great Ecology’s Vice President of Technical Services, Randy Mandel, will be giving two presentations at the High-Altitude Revegetation  Central Rockies chapter Society for Ecological Restoration (HAR-CeRSER) annual conference. The first talk will be on Tuesday, March 7th, at 1:40 pm, and is titled “The Use of Ecotypic Plant Collection in Restoration Design and Implementation to Benefit Pollinator Habitat.” Later that afternoon, he will give a poster presentation on the restoration matrix for revegetation of the 2013 Front Range flood-impacted watersheds. He will also be providing the closing remarks for the conference.

This year’s HAR-CeRSER’s conference runs from March 7th – 9th, at Colorado State University, in Fort Collins.

Great Ecology will have a booth at HAR-CeRSER. Stop by and say hi!

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Great Ecology’s Conference Attendance – 4th Quarter 2016

The last quarter of 2016, Great Ecology attended a number of conferences. Were you there and did we connect with you?

October

  • Jessa Spainhower (VP of Operations), Marlene Tyner-Valencourt (Ecologist), and Agustina Tierno, (Visiting Fellow from Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative) attended the I Love a Clean San Diego Fall Social.
  • Nick Buhbe (Director of Ecology, Western Regional Director) organized and attended the Western Dredging Association (WEDA) Pacific chapter meeting in San Diego.

November

  • Mark Laska, PhD (CEO & Founder) and Linda Gumeny (Director of Landscape Architecture, Eastern Regional Director) attended the Wildlife Habitat Council conference in Baltimore, MD, where Great Ecology sponsored a booth.
  • Dr. Laska attended the Coastkeeper Seaside Soiree, an organization for which he sits on the Board of Directors.
  • Dr. Laska attended the Asian Development Bank’s 1st Green Business Forum in Manilla, Philippines, and gave two presentations.

December

  • Michelle Landis (Senior Landscape Architect) presented at the International Map Industry Association’s 2016 conference in San Diego. Her topic was “Graphic Information Systems (GIS) as a Land Planning Resource.”
  • Randy Mandel (VP of Technical Services) attended the Southern Rockies Seed Network conference in Loveland, CO where he presented his “Native Seeds Revegetation Matrix” as a representative of both the Colorado Water Conservation Board and Great Ecology.
  • Michael Kaminski (Ecologist) attended the Waterfront Alliance WEDG (Waterfront Edge Design Guidelines) Development meeting.
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Croton Project Featured in Wired Magazine

Great Ecology is pleased to announce that Wired Magazine listed the Croton Water Filtration Plant in New York as one of “25 Masterpieces that Prove 2016 was an Incredible Year for Architecture.” The water filtration plant is built underground and includes a 9-acre green roof that features a golf course. The innovative design was created by Grimshaw, to whom Great Ecology acted as the ecological consultant. Great Ecology planned and designed constructed wetlands for the site. The wetlands, whose construction is set to begin this spring, will capture and store storm and waste water from the site, process and improve the quality of this water, and then recycle it for reuse onsite. Additionally, Great Ecology helped designed the bioswales in the plaza.

Croton Water Filtration Plant Under Construction

Croton Water Filtration Plant Under Construction

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Great Ecology Launches Office in Madrid, Spain

Great Ecology is pleased to announce that we have launched an office in Madrid, Spain led by Alejandro Baladrón Julian, M.S., a specialist in hydrology, and Carlos Rivero Moro, M.S., a sustainability expert.  We are excited to establish an international presence, and for the opportunity it presents to make a positive impact on the environment worldwide.

Alejandro and Carlos have a combined experience of more than 16 years in the environmental services field. Together, they recently competed in the Climate Launchpad clean tech business idea European Union finals competition. There, they presented an urban management solution to model the movement of energy within urban areas. Learn more about that project in our news archives and about Alejandro and Carlos on our staff page.

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ADB Holds First Green Business Forum for Asia and the Pacific

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ADB president Takehiko Nakao leads the opening plenary of the first ADB Green Business Forum for Asia and the Pacific. Image: Eco-Business

Original news article on eco-business.com.

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) this week hosted its inaugural Green Business Forum for Asia and the Pacific, which features high-level talks and panel discussions on sustainable business opportunities in the region.

The forum was held at the ADB Headquarters in Manila from November 22 to 24 amid the need to address Asia’s own socio-economic and environmental challenges – such as climate change, population growth, dwindling natural resources, land degradation and water and air pollution – through sustainability in the region’s economic development.

According to ADB, Asia is home to 60 per cent of the world’s current population which are fast migrating from rural areas to overpopulated urban centers. The region comprises nearly 40 per cent of global output and contributes 60 per cent to global growth.

This raises the need for building resilience through sustainable business growth.

Global as well as regional experts and frontliners from government, the private sector, and academia in areas like green financing, technology and sustainability brought to the table principles and best practices in sustainable business that can be applied to spur green growth in the region, specifically in the areas of agriculture, eco-tourism and services.

On the first day of the forum, answers to some of the common barriers to sustainable business were raised. These included how to have an enabling policy and regulatory framework in place to support sustainable business, how to create a strong and consistent market for environmental goods and services, how to access funding, how to use technological innovations in green business set-ups and most importantly, how to make money while going green.

ADB president Takehiko Nakao said at the opening plenary: “We’ve had so many forums like sustainable transport, water management and clean energy, and also how cities can be cleaner. But in a sense this forum is focusing on the profitability of doing all these things and I think there is great potential.”

UNEP executive director Erik Solheim, who joined Nakao in the panel, said Asia will take a driving seat in spurring sustainable business in the world.

“In a few years Asia will lead, and at the core of that is China,” Solheim said. “The most important issue is the issue of mindset. People see the environment as a cost instead of an enormous business opportunity.”

Other speakers at the opening plenary were Dr Madhu Khanna from the Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics in Urbana, Illinois, Bangladesh Environment and Forestry Minister Anwar Hossain Manju, Philippines Department of Environment and Natural Resources secretary Regina Lopez, and Daniel Spitzer from the Bhutan-based Mountain Hazelnuts Group.

‘Green can make money’

To help establish a strong sustainable business sector in the region, Nakao expressed ADB’s commitment to lend funding to more public and private sector groups that are pursuing green growth initiatives.

He highlighted that in the Philippines, ADB issued green bonds which financed private sector geo-thermal power plant projects while in China, ADB funded initiatives to address the imminent issues of water, soil and air pollution. Nakao said these issues have to be addressed seriously to avoid causing social instability in countries.

“Perhaps the very important focus of this forum is that green can make money. It is about profit.” Nakao said. “The market is ready for environmentally-sustainable food and products. Consumers are ready to pay a little bit more.”

He added: “Fifty years ago, when we started ADB, the main agenda was how to feed people. But today it is about climate change and environmental sustainability. It’s not because of COP21. It’s not about the Sustainable Development Goals. Asian countries want this. People want this. And ADB is reacting to that.”

‘Name and fame’

Underscoring that there is a strong business case for green products and services in Asia, the forum discussion moved to identify enabling policies and regulatory frameworks that must be in place to ensure that green businesses thrive.

Dr Khanna said that in order for existing businesses to be motivated to adopt sustainability, there has to be a policy push from the government, and that governments may mandate businesses to go green but without being punitive.

Government policies will ensure there will be a long-term demand for environment goods and services, Dr Khanna said.

For example, in the aviation industry, the push from Europe to impose carbon tax on flights based on the airlines’ fuel consumption is leading the aviation industry to shift towards renewable fuels, she explained.

“The combination of technical expertise [from universities] as well as the policy push is what creates the demand for these technologies,” Dr Khanna said.

She added that market-driven incentives that have been created by civil society also lead to a demand for green business, making them profitable.

“We’re seeing a shift to that now. China is a leading country in terms of ISO certifications in most recent years and far surpassed the rest of the countries. Why is China’s companies doing that? It’s a way for them to gain access to European and western markets,” she said.

For his part, Solheim said that international forums and financing facilities such as the G20 and the recently-launched Tropical Landscapes Finance Facility in Jakarta will also help drive sustainable business.

“We’re now going into green finance through the G20, which is the most powerful vehicle for regulating markets. China leads in the green finance at the front and centre. Germany is continuing. They want financial disclosure. Which means that companies should disclose their bank assets in an environment and not just in a financial way.”

Solheim added that if a company had caused abuses to the environment, then it must be disclosed.

“On the positive note, if you have green [investments] in your portfolio, that should be made open to everyone so that we could name and fame your business.” he added.

Both Nakao and Solheim concurred that governments have enormous impacts on the sustainable business market by the way they allocate budgets to support green growth, enforce compliance, and incentivise the public for buying green. This will create the economic and social pressures conducive to promoting sustainable business.

The second day of plenary discussions featured talks on how diffusing green technology would support business innovation and what are profitable business opportunities that sustainably utilise the rich and diverse natural capital in the region.

To view tweets of discussions and commentaries from the forum, visit #GreenBizAsia.

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