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Public Notice for the South San Diego Bay Wetland Mitigation Bank Released for Public Comment

The Public Notice for the South San Diego Bay Wetland Mitigation Bank (Bank) Prospectus has been released by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for public comment. Great Ecology led the development of the Prospectus on behalf of the Bank Sponsor, the Port of San Diego (Port), and its release is the culmination of three years of collaboration between the Port and the Great Ecology team. The proposed 80-acre wetland mitigation bank is located within an 83.5-acre parcel owned by the Port, and if approved, will include the establishment, re-establishment, and rehabilitation of tidal wetland and upland transitional habitats. Tidal wetlands, and their associated buffers, provide important ecosystem services, support nursery habitat for fisheries of ecological and commercial importance, and act as key feeding and breeding grounds for coastal and migratory bird species.  Great Ecology’s team includes ESA and RECON who provided engineering, hydrological, and restoration biology design.

The Bank Site is located within a former salt pond in San Diego. Historically, this salt pond was part of the Western Salt Work Company and served as a part of a network of condensation and crystallization salt evaporator ponds. Today, the Bank Site is largely upland and surrounded by large earthen berms, which isolates the interior of the site from tidal flows and prevents it from being a tidal wetland. The proposed project will restore tidal wetlands to the site by reducing the overall site elevation and breaching the surrounding berm to allow tidal flows to enter the site.

The completed project will include subtidal eelgrass, mudflat, transition zone, and upland habitats. The majority of the site’s historic perimeter berms will remain to provide a hydrological buffer around the site.

The Port and Great Ecology team are focusing on the next steps of the project planning, permitting, and bank entitlement process.

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Great Ecology Welcomes Justin Apfel

Great Ecology is thrilled to welcome Justin Apfel to the team! Justin is an ecologist with experience in wetland permitting, tidal and non-tidal stream assessments, GIS, subsurface contamination examinations, and stormwater management. He has previously served an AmeriCorps term and hiked portions of the Appalachian Trail (primarily in Virginia). In his free time, he enjoys snowboarding, fishing, and rock climbing. Justin is joining our Denver office.

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Great Ecology Welcomes Jessica L. Foley

Great Ecology is thrilled to welcome our newest team member! Jessica L. Foley, a former John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellow and policy analyst with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), is joining the Denver office. She has experience working in varied settings, both nationally and internationally, at the federal and local government level, in the non-profit sector, in private industry, and in academia on local to global issues. She has helped communities plan for sea level rise, create and implement invasive species management plans, integrate the use of green infrastructure, and maintain Clean Water Act (CWA) compliance. In addition, she has led research on the impacts of climate change on eelgrass (Zostera marina), which is the base of highly functional marine ecosystems along the U.S. coast. In her free time, Jessica enjoys exploring, hiking, and snowboarding in Colorado’s beautiful mountains and playing the violin.

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Randy Mandel Elected to SER International Board of Directors!

Great Ecology is pleased to announce that Randy Mandel, Vice President, Technical Services has been elected as one of five Regional Representatives for North America for the Society for Ecological Restoration’s (SER) International Board of Directors! SER’s International Board of Directors is responsible for:

  • Policy development and maintenance;
  • Strategic planning;
  • Operations;
  • Fund-raising; and
  • Relationship building with other organizations.

The elected position will begin June 2018 and Randy will hold this position for the next two years. He has previously served multiple terms as the President for SER’s Central Rockies Chapter.

When asked what excites him about this position, Randy responded: “It’s a chance for Great Ecology to make a greater difference on a national and international level, while furthering our mission and core values and being part of a team of the world’s foremost restoration specialists.”

SER’s international community is made up of restoration professionals, including researchers, practitioners, policy influencers, and community leaders. Members advance the science and practice of ecological restoration to benefit biodiversity, ecosystems, and human interaction with the more-than-human world. Learn more about SER and read their mission statement.

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Great Ecology Honored with Environmental Excellence Award

We are honored to share that Great Ecology, as part of a larger project team, is the proud recipient of the Colorado Contractor’s Association (CCA) Environmental Excellence Award for our Emergency Watershed Protection (EWP) work, as completed for Left Hand Canyon. Vice President of Technical Services, Randy Mandel, will accept the award this morning at the 84th Annual CCA Conference, in Denver.

Learn more about the EWP project here.

 

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Great Ecology to Present with Blue Latitudes at Decom World

Great Ecology is excited to announce that we will be teaming with Blue Latitudes on a panel at Decom World this year in Houston (February 19 – 21), for the 2018 Decommissioning & Abandonment Summit. The panel, which will include Dr. Mark S. Laska, founder and President of Great Ecology, will focus on end of life planning options for oil platforms worldwide. We would love to see you there!

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Stapleton Open Spaces Win 2017 ASLA Colorado Merit Award

Denver is semi-arid—it averages about 15 inches of a rain a year, which is why Denver isn’t filled with large trees (at least in areas that aren’t alongside river systems or in well-irrigated greenscapes). In our line of work, it’s critical to consider which plants would grow best with little-to-no irrigation—so they can survive long term in Denver’s climate, without adding strain to the water resources. Yet, we also want to provide an aesthetically pleasing place for people to engage in passive or active recreation and restore ecosystem services that support the overall health of the Denver area.

Great Ecology has been working on the 2017 ASLA Merit Award-winning Stapleton planned community, led by CIVITAS since 2013. Our work has primarily focused on restoring the landscape, including revegetation plans for open space areas. One of the design goals was to create prairie-like landscapes, which restore historic prairie landscapes that used to fill the Denver-Metro area. These prairie-like open spaces are interconnected through a series of trails and underpasses that allow people (and other animals) to safely avoid traffic.

Prairie grasses, and other native plants, tend to have deeper root systems which can increase water infiltration, decrease soil compaction, and provide soil stability. Additionally, they can provide important habitat for a variety of animal species.

The planting plans we assisted with are keyed into each microclimate and microtopography, with a focus on low- to no-irrigation plants. This is coupled with designs that encourage water flow and stormwater detention—which nourishes these plants when rain or other precipitation does occur. We took site-specific soil conditions into consideration, and suggested soil amendments to increase the likelihood of successful early plant establishment and long-term sustainability.

We’re thrilled to have been part of such a great team, and are honored that this project was selected by ASLA’s Colorado Chapter for a 2017 Merit Award for the creation of a water-resilient parks system.

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Laurel Glass Lees Named Regional AEP Director at Large

Great Ecology is pleased to announce that our  Western Regional Director, Laurel Glass Lees, who serves as Vice President of Membership for the San Diego Chapter of the California Association of Environmental Professionals (AEP) was recently voted into a Director-at-Large position with the AEP State Board. This two-year term, which begins in January, offers Laurel additional leadership opportunities to provide direction, guidance, and overall coordination of the organization statewide. As part of this role, Laurel will act as the Board representative for each member not represented by one of the nine chapters throughout California. In conjunction with the other Directors-at-Large, she will maintain the annual California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) workshops and provide input to committees that establish and implement programs for creating new membership services or recruiting. Laurel will also participate in Board meetings, the annual AEP Institute, the annual AEP Summit, and other statewide events that seek to enhance, maintain, and protect the quality of the natural and human environment.

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Emily Callahan & Amber Jackson Named to Forbes 30 Under 30

Great Ecology is pleased to announce that Associate Ecologist Emily Callahan, and Ecologist Amber Jackson, were named as part of Forbes’ 30 Under 30 in Energy. Emily and Amber are co-founders of Blue Latitudes, which works with oil companies to transform their offshore oil platforms into environmentally beneficial artificial reefs. We’re proud to have them on our team—and of all the work they do to make the world a better place.

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Great Ecology Welcomes Damian Holynskyj

Great Ecology is pleased to announce that Damian Holynskyj, AICP, LEED GA, CPHC will be joining our New York office as Eastern Regional Director. Damian has more than 13 years of experience in environmental, ecological, and sustainable land use planning. He has focused his career on mitigation banking, master plan development, green infrastructure planning, and ecosystem restoration. He’s a Certified Planner, Certified Passive House Consultant, and LEED Green Associate. He holds a BS in Environmental Biology from Rutgers and a Master of City and Regional Planning from the University of Pennsylvania.

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