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Great Ecology announces regional expansion to the Gulf Coast

Today, Great Ecology is announcing a major regional expansion into the Gulf Coast by opening an office in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.   With the massive wetlands restoration plans of Louisiana, dramatic environmental changes in Texas, and habitat improvement opportunities throughout the Gulf of Mexico region, Great Ecology sees the need for its world class habitat restoration-driven services.

The newly opened office will be led by Claire Odenweller, who has worked in Louisiana and Texas for the past decade.  Dr. Mark Laska, CEO of Great Ecology said, “Great Ecology has worked every Gulf Coast states on multiple projects over the years from our remotely located offices and we realized that a physical presence can only lead to better client servicing.  The opportunity to open an office in Louisiana means we will now be able to offer clients more face-to-face interaction while continuing to develop our practice in the southeastern United States.”

Claire Odenweller stated, “my background as a professional wetland scientist with substantial environmental work in mitigation project and wetland banks, including permitting and ecological assessments dovetails with the core services Great Ecology offers and I am excited to grow our practice in this region.”

Active regional projects include Dallas’s Trinity River riverfront park planning and design, the Humble, TX mitigation bank assessment, and several mitigation and wetland projects in Louisiana.  Previously Great Ecology worked on a multi-state natural resource damage (NRD) coastal restoration project from a major oil spill. 

The office is located at 8550 United Plaza Blvd. and can be reached via (225) 416-5353.  For more information contact Jessa Spainhower or Claire Odenweller.

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Waterfront Esplanade Opens Along East River!

The best things come to those who wait—and it’s with that in mind that Great Ecology is pleased to announce that Pier 35, on the East River Waterfront, is now open! The East River Waterfront Esplanade soft opened in late 2018—but fully opened to the public in April of this year. The project, was led by SHoP Architects, with landscape architecture design from Ken Smith Workshop, ecological consulting from Great Ecology, and engineering from HDR and ARUP. The site includes a new eco-park and urban beach, dubbed Mussel Beach, which was influenced by the pre-industrial East River shoreline and provides habitat for a variety of aquatic species, notably blue and ribbed mussels.

Great Ecology was instrumental in providing scientifically-based design recommendations for the habitat creation feature of the park, including the intertidal shellfish habitat. As part of our role in this project we developed a grant, submitted by NYC Economic Development Corporation, which funded a two-year intertidal shellfish habitat creation study. Great Ecology staff evaluated biotic and abiotic factors at the Site, which included water quality testing, pollution sources, and oyster survivorship and recruitment monitoring to determine whether shellfish could survive and flourish at the chosen location. A “habitat slab,” designed by Ken Smith with Great Ecology’s design guidelines, was installed in 2012 and recruitment of young shellfish onto the slab has already started, which means visitors to the park can see how the East River waterfront aquatic species have been colonizing the habitat slab.

Eco Park/Pier 35, East River Waterfront, NYC Location: New York, NY Architect: SHoP Landscape Architect: Ken Smith Landscape Architect

Restoring and revitalizing shellfish habitat to the East River, which was once home to massive populations of shellfish, is a lofty goal—but one worth pursuing as shellfish act as natural filters. Their presence can improve water quality and offers an excellent indicator of ecological health. This innovative project serves as a pilot for sustainable waterfront development in New York and New Jersey and earned the 2009 Design Award of Excellence from the Public Design Commission of NYC and the 2019 Best New Infrastructure award from MASterworks. The Pier 35 ecopark and urban beach opened to the public in April 2019.

Measuring Mussel Size
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Chris Loftus Among First to Earn SITES AP Credential

Chris Loftus, Senior Landscape Architect at Great Ecology has earned the SITES Professional (SITES AP) credential through Green Building Certification Inc. (GBCI), placing him among an elite group of professionals dedicated to elevating the value of landscapes in the built environment.

The SITES AP establishes a common framework to define the profession of sustainable landscape design and development. It provides landscape professionals the opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge, expertise, and commitment to the profession. SITES APs possess the knowledge and skills necessary to support the SITES certification process, including participating in the design and development process, support and encouraging integrated design, managing the application and certification process and providing advocacy and education for the adoption of SITES.

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Hunter’s Point South Phase II – Best Urban Landscape Project

Great Ecology is pleased to announce that Hunter’s Point South, Phase II has been named the Best Urban Landscape project for 2019 by the Municipal Arts Society. We are so pleased with the work our team has put into this effort.

Members of the Great Ecology team designed the approximately one acre tidal wetland mitigation and habitat creation and provided extensive permitting support. This included a Wetlands Functional Analysis and an Evaluation of Planned Wetlands. Great Ecology’s design accounted for predicted sea-level rise to ensure long-term project success.

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Great Ecology to Present at 7th International Conference on Eco-Compensation and Payments for Ecosystem Services

Associate Ecologist, Marlene Tyner-Valencourt will present at the 7th International Conference on Eco-Compensation and Payments for Ecosystem Services. The conference, which is hosted by the China Eco-Compensation Policy Research Center, RKSI, Asian Development Bank, and CAEP, will occur on December 3 – 4, 2018 in Huangshan, Anhui Province in China.

Ms. Valencourt-Tyner’s talk on December 4 will be called “Mitigation Banking in the U.S.: Practice and Conditions,” and will provide a regulatory overview of natural resources protection in the U.S., a definition of ecosystem and mitigation banking, an overview of U.S. mitigation banking marketplace, key factors for mitigation banking success, and a framework for applying these concepts and practices in China. It was co-authored with Dr. Mark S. Laska, Founder and President of Great Ecology.

The lineage of this talk includes Dr. Laska’s 2016 presentation at ADB’s Green Business Forum in Manilla and continues Great Ecology’s collaborative work with the ADB to share market-based approaches, best practices, and lessons learned to the conservation discussion in Asia.

 

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Dr. Laska Presents at WHC Conference!

Mark S. Laska, Ph.D., Founder and President of Great Ecology, along with Gregory R. Biddinger, Ph.D., Managing Director and Principal Scientist at Natural Land Management, LLC presented at the Wildlife Habitat Council’s Conservation Conference 2018 earlier today. The name of their session was The Future is Green: Conservation Strategies to Achieve Success.

Dr. Biddinger discussed strategies to incorporate conservation practices throughout the life cycle of a corporate project, describing the triple bottom line benefits of this approach. Dr. Laska followed up with natural land management case studies, using examples from Great Ecology’s 17-year history as ecological consultants. His portion of the session introduced strategies to optimize the value of corporate land assets, and described Great Ecology’s process to evaluate a corporate site based on its  ecological potential, the regional ecosystem marketplace, and the regulatory framework.

If you’re at the Wildlife Habitat Council’s Conservation Conference this year, we hope you’ll stop by our table and say hello! You can also learn about Dr. Laska’s work with Tellurium Partners and Ecology Landwatch, two of Great Ecology’s sister companies.

Mark Laska, Ph.D. (left) and Dave Yozzo, Ph.D

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Colorado Association of Stormwater and Floodplain Managers Award

Great Ecology is thrilled to announce that we have won an Environmental Excellence award from the Colorado Association of Stormwater and Floodplain Managers (CASFM) for our work on the Emergency Watershed Protection (EWP) program. Vice President of Technical Services, Randy Mandel, received this award on behalf of the company at the 2018 Annual CASFM Conference in Snowmass, CO.

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Great Ecology a Finalist for Three AEP Awards

The San Diego office was a finalist for three Association of Environmental Professionals (AEP) San Diego Chaper awards:
  1. Outstanding Technical Report – Pond 20 Delineation Report
  2. Outstanding Innovation in Green Planning and Design – Pond 20 Prospectus
  3. Outstanding Innovation in Green Planning and Design – Constructed Treatment Wetland System at the Del Mar Fairgrounds

We are so proud of the work produced through these projects and honored to have been a finalist. Learn more about the AEP.

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Vice President of Technical Services to Present at Army Corps Natural and Nature-Based Features Symposium

Vice President of Technical Services, Randy Mandel, has been invited to present the Bioengineering Manual he coauthored for the Emergency Watershed Protection (EWP) Program as well as Riparian Restoration Matrix, also developed for EWP, at the September Army Corps International Natural and Nature-Based Features Symposium at UC Santa Cruz. His presentation will occur on September 20.

US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) initiated a collaborative project to develop, publish, and promote guidelines on the development of Natural and Nature-Based Features (NNBF). NNBF support engineering functions in the context of the overall sustainability and resilience of coasts, bays, and estuaries. The workshop at which Mr. Mandel will present is part of a series of workshops that relate to USACE’s multi-agency effort to develop guidance describing how to implement, monitor, and evaluate NNBF projects.

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Great Ecology’s Blog Named a Top 40 Blog of 2018

Great Ecology is proud to announce that our blog was selected as one of the top 40 ecology blogs of 2018 by Feedspot (we’re number 18, and in good company with folks like The Prairie Ecologist, Sonoma Ecology Center, and The Applied Ecologist’s Blog, just to name a few!). We strive to make complex research accessible, keep on the forefront of the latest trends in ecological science, and highlight innovations, designs, policies, and ideas that are important to our field.

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