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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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Great Ecology Welcomes Laurel Glass Lees

Great Ecology is pleased to announce that Laurel Glass Lees has joined our San Diego office as Western Regional Director. Laurel comes to Great Ecology from the County of San Diego, where she was a Land Use/Environmental Planning Manager. Laurel has provided environmental planning services throughout her career; her professional certifications include Urban Planning & Development and Grant Writing. She serves on the board of the San Diego Association of Environmental Professionals San Diego Chapter as Vice President of Membership and is a member of the American Planning Association.

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President & Founder of Great Ecology to Speak at Mega-Superfund Site Symposium

Great Ecology is pleased to announce that President & Founder of Great Ecology, Mark S. Laska, Ph.D., will be one of the panelists at Mega-Superfund Site Symposium on September 7, 2017, held in Philadelphia, PA. This symposium is co-sponsored by AIRROC and the Environmental and Emerging Claim Manager Association (EECMA).

The symposium will address challenges that arise with mega superfund sites, such as Portland Harbor, the Lower Passaic River, and similar contaminated sediment sites that have remediation costs in the US$ billions. Dr. Laska will be part of the panel called Liability Defenses and Natural Resource Damages, alongside Loren Dunn and Ira Gottlieb.

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Great Ecology Hires Senior Managing Engineer

Great Ecology is pleased to announce that Mitchell J. Hart, P.E. is expanding his role at Great Ecology and joining us as Senior Managing Engineer. This is big news for Great Ecology, as Mitchell is our first on-staff engineer! Mitchell has more than 35 years of experience in mined land reclamation and remediation, including historic and legacy mining sites, and will be continuing to perform mining work with Great Ecology. Mitchell will be based in Idaho.

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See You at the National Mitigation & Ecosystem Banking Conference!

This week, President & Founder of Great Ecology, Mark S. Laska, PhD, will be facilitating a session at the National Mitigation & Ecosystem Banking Conference, in Sacramento, CA. The session will be called: “NRDA Policy, Practice & Opportunities” and will occur on Thursday, May 11th from 10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. The panelists will be:

  • Megan Callahan Grant, Restoration Program Coordination for NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service Restoration Center, in Portland, OR
  • Julie Mentzer, Director of Environmental Operations, Wildlands PNW, in Portland, OR
  • Peter Dykstra, Partner at Plauche & Carr, LLP, in Seattle, WA

Jill McGrady, PhD and Associate Ecologist at Great Ecology will be presenting at the conference on Wednesday, May 10th, during Session 6: Science, Technology & Tools. In her talk, titled “The Use of HEA to Determine Mitigation Needs: A Case Study of Idaho Phosphate Mine Impacts,” Dr. McGrady will present a case study to discuss a novel use of Habitat Equivalency Analysis (HEA) as a tool to quantify injury, determine mitigation requirements, and compare mitigation alternatives.

Great Ecology will also have a booth (#11) at this conference, so if you’re able to attend, please stop by to say hello!

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Conference Attendance & Presentations, Q1 2017

During the first quarter of 2017, Great Ecology employees attended a variety of conferences across the country. Were you there, and hoping to connect? Now’s the chance!

In January:

Our Director of Design, Linda Gumeny attended the New Jersey Chapter of the American Planning Association conference.

Nick Buhbe, Director of Ecology, attended the Central Dredging Association (CEDA) Conference in the Netherlands.

In March:

Multiple members of the Denver office attended the Central Rockies chapter of the Society for Ecological Restoration’s conference, where Vice President of Technical Services, Randy Mandel, gave two presentations.

Associate Ecologist, Dr. Jill McGrady presented at DecomWorld 2017 in Houston, TX.

Nick Buhbe presented at the 27th Annual International Conference on Soil, Water, Energy, and Air for the Association of Environmental Health and Sciences Foundation in San Diego, CA.

Liz Clift, Copy Editor, attended the Colorado Coalition of Land Trust’s annual conference in Denver, CO.

President & Found of Great Ecology, Dr. Mark Laska, spoke at the Law Seminars International Sixth Annual Advanced Conference on Natural Resource Damages.

Dr. Laska also attended the 46th Spring Environmental Conference of the American Bar Association in Hollywood.

 

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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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