Ecological Design & Restoration
Great Ecology understands that Ecological Design & Restoration are critical components to building a more sustainable and resilient future. Our high-functioning, low-maintenance solutions allow our clients to maximize the benefit of public and private spaces while reducing management and maintenance costs. We have experience on projects ranging in size from less than one acre to more than 4,000 acres, as well as projects that take a watershed-level view of ecological function.
At Great Ecology, our planners and landscape architects work side-by-side with our ecologists and environmental scientists. This multidisciplinary team approach allows us to streamline our Ecological Design & Restoration services.
Great Ecology has extensive experience restoring a variety of habitat types such as tidal and freshwater wetlands, upland forests and grasslands, streams and rivers, vernal pools, and more. This includes restoration and reclamation after natural disasters, converting brownfields to greenfields, targeted restoration to stop ecological degradation before it worsens, and more. Restoration may include revegetation with ecotypic plants, stream bank stabilization, improvement or reconstruction of fragile habitats, reconnecting floodplains, and other methods to restore or improve ecosystem function.
Constructed treatment wetlands use natural components like wetland vegetation, substrate, and microbes to improve water quality before it is reused onsite or enters the watershed. Great Ecology designs constructed wetlands to meet the objectives of each individual project. Design criteria may include removal of targeted contaminants, water quality requirements, spatial limitations, context within the landscape/site, and aesthetic value. Where necessary, multi-stage treatment wetlands may include multiple treatment methods, such as pairing of vertical and free surface water wetlands to remove nutrients in two stages.
Green infrastructure aims to resolve urban and climate challenges by designing and building with nature. Green infrastructure can include rain gardens; constructed wetlands; green roofing; vegetated swales; and other constructed areas as well as the preservation and restoration of natural areas, such as wetlands and stream buffers. Green infrastructure has the ability to reduce the impact of flooding and storm surge events, reduce the impact of the heat island effect, increase water capture, and many other benefits.
Parks & Open Space
Great Ecology has overseen park, open space, trail, and outdoor recreation projects from pre-planning meetings through post-construction monitoring. Our high-profile park and open space projects include Brooklyn Bridge Park, New York's Central Park, Dallas' Trinity River Park, Denver's Globeville Landing Park, and the Del Mar Fairgrounds. In addition to restoration and ecological design, our work with parks and open spaces include public outreach, planning, permitting, trail planning, open space preservation, construction oversight, and monitoring. Great Ecology takes pride in designing ecological spaces that provide natural beauty, feature native vegetation, incorporate resiliency, and encourage people to interact with the environment.
Coastal Resiliency & Restoration
At Great Ecology, we understand the complexities of America’s coastal habitats and we tailor our restoration and resiliency solutions for each unique situation. We have developed cutting-edge and environmentally-focused strategies to help mitigate the effects of sea level rise, address coastal erosion, and restore coastal habitats. Our ecological approach helps mitigate coastal risks and promotes sustainability of long-term natural habitats far more effectively than traditional engineering methods. Additionally, we apply our experience with environmental assessments and adaptive management to assist municipalities in identifying risks before they become apparent.
Stormwater management is important to maintaining healthy waterways that comply with the Clean Water Act and for improving infiltration of surface water from storm events into underground aquifers. Stormwater management planning can include rain gardens, vegetated buffers, detention and retention ponds, constructed wetlands, daylighting creeks, and more. Our designers are well experienced in applying our ecological approach to stormwater management while working alongside staff hydrologists to ensure maximum design efficiency.
Great Ecology's landscape architects work side-by-side with our ecologists. Through this collaboration of art and science, our design method supports the deliberate use of scientific knowledge to make decisions about the use and shape of the land. We ascribe to the philosophy of creating design solutions that are “highly suited for their specific environment,” designed to enhance and support the local ecosystems natural processes while considering the sustainability and longevity of the proposed design. We approach landscape design with an ecological lens—by designing landscapes to be resilient in the long-term through understanding site-specific biotic and abiotic ecological functions and applying innovative design solutions that have been fine-tuned through lessons learned from previous project efforts.
Our work with long-term, comprehensive master planning aims to promote sustainable communities that strive to effectively manage a broad range of complex, overlapping processes that exist within and between our natural and human systems. We understand that master planning requires a holistic approach to decision-making with consideration given to social, economic, urban, regional, natural resource management and land use, infrastructure systems and governance frameworks. Our guidance documents provide a framework for present and future decision-making that integrates environmental planning tools with the consideration of social and environmental regulations, and the ability to analyze social and environmental issues.
Ecology requires us to recognize the interconnection between myriad components of an ecosystem—both biotic and abiotic. To better prepare for a future that includes sea-level rise, stronger and more frequent storms, increased likelihood of wildland fires, and more, Great Ecology designs low-maintenance, high-functioning resilient landscapes. Our designs utilize native plants, mimic or restore natural and/or historic watercourses, and include a diversity of flora that helps create habitat for a variety of fauna—creating rich ecosystems. We work closely with regulators to ensure our projects meet or exceed compliance standards, and coordinate with other local stakeholders to help achieve multiple project goals.