Natural Resource Assessment & Management
Natural resources are ecological assets that can be damaged, restored, or permanently protected. When natural resources are damaged or if they degrade over time, it results in the loss of ecosystem function. Great Ecology can assess the current condition of your site(s) and develop a set of site specific restoration and management strategies.
Restoring the impacted environment allows natural resource services to return to baseline--or even improve above baseline conditions. Once natural resources have been restored and/or protected, natural resource planning and management supports the maintenance or improvement of ecological function over time.
Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA)
Great Ecology conducts Natural Resource Damage Assessments and provides ecological risk support for clients by helping them address potential or actual environmental damages and related compliance issues. Our subject matter experts are highly knowledgeable about contamination, toxicological evaluations, and ecological design and restoration of contaminated areas. With experience on over 20 NRD cases, our NRDA clients include states, trustees, and their legal counsel. Additionally, Great Ecology's staff have served as testifying and non-testifying expert witnesses for major NRD cases.
Natural Resource Management Planning
Great Ecology assists clients with developing short-term and long-term natural resource management plans through creation of site management manuals and planning documents, development of conservation easements, ecological valuations prior to land acquisition, Landscape Typology assessments, and more. We have helped municipalities develop management plans for ecological holdings, worked with clients to achieve Wildlife Habitat Council certification, and developed ecological site planning for an international airport, among other natural resource management plan projects.
Ecological Site Assessment & Valuation
Great Ecology conducts ecological site assessments to help landowners, land managers, and developers better understand the condition of their ecological assets and plan for the preservation, enhancement, restoration, creation, or adaptive management of those resources. Additionally, we help these same clients understand the monetary value of their ecological assets or owned lands that appear to have no inherent value due to limited or prohibited development opportunities.
Mitigation Bank Design & Establishment
Mitigation banking describes a system of ecological offset credits that help ensure that lost ecological function caused by development is offset by the restoration, preservation, or creation of wetlands, streams, and habitat areas critical to special status species.
Before developing a site into a mitigation bank, we conduct due diligence to understand the client’s objectives and/or compliance needs, the marketplace, and the ecological fit and function of the land. Based on this, we may create a habitat restoration plan, a business plan for the site, and/or a fixed price plan. This includes evaluating opportunities and constraints of project sites and regional anticipated mitigation credit needs that ultimately inform investment decisions for land owners, mitigation bankers, investors, and corporate landowners.
Great Ecology utilizes ecological modeling to quantitatively describe environmental attributes, leading to a greater understanding of a project site's ecological processes, limitations, and potential. We combine this with our expertise in ecological consulting to craft innovative, data-driven solutions and compelling narratives. By integrating modeling across our services we can expedite processes, identify potential impacts to projects before execution, more accurately define project timelines, and often provide cost savings. Our evolving range of ecological modeling services include:
Biological assessments offer an opportunity to assess and analyze the overall health of biotic features in an ecosystem. This may include surveying overall flora and fauna or looking for particular invasive or threatened/endangered species, as well as examining plant communities, or using remote sensing tools to better understand vegetative communities. Biological assessments can help inform planning, permitting, and natural resource strategy, as well as provide both baselines and benchmarks for restoration.
Environmental Litigation Support
Great Ecology has extensive litigation support experience assisting law firms, state agencies, port districts, industrial, energy sector, and pharmaceutical clients as both testifying and non-testifying expert witnesses. We assist both plaintiff and defense for cases involving Natural Resource Damages (NRD), Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), and more. Great Ecology's staff have contributed to the American Bar Association's NRD litigation guidebook and have presented at industry conferences including Wildlife Habitat Council and Law Seminars International.
Community Engagement & Education
At Great Ecology, we believe community engagement and education plays a vital role in ensuring long-term success for many of our conservation and restoration projects. The relationships we develop with community members, organizations, and stakeholders allows us to understand the needs of local communities and develop ecological solutions with those needs at the forefront. Working with non-government organizations (NGOs), non-profits, community groups, land trusts, and more, we promote active participation through educational workshops and informative community meetings. Great Ecology understands the management demands of ecological resources continue far beyond a project's completion date, so we make it our goal to leave these projects in the hands of educated and committed local community stewards.
Great Ecology developed Landscape Typology, a novel approach for land management that helps land managers and land owners better understand and manage their land assets. This includes GIS analysis, ground-truthing, analysis of ecosystem function, analysis of landscape type function, identifying opportunities for improving functionality, identifying opportunities to streamline maintenance procedures or reduce costs, and management planning. We can apply Landscape Typology to a single piece of property or to multiple properties, such as all parks maintained by a city or other municipality.
Water Quality Analysis & Monitoring
Water is a vital resource to our well-being, but it is uniquely vulnerable to pollution. Water quality standards are regulated through local and federal agencies to protect our waterways so they can continue to support biotic needs. Great Ecology offers extensive experience with water quality assessments of key parameters to provide data necessary to assess natural resource management activities, establish and achieve ecological benchmarks in support of restoration, and comply with thresholds for regulatory permitting and compliance. We are familiar with water regulations such as the Clean Water Act, stormwater discharge permitting, Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL), and how to ensure compliance by performing measures such as benthic invertebrates sampling, dissolved oxygen and suspended solids analysis, and more.