Technology of Ecology
Great Ecology utilizes various technologies to support the execution of our full range of services. These technologies are critical tools that allow us to gather more information about a project site, dive deeper into data, understand the short- and long-term response to design, develop impactful outreach materials, and more. We highlight a few of these "technologies of ecology" below.
Pressure Equalizing Module (PEM)
What are PEMs?
Licensed in the US by EcoShore International, PEMs are an innovative beach erosion control device that aids in improving beach drainage by allowing the top layers of sand to dry out and accumulate additional sand over time. A PEM is a narrow, hollow tube made from high-density polyethylene, the tube is sealed at the base and contains a small vent at the top. Each PEM contains small slits along the side, which aid in distributing water throughout lower layers of the beach. PEMs are installed vertically, about 3 - 6 feet under the sand - rendering them invisible to beachgoers. Installation of PEMs is easy, requiring only lightweight equipment and sufficient beach depth to implement. The benefits PEMs provide include:
- They require no energy to operate
- They do not result in down-drift erosion
- They do not create scarps/sand walls
- No adverse environmental effects
- They work even better during storms
- They are easy to install and remove
- They are a cost-effective alternative to preventing & remediating beach erosion
How do PEMs work?
When installed vertically in a beach, PEMs connect the many layers under the beach's top layer of sand allowing for seawater to drain down and the top layers to dry out. On a typical beach, the water does not drain down into the lower layers fast enough. This leaves the top layers of sand more wet than necessary during falling tides, restricting waves from filtering through the beach and depositing sand. Instead, sand is washed back to sea and the beach erodes. Installing PEM's results in improved beach drainage enabling waves to deposit more suspended sand on the beach, rather than pulling the sand back into the ocean, causing the beach to build up overtime.
Great Ecology & PEMs
We are currently executing our first Pilot Study utilizing PEMs to stop and reverse beach erosion for private homeowners in East Hampton, NY. You can learn more about this project by following the link below. Great Ecology maintains a relationship with EcoShore, the exclusive US distributor of PEMs.
Current PEM Projects
Geographic Information System (GIS)
What is GIS?
Esri, the leading provider of GIS software, describes GIS as "a framework for gathering, managing, and analyzing data." It allows us to analyze spatial location and organize layers of information into visual maps and 3D renderings, revealing deeper insights into data, such as patterns, relationships, and situations. In short, GIS is the technology we use to perform environmental modeling.
What is Environmental Modeling?
Environmental modeling is a powerful tool that allows us to see the unseen. Whether analyzing the water cycle, nutrient cycle, community succession, or energy flow, environmental modeling reveals meaningful insights into the past, present, and future of a location. Advancements in mapping technology are allowing for previously qualitative environmental attributes to be described quantitatively, leading to a greater understanding of ecological processes, limitations, and potential. At Great Ecology, we integrate environmental modeling into projects to improve restoration strategy, design, monitoring, and management, while developing a deeper understanding of the ecological dependencies and emergent properties of the area.
Great Ecology & GIS
Great Ecology utilizes state-of-the-art ArcGIS software from Esri to facilitate a range of environmental services across multiple industries. We combine the capabilities of GIS with our expertise in ecological consulting to craft innovative, data-driven solutions and compelling narratives for stakeholder communication. By integrating GIS applications across the Great Ecology spectrum, we can expedite processes, identify potential impacts to projects before execution, more accurately define project timelines, and often provide cost savings for our clients.
We provide a continuously evolving range of environmental GIS solutions including:
- Habitat Suitability Modeling
- Watershed Analysis & Modeling
- Topographic Analysis
- Contamination Mapping
- Multi-factor Screening & Anaysis
- 3D Visualization
- Remote Sensing Data Collection
- Data Inventory, Harvesting, & Modeling
- Geodatabase Development
Select GIS Projects
- New York & New Jersey Sea Level Rise Planning
- Denver Parks & Rec Landscape Typology
- Town of Erie Landscape Typology & Open Space Management
- Southern California Solar Site Visual Impact Analysis
- New Jersey Industrial Site Natural Resource Damage Assessment
- New York City Container Terminal Mitigation Strategy
Great Ecology & Renderings
Renderings are a critical tool that we use in our landscape architecture, green infrastructure, and restoration projects, as well as for site permitting efforts and public outreach. Whether for urban park restorations or semi-rural brownfield redevelopments, our renderings help to inform site design, highlight ecological features, and demonstrate the long term effects of project implementation, such as damage (or lack thereof) to local viewsheds.