The Blues In Baltimore Never Sounded This Good!

With 400 miles of alleyways and hundreds of over-sized streets throughout Baltimore’s neighborhoods, there is a tremendous opportunity for innovative BMP’s that both treat stormwater and help teach people about the need for such practices.  Funded by the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation, and in partnership with Biohabitats, the Center for Watershed Protection, and the City of Baltimore, Blue Water Baltimore is engaging in a pilot campaign to retrofit four alleys with permeable surfaces and install four curbside bioretention systems in several of the City’s ultra-urban neighborhoods. Challenges of associated with this exciting project include site selection, design, permitting, and community outreach. Be sure to check our Facebook page for updates on Baltimore’s pilot blue alleys!

The Omega Center for Sustainable Living – One of the World’s First Living Buildings

The Omega Center for Sustainable Living (OCSL) at the Omega Institute for Holistic Studies is a New York-based wellness center. Biohabitats subsidiary NSI, along with John Todd Ecological design and BNIM architects, replaced Omega’s existing wastewater disposal system, which was outdated and undersized, with a biologically-diverse, immersive natural treatment system. In 2010, the OCSL became the first of two buildings in the world to be awarded Living Building certification. Omega decided to showcase the system in a building that houses an aerobic treatment pond stocked with native and tropical plants, and a classroom and laboratory.  The 52,000 gallon per day wastewater treatment system, which consists of six natural treatment steps including constructed wetlands, a planted lagoon and sand filtration, is a low energy and low maintenance system that also provides beauty and inspiration. The Omega Institute will use the ‘Eco-Machine’ wastewater facility as a teaching tool in their educational program designed around the ecological impact of their campus.

Restoration In Lake Erie Watershed: Where To Begin?

Prioritizing and implementing potential restoration projects in an area as large as the Lake Erie watershed is not easy. To assist the Buffalo District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers with this challenge, Biohabitats examined the degree to which “Federal Interest” exists in six potential ecological restoration projects within the watershed. Two of the proposed projects are in Ohio; four are in New York. The Corps’ goal is to cost-effectively enhance fish and wildlife resources and restore and protect aquatic ecosystems that improve environmental quality. To do this, we developed Determination of Federal Interest fact sheets for each site. We collected and reviewed data, performed field reconnaissance, evaluated alternatives, and provided reconnaissance level cost estimates and ecosystem benefit scenarios for each alternative. We’re thrilled that our work will help the Corps get started on these important projects!

Water Saving Goals Achieved in Mexican Soccer Stadium

Omnilife Stadium, located in Guadalajara, is the 4th largest soccer stadium in Mexico. With a seating capacity of 49,850, it is the first major stadium with a total wastewater treatment and reuse system. The stadium opened this summer by hosting the first leg of the 2010 Finals of the Copa Libertadores. All of the wastewater from the stadium (around 100,000 gallons per game!) is collected, treated, and reused on site. The unique natural treatment system, designed by Biohabitats subsidiary NSI,utilizes trickling filters, constructed wetlands, and sand filters to purify the water. Treated water is disinfected before being utilized in the stadium for toilet flushing, irrigation, and stadium washdown. The treatment and reuse system saves millions of gallons of potable water each year and minimizes pollution of regional surface and groundwater resources. Now that’s something to cheer about!

Restoring A River Altered By Mining

The City of Fort Collins Natural Areas Program manages 43 natural sites that cover more than 36,000 acres. One of those sites, the McMurray Natural Area, is the location of a riparian restoration project along the Cache La PoudreRiver. Folks in Biohabitats Southern Rocky Mountain Bioregion office are in the design and permitting phase o this exciting design/build project. The restoration involves re-establishing the hydrologic connection between the river and its riparian area and floodplain, which had been altered by sand/gravel mining. In the first phase of the project, an embankment that had been constructed to protect the mining operation from the river will be lowered and this material will be placed in one of the two abandoned mining pits (currently open water ponds) to create various types of wetlands as well as different zones of trees and shrubs. The second phase of the project will completely remove the embankment and create more wetland and vegetation zones in the second pond.  Once completed, the entire project will create over four times the amount of existing wetland and provide a full, 300-foot riparian buffer along the Cache La Poudre River.

Stream: Meet Your Long-Lost Floodplain

The Anne Arundel County, Maryland Department of Public Works turned to Biohabitats for help in restoring a degraded tributary in the suburban Crofton area using regenerative stream conveyance. Severe bank erosion and channel incision into loose Coastal Plain deposits had degraded the channel’s stability, water quality and aquatic habitat. It also threatened the infrastructure of an adjacent community.

Using a regenerative design approach that reconnects the stream to its floodplain, Biohabitats’ design eliminates the high, eroding banks, restores channel stability and allows for the renewal of the system’s ecological function. The design also improves water quality and creates conditions favorable for native biota while naturally controlling invasive species. After receiving approval from state and local authorities, the upstream portion of the restoration design was constructed in January of 2011. The restored portion of the channel is functioning as designed and will be planted this spring. Construction of the downstream portion is slated for the fall of 2011.


Biohabitats is delighted to sponsor the annual gathering of members of the Mid-Atlantic chapter of the Society for Ecological Restoration International (SER). This year’s event will take place in College Park, MD on April 1.

On April 1-3 Biohabitats ecologist Suzanne Hoehne will be attending the Midwest/Great Lakes chapter of SER meeting in Springfield, IL.

Biohabitats landscape architect Adam Ganser will be showcasing the great work he’s done on Philadelphia’s Washington Avenue Green at Brownfields 2011 on April 3-5.

If you’re heading to Portland, Oregon next month for this year’s meeting of the U.S. Regional Association of the International Association for Landscape Ecology, say hello to Biohabitats ecological landscape designer Jennifer Dowdell. Jenn will present “A holistic approach to planning – green infrastructure at the campus scale” on April 6.

On April 7-9, Biohabitats landscape architect Michael Spina will attend the Atlantic Estuarine Research Society’s Spring 2011 Meeting  in Solomons, MD. This year’s theme is: “Our Changing Coasts:  From Observation to Restoration.”

On April 27, water resources engineer Mike Lighthiser will depart Biohabitats Southern Rocky Mountain Bioregion office for Boise, Idaho to share his knowledge of “Stormwater Retrofitting to Restore Ecosystems Along Linear Projects” to attendees at the Idaho Transportation Department’s 2011 Project Development Conference.

Biohabitats water resources engineer Phil Jones and ecological landscape designer Jennifer Dowdell will join forces to present “Bringing Back the Bay Through Living Infrastructure“ to members of the Virginia Chapter of the ASLA at their annual meeting on April 29th in Lynchburg, VA.

On May 4-5, Biohabitats president Keith Bowers will address members of the North Carolina chapter of the American Society for Landscape Architects at their spring conference in Durham, NC. If you’re attending, you won’t want to miss Keith’s presentation of “Moving Beyond Sustainability to Regenerative Design.”

Biohabitats is proud to be a sponsor of the 2011 Ohio Stormwater Conference on May 12-13. If you plan to join in this great event, you won’t want to miss presentations by water resources engineer Jennifer Zielinski and Biohabitats Great Lakes Bioregion leader Ivette Bolender!

We’re also delighted to sponsor the 11th Annual Meeting of the American Ecological Engineering Society in Asheville, NC May 23-25. Be sure to visit us at the Biohabitats booth!

Biohabitats president Keith Bowers will head to Victoria, British Columbia to speak at the Restoration Institute’s exploration of Novel Ecosystems: When and how do we intervene in the new world ecological order? Prior to the conference, Keith will join 30 key scientists and policy specialists from around the world in a workshop on the same topic.


Good News For Earth! Biohabitats Acquires Natural Systems International

As more than a billion people worldwide are living without clean drinking water and another 2.6 billion lack adequate water sanitation, the need for expertise in developing and implementing sustainable solutions to preserve ecosystems and support biodiversity has never been more critical. Good thing Biohabitats recently acquired Santa Fe-based Natural Systems International (NSI), a firm dedicated to the reuse and restoration of water, wastewater and stormwater! Together, Biohabitats and NSI will help clients worldwide to reuse, conserve and manage water while regenerating ecosystems and biodiversity.

A Shell Of A Good Time At Biohabitats Happy Hour In North Charleston!

Last week, our new Southeast Bioregion was the site of a fantastic, Low Country oyster roast happy hour. Biohabitats was happy to sponsor this fun event at the Navy Yard at Noisette. Joining Biohabitats president for the festivities were senior ecologists Kevin Nunnery and Joe Berg, senior scientist Kevin Heatley and water resources engineers Jennifer Zielinski and Jon Hathaway. Though the happy hour is over, you’re always welcome to stop by and visit our new office at 2120 Noisette Blvd., Suite 106B in North Charleston, or give us a call at 843.529.3235.

Environmental Scientist Paul Kovalcik Goes Back To His Roots

After spending nearly seven years in Biohabitats’ Chesapeake/Delaware Bays Bioregion office in Baltimore, environmental scientist Paul Kovalcik returned to his native Ohio to join the staff at our Great Lakes Bioregion office. Paul has played a major role in Biohabitats’ Great Lakes projects, including the HogIsland and Muskegon Lake Ecological Master Plans for the U.S. EPA. He’s eager to step even deeper into the Lakes as he contributes to more Biohabitats projects in the region. If you’re in the Cleveland Area, please stop by our Great Lakes Bioregion office (link to locations page) and say hello to Paul!

Jon Hathaway, Ph.D., P.E.

Water Resources Engineer

When it comes to the mysteries of stormwater pollution, Jon is our Sherlock Holmes. No waterborne microbe’s secret is safe when this water resources engineer is on the scene. For more than seven years, Jon has studied and monitored contaminants in water. He has also designed, monitored and secured grants for many innovative stormwater BMP and LID projects. Jon’s investigative talents recently earned him an invitation to Australia’s MonashUniversity (one of the world’s top stormwater research universities), where he studied microbe variability in stormwater runoff. These studies, along with Jon’s growing body of work, will undoubtedly contribute to the development of better models and management strategies for pollutants in stormwater. A loyal Wolfpack fan, Jon has earned three degrees from North CarolinaStateUniversity.  His roots began with a bachelor’s in civil and environmental engineering and his master’s and Ph.D. are in biological and agricultural engineering.  When he is not busy detecting the presence, cause, transport mode, and fate of stormwater pollutants, Jon can be found hiking in the mountains, renovating his 1950 bungalow with his wife, Amy. All we know is that no waterborne microbe’s secret is safe when this water resources engineer is on the scene.

Becky Fleming

Staff Accountant

Becky’s love of the outdoors permeates every aspect of her active, from the kickball field to the dodge ball court to the volleyball pit. So it makes sense that when she does her crunches–of numbers, that is–she does so for a company that shares her passion for the environment. We’re delighted to welcome Becky as staff accountant. She brings over six years of experience in financial and customer services, which she is already applying to tasks such as financial reporting, accounts payable/receivable and payroll. Becky holds a B.S. in Accounting from the University of Maryland and an Associate Degree in Social Science from Howard Community College. She is currently pursuing her M.S. in Accounting and Financial Management from the University of Maryland. So if you happen to play in an outdoor sports league in Maryland, keep an eye out for Becky. But remember, when it comes to numbers, she doesn’t play around.

Kevin Grieser

Landscape Ecologist

Within minutes of meeting Kevin, you wonder, “Is there anything this guy can’t do?” An Eagle Scout, Fulbright Scholar, father of two, home brewer, soccer player, and goalie in an adult ice hockey league, this multi-talented landscape ecologist is obviously up for anything. Perhaps that explains how he was once able to design and install 175 riparian buffer restoration projects in only three years. Kevin holds an M.S. in Forest and Natural Resources Management from the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry and a B.L.A. from Penn State University. When he’s not busy restoring ecosystems, blocking goals, brewing his own beer, or studying wolves in Alaska and Italy (yes, there are wolves in Italy), Kevin can be found enjoying the outdoors with his family and dogs.  We wonder, though…when does he sleep?

Got an idea?

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