Leaf Litter

Biohabitats Projects, Places, and People

Find out what we’re up to at Biohabitats. Plus, learn about upcoming conferences and the newest member of our team.

By Amy Nelson

Article Index


Applying Ecological Restoration to Eco-Tourism in Delaware City, DE

Recognizing the many benefits eco-tourism brings to a community and its visitors, Delaware City, DE is taking the initiative to include biodiversity and habitat conservation and restoration in its revitalization plan. Main Street Delaware City, Inc., a non-profit revitalization organization, turned to Biohabitats to assess ecological resources in the area, establish priorities for the protection of existing ecological infrastructure, and make recommendations for ecological restoration and management to support a thriving eco-tourism program. After completing the assessment, we developed a concept plan highlighting ecological protection needs and restoration opportunities compatible with eco-tourism initiatives. Types of initiatives proposed include wetland restoration and enhancement, shoreline stabilization, stream restoration and invasive species control. We envision Delaware City as a superb destination for bird watching, wildlife observation, canoeing, kayaking, sport fishing, walking and jogging. Best of all, it’s only an hour and a half from our office!

Integrating Ecology, Economy and Society in Upstate New York

We are working with The Nature Conservancy, Tug Hill Commission, and the New York Department of State (DOS) on an Ecosystem Based Management Initiative for the Sandy Creeks watersheds in the Tug Hill Plateau Region of upstate New York. The project involves developing a planning strategy that strives to balance the needs of ecosystem sustainability with regional cultural and economic vitality. Ecosystem Based Management is an approach to natural resource management that integrates ecological, economic and social principles to safeguard the long-term ecological sustainability, natural diversity and productivity of natural systems. This process is driven by explicit goals, executed by sound policies and practices, and designed to adapt to ongoing research and monitoring. On the ground, it means identifying and establishing a comprehensive protected areas network within a well-managed working landscape. Our effort is part of a new pilot program initiative of the DOS and New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC).  This project explores the opportunities and challenges associated with integrated planning and management that acknowledges the complexity and importance of the relationship between man and nature.

Planning For Base Realignment At Fort Belvoir

The U.S. Army is developing a Master Plan for Fort Belvoir, 9000-acre site located outside of Washington, DC. that will soon accommodate 21,500 additional military and civilian employees as a result of the U.S. Army’s Base Realignment and Closure Committee (BRAC) 2005 decision. The post-BRAC Fort is envisioned as a high-density, transit-oriented community. Rich in natural resources (highlighted by the Accotink Bay Wildlife Refuge) the Fort includes an array of intact interior forests and tidal wetlands that support a host of threatened and endangered species and provide a key stop over for migrating birds. Biohabitats is working with Skidmore, Owings & Merrill to refine the Master Plan to include strategies that not only limit impact of development to existing resources, but create environmental and restorative benefit to the surrounding ecology. We’re also helping to plan a workshop with key stakeholders to explore the boundaries of environmental alternatives that result in long term cost/time savings and enhance the site’s aesthetic, ecological and human comfort qualities.

Physiographic Provinces Converge In Aiken, SC

The City of Aiken, South Carolina is located in the Sandhills region, with the Piedmont to the north and the Coastal Plain to the south. This convergence of physiographic provinces supports a very unique suite of habitats, and contains a stream with possibly the most diverse assemblage of macroinvertebrates documented anywhere in the world. The City has undertaken an open space planning effort to identify and assess valuable environmental areas as well as historic and educational points of interest, in an effort to preserve them. Led by our fearless Southeast Bioregion Leader, Kevin Nunnery, we are beginning our work for the City by assessing the area, identifying valuable natural, historic, cultural and educational resources and ranking their importance. We will then recommend a strategy to maximize open space and habitat quality. 


Join Biohabitats president Keith Bowers and Great Lakes Bioregion leader, Ivette Bolender at the Great Lakes Areas of Concern Conference in Cleveland, June 28-29. The event will focus on achieving restoration targets and sustaining stewardship.

San Jose, California will the THE place to be August 5-10. That’s when the Ecological Society of America and the Society for Ecological Restoration International (SER) will hold the ESA/SER Joint Meeting: Ecology-based restoration in a changing world. Stop by our booth and say hello to Biohabitats president Keith Bowers and environmental scientist Jeremy Thomas. Biohabitats senior ecologist Joe Berg will also be on hand to present “Constructed weirs and pools for safe, non-erosive conveyance of stormwater runoff: An example of regenerative design.”

If you miss Biohabitats senior ecologist Joe Berg at the ESA/SER meeting, you can catch him at Wetlands 2007 in Williamsburg, PA, where he’ll present a talk on “Wetland and Stream Ecosystem Restoration in Anne Arundel County, Maryland.”


Earlier this month, we welcomed environmental scientist, Brooke Derr to the Biohabitats team. Brooke brings over five years of experience in urban and environmental planning, including a stint with the Washington Department of Natural Resources, where she managed the planning process for 63,000 acres of state preserve and conservation land. Brooke also brings the unique combination of patience, fortitude and grit one could only find in a former middle school teacher. (She taught science during a four year hiatus from planning.) Raised on a farm near the Chesapeake Bay in Conowingo, MD, Brooke went on to earn a B.S. in horticulture/landscape design from the University of Delaware and a Master of Environmental Studies from the Evergreen State College in Washington State. Drawn to Biohabitats’ strong environmental ethic, which she saw reflected in its people, projects, and office, Brooke now applies her expertise (and yes, some of that grit and patience) to projects such as Jamaica Bay and Muskegon Lake. When she’s not at work, Brooke stays rather busy gardening and designing landscapes (with native plants, of course), making pottery and helping out with her family’s pick-your-own fruit business.

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