Achieving Ecological Integrity & Economic Prosperity: Sandy Creeks Ecosystem Based Management Initiative

Tug Hill is a rural, 2,100 square mile region of New York State located between Lake Ontario and the Adirondacks. The region is heavily forested, contains the headwaters of several major rivers, and receives the heaviest snowfall in the eastern U.S.  Much of Tug Hill’s economy – production of wood products, paper manufacturing, farming, water-generated electric power, canoeing, hunting, fishing, trapping, etc. – is deeply connected with the region’s natural resources, as are its cultural and recreational foundations.

Within Tug Hill, along the eastern shore of Lake Ontario, are the Sandy Creeks Watersheds (which include the Stoney Creek, Sandy Creek, South Sandy Creek, and Little Sandy Creek watersheds). In an effort to balance the protection and management of a restored, sustainable ecosystem with economic, cultural and recreational vitality for local communities, The Tug Hill Commission and The Nature Conservancy selected Biohabitats to develop an Ecosystem Based Management (EBM) strategy for the watersheds. The goal of the EBM strategy is to enable and empower the Tug Hill Commission and the watershed communities to pursue and secure funding to develop an EBM Plan and, ultimately, implement the Plan’s recommendations. Since this Initiative aims to demonstrate the link between natural, cultural, recreational and economic resources, we are pleased to partner with Camoin Associates, an economic development firm based in Saratoga Springs, NY, who will assist in assessing and documenting the important economic links between the rich natural and human resources of the region. We are eager to begin work on this exciting project with data collection and review in early 2007.

Great Lakes Legacy Act Restoration Project Underway on Hog Island

Hog Island in Superior, Wisconsin, was one of the first sites for which cleanup of contaminated sediments was completed under the Great Lakes Legacy Act Hog Island had suffered habitat loss from sedimentation and industrial contamination of sediments and degraded aesthetics from oil slicks and foul odors. After completing the cleanup, the U.S. EPA’s Great Lakes National Program Office turned to Biohabitats to prepare the first ecological restoration plan under the Great Lakes Legacy Act.

The goal is to develop the blueprint and create a process for restoring degraded sites to self-sustaining and resilient ecosystems. This project is intended to guide future restoration efforts within the Great Lakes. With data collection and field work complete, we are currently wrapping up our ecological and physical analyses. We look forward to meeting with stakeholders in January 2007 to present our findings, collaboratively define a restoration vision, and develop specific recommendations for the ecological restoration master plan.

Biohabitats In The News

Our work on Nine Mile Run in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania was mentioned in an article in the October 2006 issue of Civil Engineering. Begun in 2003 and recently completed, Nine Mile Run is the largest urban stream restoration project conducted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

If you are “teed off” about the degradation of streams resulting from residential and commercial development you might enjoy an article about the restoration of Pike Creek at Three Little Bakers Golf Course in the USGA’s publication Green Section Record. Construction of this Biohabitats-designed project in northern Delaware was completed this fall. Goals of this project included habitat creation, bank stabilization, water quality improvement and floodplain restoration.


Biohabitats president, Keith Bowers, will present “Conservation Design: Best Development Practices” at the Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve’s 7th Annual Land Ethics Symposium, on February 15, 2007.  The symposium will take place amidst the picturesque woodlands and meadows of this 134-acre Preserve.

We are thrilled to sponsor Ed Snodgrass’ keynote address “Combining Art, Science and Technology to Improve Our Living Space” at the 2nd Annual Low Impact Development Conference March 12-14 in Wilmington, NC.  Stop by the Biohabitats and chat with Kevin Nunnery from our Southeast Bioregional office, who will be on hand to participate.


This fall, we welcomed Joey Weidle, a CADD specialist with a lively personality and an unbelievably unique background. A Harvard University graduate with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology, Joey is somewhat of a modern day Renaissance man. He has designed cell phone towers, restored furniture, performed construction work, played and coached American football in France, edited a literary magazine, and rigged theatrical stages. Joey brings to the Biohabitats team an extraordinary – and most unusual — skill set. Sure, he can pull a profile or create a surface in MicroStation and AutoCAD 3D, but what really impresses us is his ability to eat Rice Krispies hands-free with a spoon inserted in his nose, a skill he once demonstrated on the David Letterman Show (true!).

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