A Sustainable Future for Alabama’s Largest Living Museum

The 68-acre Birmingham Botanical Gardens is Alabama’s largest living museum, with more than 10,000 different plants in its living collections and over 25 unique gardens. With public education being an important part of its mission, the Gardens turned to the Oasis Design Group-Biohabitats team for help in developing a master plan that would help demonstrate sustainability principles for their 350,000 annual visitors. Biohabitats focused primarily on establishing a more regenerative approach to stormwater management that makes use of natural ecological processes and emphasizes native vegetation. Our engineers, landscape architects and ecologists helped conceptualize the restoration of a prominent creek and the conversion of a concrete-lined pond into a wetland and riparian ecological community. We also led a seminar on sustainability. The Gardens strives to “enhance life by connecting people with plants.” With a master plan that promotes a high level of sustainability, they are well poised to forge these connections for generations.

Ecological Design-Build Project on Lake Erie Marina

The Lake Erie Marina on Middle Bass Island was in dire need of safety upgrades to fulfill the pressing needs of the boating community. Joining forces with our sister company Ecological Restoration & Management, we applied a unique approach to the marina’s landscape which allowed for marina upgrades and the establishment of campground facilities while also enhancing ecological function. Our planting plan recommendations included: vernal pool planted with 133 trees (red maple, black gum, swamp white oak, and pin oak); category 3 wetland planted with 37 shrubs (bar willow, alder, black willow, and red maple); vegetated shallows planted with 6,898 submerged aquatic plants (water lily, wild celery, sago pondweed, and long-leafed pondweed); and 0.24 acres of American lotus replacement. Construction/installation of this design-build project is slated to begin this spring. The marina will be the first Lake Erie marina to be surrounded by high quality restored wetlands.

A Woodland Memorial to Kentucky Veterans

In the southwest part of Jefferson County, Kentucky, at the northern edge of the Kentucky Knobs, over 6,000 wooded acres of steep hills and hollows form the Jefferson Memorial Forest. Established in the 1940s as a tribute to Jefferson County veterans, the Forest is a natural oasis just miles from the commercial and residential developments of Louisville. Biohabitats helped put together a consultant team, headed by architectural firm Jones & Jones, which was selected by Metro Parks to carry out the development of a master plan for the Forest. By engaging stakeholders and performing a natural resources overview that examined geological characteristics, soils, watersheds and streams, forest communities, and ecological hubs and linkages, Biohabitats was able to help guide the formulation of a plan that respects and enhances the ecological significance of this immensely large and important park. With a completed draft master plan, and a community committed to its stewardship, Jefferson Memorial Forest should stand, expand and continue to pay tribute to its honorees for a very, very long time.


The Chesapeake Bay Chesapeake Research Consortium’s Ecosystem Based Management: The Chesapeake and Other Systems Conference will be held in Baltimore March 22-25.

Biohabitats President Keith Bowers will participate in a session entitled “The Past, Present, and Possible Futures of Small Tributaries to the Chesapeake Bay: Implications for Ecosystem Services.”

Biohabitats ISM Vice President, Kevin Heatley, will join members of the National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO) at the Smart and Sustainable Campuses Conference in College Park, MD on April 5-7.

The Salt Lake Sustainable Building Conference will take place on April 7. Biohabitats San Francisco Bay Bioregion leader Allegra Bukojemsky will present, “The Sustainable Sites Initiative – Guidelines for Landscape Sustainability.”

Given the “Designing for Life,” theme of this year’s meeting of the Utah Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects it’s no surprise that Allegra will be presenting there as well. The meeting will be held April 24-25 in Park City, UT.

The California chapter of the Society for Ecological Restoration (SERCAL) is teaming with the California Native Grasslands Association to present the SERCAL/CNGA Joint Conference April 29-May 1 in Folsom, CA. Biohabitats San Francisco Bay Bioregion Leader Allegra Bukojemsky wouldn’t miss this one for the world.

Representatives from Biohabitats Great Lakes and Ohio River Bioregions will be on hand at the 2009 Ohio Stormwater Conference. Water Resources Engineer Jennifer Zielinski will showcase our approach to conservation planning, which is applicable to many growing communities in the region. Water Resource Specialist Ivette Bolender will deliver a presentation on Biohabitats’ Nine Mile Creek project. Environmental Scientist Suzanne Hoehne will also join in the fun. Be sure to stop by the Biohabitats booth. We are proud to sponsor this conference presented by the Mill Creek Watershed Council of Communities, the Ohio Water Environment Association, the Regional Storm Water Collaborative, and the Tinkers Creek Watershed Partners.


Water Resources Engineer Jennifer Zielinski was recently invited to join the Board of Directors of the Chesapeake Stormwater Network, a new nonprofit working towards more sustainable stormwater management in the Chesapeake Bay. With her background in stormwater and her experience managing programs in the non-profit sector, Jen was a natural choice for the role of Treasurer. As such, she will help guide the organization and provide oversight of its financial health. As the organization’s only out-of-state Board member, Jen also bring a national perspective to the organization.

Across the United States, there is a pressing need for a national framework to guide sustainable community initiatives. Inspired by the success of the LEED Green Building Rating System™ developed by USGBC, the ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability USA has initiated development of a national, consensus-based system with indicators and metrics that will help local governments set priorities and maximize their investments in strategic actions. Biohabitats own Amelia Greiner was appointed to a Technical Advisory Committee of the STAR Community Index. In this role, Amelia will help develop the indicators and metrics that this benchmarking tool will use.

Got an idea?

Contact The Editor

Sign up for Leaf Litter

Browse by topic

Browse by year