Leaf Litter

Biohabitats Projects, Places, and People

We’re working to preserve and restore natural capital on two university campus sites. Read about this and more Biohabitats happenings.

By Amy Nelson

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Linking Mission And Ecology With a Proposed Secondary Campus Of The College of Charleston

Biohabitats is assisting Ayers Saint Gross, Architects and Planners, in developing the College of Charleston’s historic property, Dixie Plantation. ASG and the College have proposed that the property become a secondary campus on which faculty can conduct long-term ecological research. In addition, the land can become a teaching tool for coeds and public groups to learn how to live sustainably with the land. The Biohabitats team of landscape architects and ecologists is helping to program the site and define its physical structure by characterizing the site’s various habitats and locating areas critical to the site’s ecology that should be preserved. One of our most important contributions is identifying synergies between the College’s research and public service missions and the site’s ecology. For example, we suggested establishing a research project which restores longleaf pine forests (Pinus palustris), an increasingly rare community, indigenous to the site and the region. The team’s suggestions also include ideas for the built landscape like using the fallow ground between the straight rows of pine plantations as, in some cases, “parking bays” for the visiting public and, in other cases, sustainably harvested crops or forest regeneration research.

Preserving Natural Capital at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Growing infrastructure needs and a planned expansion of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill compelled campus officials to seek Biohabitats’ expertise in ecologically-based planning to help conserve and protect valuable natural capital while also allowing the University to grow. The 1,040-acre Carolina North property has belonged to the University since it was donated in 1944 by a professor, Horace Williams. Approximately 90% of the property, which includes an airport, is currently forested with hardwood, mixed hardwood and pine stands of varying ages. Two perennial streams, Bolin Creek and Crow Branch, flow through the property on their way to the B. Everette Jordan Reservoir in the upper CapeFearRiver basin. We are evaluating the site’s vegetative and habitat composition and incorporating this information into a developmentability analysis that the University will use to guide future, environmentally sustainable growth.

First Ecological Restoration Plan Under The Great Lakes Legacy Act Underway

The Great Lakes make up one of the largest fresh water sources in the world. In an effort to clean up their most polluted areas in the Great Lakes, the United States and Canada committed to cooperate with State and Provincial Governments to ensure that Remedial Action Plans (RAPs) were developed for specially designated Areas of Concern (AOCs). One such AOC was a 39-mile stretch of the St. Louis River, the largest U.S. tributary to Lake Superior. HogIsland, part of this AOC and an area once rich in natural capital, had suffered habitat loss from sedimentation and contamination of sediments, and degraded aesthetics from oil slicks and foul odors. Located within the City of Superior, Wisconsin, HogIsland was one of the first AOCs for which remediation of contaminated sediment was successfully completed. As a next step, the EPA Region 5 turned to Biohabitats to complete the first ecological restoration plan under the Great Lakes Legacy Act. The goal of the ecological restoration plan is to develop the blueprint and processes of a self sustainable and resilient site. A diverse stakeholder group will be an integral part of the development of the plan.

Construction Begins for On-Site Mitigation of Tate Creek

If you visit the site of a road widening project along Tate Creek in Kentucky, you’re likely to run into a Biohabitats team member from our Ohio River Bioregion office. Having provided natural channel design and permitting services for this mitigation associated with a road widening project for the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC), our folks are visiting the site regularly to observe construction of this 1500-foot on-site mitigation and coordinate with KYTC personnel and the contractor. Channel and floodplain grading for the project should end in September, with final planting taking place later this year.

Largest Urban Stream Restoration in Nation

After more than a century of neglect, Nine Mile Run, the largest free flowing stream in the East End of Pittsburgh, is being transformed into a healthy and vibrant stream that supports wildlife and provides a vital nature experience for tens of thousands of community residents and visitors. The $7.7 million project, funded jointly by the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers and the City of Pittsburgh, is the largest stream restoration undertaken in a major metropolitan area by the Corps. We are proud of the role we played in this history-making restoration project. This included preparation of a comprehensive ecological restoration plan for Nine Mile Run and its riparian corridor, assistance with preparation of an Ecosystem Restoration Report and Environmental Assessment and development a comprehensive ecological restoration design and construction package for the project. On August 17, we joined the Nine Mile Run Watershed Association and other project partners for a Project Completion Ceremony. The project recently made news in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

The Shape of Streams to Come

This article in Stormwater, the Journal for Surface Water Quality Professionals, highlights Baltimore County Maryland’s efforts to restore natural balance, ecological function, and self-sustaining equilibrium to its streams and waterways. Since the early 90’s, Biohabitats has worked with BaltimoreCounty to pioneer the use of natural channel design methods and soil bioengineering techniques to restore miles of cold water and warm water streams.

Restored UVA Dell Receives Two Prestigious Awards

Until recently, The Dell on the campus of the University of Virginia was a neglected recreational area atop an underground, piped stream. The 11-acre site area had also become overgrown with invasive plant species. In collaboration with Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects (Charlottesville, VA), Biohabitats design the restoration of the Dell, which included over 1000 feet of stream daylighting and a one-acre stormwater management pond. The project aimed to restore the ecological function of Meadow Creek through the Dell; provide water quantity and quality benefits to the watershed; and improve the University’s recreational and educational amenities. The previously neglected Dell is now a showpiece at one of the “front doors” to the University.

The Dell project recently received an Inform Honor Award, an award presented annual by the Virginia Chapter of the American Institute of Architects for interiors, exteriors and landscapes. Biohabitats’ stream daylighting design also earned a Merit Award from the Potomac/Maryland Chapters of the American Society of Landscape Architects.

Making News in Poland

For those of you who can speak Polish, check out the June 2006 issue of Architektura, which includes a mention and photographs of Biohabitats-designed Mine Bank Run stream restoration. (Then, please let us know what it says!)


To those of you heading out to Flagstaff, Arizona to discuss stewardship of the Old and New West at the Natural Areas Conference September 20-23, keep an eye out for Kevin Heatley, legendary foe to invasive plant species.

Be sure to stop by the Biohabitats booth at the 2nd Annual Great Lakes Restoration Conference September 22-24 in Cleveland, Ohio. Biohabitats Great Lakes Bioregion leader, Ivette Bolender will be happy to chat with you.

Biohabitats environmental scientist Jeremy Thomas plans to attend the 7th Coastal and Estuarine Shallow Water Science and Management Conference in Atlantic City, NJ. Do you? Odds are, it’ll be a great conference.

Charlotte, NC will be the site for the 2006 Stream Restoration in the Southeast conference October 2-5. Visit the Biohabitats booth and say hello to our Southeast Bioregion leader Kevin Nunnery.

Biohabitats senior fluvial geomorphologist Vince Sortman and Southern Rocky Mountain Bioregion leader Claudia Browne will be on hand at Sustaining Colorado Watersheds, a conference taking place in Breckenridge, Colorado October 4-6. Stop by the Biohabitats table and welcome Vince to his new home state!

If you seek green solutions for a blue planet head to Minneapolis October 6-10 for the 2006 Annual Meeting & Expo/43rd International Federation of Landscape Architects World Congress. LAs interested in incorporating ecological restoration into their projects will not want to miss “Defining Ecological Restoration Success: Principles, Case Studies, and Global Implications,” presented by Biohabitats president, Keith Bowers, along with Lee Skabelund of Kansas State University, Craig Johnson of Utah State University and Kenneth Bahlinger of the Louisiana Department of Natural.

Join Biohabitats environmental scientist Bryon Salladin in learning about the latest news and research on native grasses at the 5th Eastern Native Grass Symposium, October 10-13 in New Cumberland, Pennsylvania.

Don’t miss Biohabitats Southeast Bioregion leader Kevin Nunnery’s presentation at the 55th Annual SRAPPA Conference and Exhibition Show in Durham, North Carolina October 14-17. You may also see Kevin and Biohabitats president Keith Bowers in the exhibit hall. Stop by booth #84. Just look for the giant salamander.

Kevin Heatley and Bryon Salladin will be in Pittsburgh October 25-29 to attend this year’s Society of American Foresters Annual Convention.

On November 3, Biohabitats president Keith Bowers will present “Conservation Design: Best Development Practices” at the Chesapeake Conservation Landscaping Council’s Turning A New Leaf conference in Bethesda, MD.

Biohabitats president Keith Bowers will be on hand for the 2006 Annual Water Resources Conference in Baltimore, MD.

Join us (and over 5,000 others in the green building industry) in Denver November 15-17 for Greenbuild 2006. Learn about the latest in advancement in green building design, construction, project finance and management.

If you plan to attend Restore America’s Estuaries 3rd National Conference and EXPO on Coastal and Estuarine Habitat Restoration stop by the Biohabitats booth and chat with senior ecologist Ed Morgereth.

Kick Back At The Stables

This month marks the celebration of our first year in our new home in the StablesBuilding at Clipper Mill. If you plan to be in the Baltimore area on September 28, come on by and join us at our open house. If you haven’t already done so, please click here to let us know you are coming!


If you’ve called our Chesapeake Bioregional offices recently, chances are you have spoken to Molly Streit, Biohabitats’ new Administrative Assistant. Molly joined Biohabitats this spring, after spending three years with a leading event planning company. The Cincinnati native holds a B.S. in mass communications from TowsonUniversity and one of the most interesting resumes we’ve ever seen. Her professional experience includes cooking, event planning, film and video production, client service, and even burlesque performance. We figure anyone who can dance while wearing a 15-pound headpiece can handle just about anything we throw her way. When she’s not busy manning the Biohabitats phone system and assisting our team members with everything from administrative support to fashion consultation, Molly can be found spending time with her dog Oliver and her cat Gabby.

This summer, we welcomed Marketing Assistant, Robin Allen to the Biohabitats team. Robin holds a B.A. from Webster University and an M.A. in publications design from the University of Baltimore. A Lexington, Kentucky native, Robin has more than seven years of experience in graphic design. When she’s not at work strengthening the Biohabitats brand by applying her expertise to our proposals, publications and marketing materials, Robin can be found reading, swimming, cooking or snacking. Although she’s a connoisseur of fine fromage, Robin is anything but cheesy. Creative and down-to-earth, she has been known to whip up a pitcher of homemade sangria as swiftly and expertly as she can design a striking report cover.

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