Improving Ecology In Two Salt Lake City Parks

Red Butte Creek flows through Miller Park, a deep, tree-filled glen in a Salt Lake City neighborhood. Over the last few decades, Red Butte Creek’s channel has suffered from severe erosion and downcutting. Despite this degradation, the steep valley, with its abundance of trees in an otherwise semi-arid region, has become a bird sanctuary.  Biohabitats and subconsultant Design Workshop were recently selected by the Salt Lake City Parks and Public Lands Division to help restore the creek’s stability, enhance wildlife habitat, and improve filtration.

Biohabitats is also helping the Salt Lake City Parks and Public Lands Division with the restoration of Liberty Lake, located downstream of Miller Park on Red Butte Creek, in the city’s second largest urban park, Liberty Park. Following the cleanup of an oil spill in 2010, a concrete edge was installed along the outside of the lake. To help the Division restore the site’s ecology, Biohabitats will develop a design for removing some of the concrete and surrounding turf and creating a mosaic of emergent, wet meadow, and willow wetlands.  The wetlands, which will feature plants native to the region, will not only add habitat and beauty to the lake, but also provide water quality treatment.

Dig It! A Suburban Stream Restoration Begins

Earlier this month, officials in Baltimore County, Maryland broke ground for the construction of the Jennifer Branch Stream Restoration. Over the past several decades, this suburban stream experienced straightening, encroachment, stream and bank erosion, and flooding as a cumulative impact of development in the watershed.  With tall, eroding banks, poor habitat, and exposed sewer lines, the degraded stream system was threatening infrastructure and property.

With funding assistance from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, the Baltimore County Department of Environmental Protection and Sustainability (DEPS) is leading this restoration of over 6,000 linear feet of Jennifer Branch. Biohabitats was thrilled to see those shovels hit the soil to launch the implementation ofour natural channel design. Once completed, Jennifer Branch will be on its way to improved water quality, stability and habitat; reduced sediment loading; and an enhanced riparian buffer. It will also be a beautiful, natural, resilient area for people to enjoy amidst a congested, suburban neighborhood. For more information, visit Baltimore County’s web site.

Constructed Wetlands Enhance Sea Lion Exhibit At Fresno Zoo

Fresno Zoo’s Sea Lion Cove exhibit, which opened last month, is modeled on the ecology of California’s Central coast and features sea lions, seals and pelicans in a 200,000 gallon pool. Visitors are afforded an up close and personal view 35 feet underwater through a massive glass window into the depths of the exhibit.  Underwater viewing requires pristine water quality, however, and that’s where Biohabitats’ expertise comes in. Working with T.A. Maranda & Associates, who designed the primary water filtration and life support systems, Biohabitats created a constructed wetlands system to recycle the backwash water generated by the filtration system, saving the Zoo up to 200,000 gallons of fresh, potable water per year. Instead of dumping the backwashed water to the sewer, the natural treatment system first settles the water to reduce solids, then provides biofiltration of organic matter and nutrients in the subsurface flow constructed wetlands. Water recovered from the wetlands is then returned to the filtration system for polishing and disinfection before being returned to the exhibit’s pools.

Restoring Stability And Ecology In Urban Nature Preserve

With nearly 100 acres of forested ravines, wetlands, streams, springs, waterfalls and historic features, the Cove Spring Park/Nature Preserve is one of Frankfort, Kentucky’s most popular public parks. To our delight, it is about to get even better.   Thanks to the City of Frankfort and the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, construction of an exciting stream and wetland restoration project is now underway. Before the restoration, a tributary to Cove Spring, Penitentiary Branch, was eroding and downcutting severely during storms.  Biohabitats’ design not only reconnects the stream with its floodplain, adding stability, it also creates habitat and reduces erosion.  The restoration will create conditions more favorable to amphibians, small fish and many other organisms in headwater streams. We look forward to returning to monitor the project in the spring of 2013!

Reclaiming Nature’s Right to Water

Water is a precious commodity in Colorado, and its distribution is governed by water rights–some of which date back to the mid to late 1800s. Old diversion structures and ditches abound throughout the state, and the City of Fort Collins is no exception.  The City recently joined forces with the Colorado Water Trust in an effort to restore ecological flows back in the Poudre River. As part of that effort, Biohabitats is developing a design for the removal of two impediments on the Poudre River:  an abandoned concrete diversion structure and an embankment structure that was installed during gravel mining operations. The design will not only remove the impediments, which had caused sediment trapping and upstream ponding, but restore floodplain connection and fish passage. It will also create wetlands, adding habitat and filtration. By this time next year, we expect to see this reach of the Poudre flowing freely.


from September 30-October 5, EcoSummit 2012will bring together the world’s most respected minds in ecological science to discuss restoring the planet’s ecosystems.  Among those respected minds will be Biohabitats senior environmental scientist Dr. Peter May, who will present on the use of algae to clean wastewater and create a biofuel in New York City, and ecological landscape designer Jennifer Dowdell, who will present on the topic of Environmental Justice & Watershed Planning. EcoSummit will also include a special workshop on traditional ecosystem knowledge.

What will be the future of New York City’s Central Park woodlands? On October 5, Biohabitats president Keith Bowers will join a distinguished group of panelists in discussing just that at  Bridging the Nature-Culture Divide II: Stewardship of Central Park’s Woodlands. The event is hosted by the Cultural Landscape Foundation and sponsored by Central Park Conservancy. Click here to register.

Biohabitats’ water resources engineers Ted Brown and Jennifer Zielinski wouldn’t miss the 2012 Watershed and Stormwater Conference in Baltimore for the world! Hosted by the Center for Watershed Protection and the Association of Watershed and Stormwater Professionals, the event aims to strengthen the multidisciplinary approach to watershed management. Ted will join panelists addressing watershed planning and Jennifer will present on the use of regenerative stormwater design in areas of redevelopment.

Biohabitats president Keith Bowers will be in Columbia, South Carolina October 10-11 to attend the 2012 South Carolina Water Resources Conference. The goal of the conference is part of Clemson University’s Center for Watershed Excellence’s efforts to work towards collaborative management of water resources across the state and the region.

On October 15-18, Senior ecologist Kevin Nunnery and fluvial geomorphologist Vince Sortman will head to Wilmington, North Carolina for Stream Restoration in the Southeast. Kevin and Vince will present talks on regenerative stormwater conveyance and variations in stream restoration designs.

The Urban Land Institute (ULI) will hold its 2012 Fall Meeting in Denver, Colorado on October 16-19. The theme of the event is What’s Next: Real Estate in the New Economy. If you’re there, be sure to keep an eye out for ULI member, Keith Bowers, who recently joined ULI’s Sustainable Development Council.

Biohabitats is pleased to support this year’s Passaic River Symposium, which will take place on October 12 in Upper Montclair, New Jersey.

The 23rd Annual National Bioneers Conference October 19-21 in San Rafael, California. Biohabitats Associate Engineer Erin English

If you are heading to Tampa, Florida October 20-24 for the 2012 Restore America’s Estuaries Conference be sure to stop by the Biohabitats booth (#412) and chat with senior ecologists Terry Doss, Ed Morgereth and Joe Berg. Ed will share the story of Lardner’s Point Park, ecologically-based riverfront revitalization. Joe’s poster: “Regenerative design and ecological engineering of direct coastal drainages to restore lost resource function and optimize ecological services” is sure to live up to its lengthy title in terms of awesomeness!

The Society for College and University Planning is holding its Southern Regional Conference in Raleigh, North Carolina October 21-24. The theme of this year’s gathering is “Innovative Leadership.” Jon Hathaway, water resources engineer from Biohabitats Southeast Bioregion office, will join representatives from the University of North Carolina to  share information about how the University is making its new Carolina North campus a model of sustainability.

Biohabitats president Keith Bowers will be among featured speakers at this year’s EcoDistricts Summit in Portland, Oregon October 23-26.

On October 25, the Maryland Association of Floodplain and Stormwater Managers will hold its annual conference in Linthicum, Maryland. Water resources engineer Phil Jones will join representatives from the City of Gaithersburg will present their work evaluating green street retrofit opportunities throughout the city.

Biohabitats is happy to support The Cherry Creek Stewardship Partners annual conference on November 1 in Denver, Colorado.

Greenbuild, which will take place in San Francisco November 14-16, is the world’s  largest conference and expo dedicated to green building. Biohabitats Associate Engineer Erin English will be there to present From the Ground Up: Sowing a New Crop of Sustainable Leaders. Don’t miss it!


Meet the newest members of the Biohabitats team.

Tristan Burwell 

A creative, Star Wars-obsessed kid with a knack for metalworking and machinery, Tristan Burwell once aspired to a career as a special effects artist. But as his love of the outdoors began to eclipse his fervor for the force, Tristan decided to use technical skills to make a positive impact on the environment. As Biohabitats’ newest CADD technician, Tristan is applying his expertise in civil design and 3D modeling experience to do just that. Awfully glad he chose this career path, we are.

Tory Grieves

What does environmental scientist Tory Grieves have in common with former U.S. President and National Parks creator, Theodore Roosevelt? If you guessed a passion for the environment, you’re only partially correct. Like Roosevelt, Tory also knows what it feels like to sit atop a horse and command troops. A Cadet Major in the last junior cavalry of the U.S. while in high school, Tory is not one to shy away from challenge and responsibility (and the chance to wave a sword!). The newest member of Biohabitats’ Hudson River Bioregion office, Tory is eager to put her enthusiasm to work for the environment. Field notebook and GPS unit in hand, she’s ready to charge into the field and battle for a better planet!

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