May 28, 2021 | By:
Sandhill Cranes

Biohabitats Restoration Projects

Featured image above: Sandhill Cranes flock flying, Bosque del Apache NWR (c) Dave Foreman

Editors’ note:  Increasingly, Rewilding Earth will offer successful examples of rewilding work on the ground and in the water. We will link readers and listeners with projects they can join or from which they can learn for their own work on behalf of wild Nature. One of the richest sources on-line for local to regional scale restoration stories is Biohabitats is a highly successful ecological restoration company started by Keith Bowers, whom we are fortunate to be able to call a friend and member of our Rewilding Leadership Council.  The links and short summaries below give but a small sampling of the hundreds of restoration projects around North America undertaken by Biohabitats. Keith and his company are also at the forefront of thinking about how local restoration work can grow into broader rewilding.

Middle Nemah Stream Habitat Assessment and Restoration Design
Pacific County, Washington
A watershed-wide plan charts the course and ignites action to protect and restore the last best salmonid rearing and spawning habitat, and results in the design of the first and highest-priority restoration reach.

Zion East Gateway Lodge and Visitor Center: Ecological Assessment and Integrated Water Strategies
Zion National Park East Gateway, Utah
Designed in consideration of its ecological and hydrological setting, Zion National Park’s East Gateway Lodge and Visitor Center will treat effluent with a zero discharge water recycling approach.

Bear, Mary’s, and Ferris Creeks Habitat Restoration
Knappa, Oregon
Southern side of Svensen Slough, a side channel of the Columbia River, was a spruce swamp. Over time, as levees subsided and lowland floodplains regained some tidal connectivity, many areas became unsuitable for farming. A 60-acre site owned by Clatsop County and three private landowners, provided some habitat for several species of salmonids.

The Sage School
Hailey, Idaho
The Sage School was founded in 2009 to redefine humanity’s relationship with the natural world. Focused on adolescents, the school combines modern brain science with a curriculum centered on human ecology and engaging experiences designed to promote self-awareness, community responsibility, and a sense of place. Since its founding, the school had been located on a 4.2-acre property containing two modular buildings, a main building, and a greenhouse.

West Creek at Buckeye Stream
Parma, Ohio
Urban stream restoration enhances habitat and reduces pollutant loads entering Lake Erie.

Big Elk Meadows Riparian Restoration Project
Larimer & Boulder Counties, Colorado
Stability, habitat, ecological function, and resilience restored in flood-damaged area.


Big Thompson River Restoration
Larimer County, Colorado
Repair of flood damaged river corridor: Rooted in understanding the river and its formative progressions through natural stream evolutionary processes and anthropogenic activities within the watershed, the restoration design was crafted to work with natural processes of the stream and incorporate local, native materials wherever possible.

Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center
Albuquerque, New Mexico
A prominent and engaging wetland habitat feature and a water-wise approach are key features of a center serving visitors to the first urban wildlife refuge in the Southwest.

Galisteo Creek Phase 2
Galisteo, New Mexico
A restored reach of Galisteo Creek serves as a natural riparian preserve for the enjoyment of all residents.

JE Canyon Ranch and Lower Purgatoire Ecohydrology Study
Las Animas County, Colorado (Trinidad)
In the dramatically dry landscape of southeastern Colorado canyonlands, strategic water management supports conservation values and resiliency for wildlife and ranching communities in the face of an uncertain future climate.

Santa Fe Botanical Garden Stormwater Management
Santa Fe, NM
Arroyo erosion control and passive irrigation channels transform stormwater management infrastructure into a beautiful and useful amenity.

Santa Fe River Management
Santa Fe River, New Mexico
The Santa Fe River valley, like so many places in the Southwest, has seen a transition of land use from small irrigated farms to urban development. Over the years the middle reaches of the river valley became steadily degraded by the cumulative effects of water diversion, over grazing, gravel mining, and urban development.

Santa Fe County has taken on the challenge of restoring the ecologic condition of the river and is in the midst of a comprehensive Greenways project to restore the river corridor and create parks and a continuous 12-mile pedestrian/bicycle trail. Working with the City of Santa Fe and community groups, the County has implemented several segments of the project and brought in Biohabitats to assist with the work.

Restoration Services for the City of Fort Collins
Fort Collins, CO
Multiple departments within the City of Fort Collins have applied an ecological, holistic approach to wetland and riparian management using revegetation, monitoring, and mitigation projects to improve biodiversity and resiliency of restoration efforts on City lands.

Long Beach Island (Surf City) Dune Grass Removal/Replanting
Sensitive dune areas cleared of hazards for visitor safety concerns were re-established into a stable and functional coastal habitat for endemic species.

Big Cypress National Preserve – Restoration of 50-Mile Bend
Collier County, Florida
The removal of thousands of cubic yards of fill material allows a native South Florida marsh ecosystem toward recovery.

Wallooskee-Youngs Restoration, Cowlitz Indian Tribe
Astoria, Oregon
A 200-acre dairy farm is converted to a vibrant wetland complex centered on a restored tidal marsh.

City of Bowie Invasive Species Management Study
Bowie, Maryland
As Maryland’s 5th largest city, Bowie covers about 18 square miles of land in northeastern Prince George’s County. Many important natural resources are either contained within or are adjacent to the City’s boundaries. Large park areas can be found within the City, while the Patuxent River, the National Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, and Belt Woods National Natural Landmark are all within a half mile of its boundaries. All of these sensitive natural features are threatened by invasive plant species.

Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge Spartina alterniflora Planting
USFWS, Sussex County, Delaware
The restoration of Spartina alterniflora in a National Wildlife Refuge impacted by Superstorm Sandy will regenerate important wildlife habitat as well as coastal resilience.

Lizard Hill Sand Mine Reclamation
Ocean City, Maryland
A former sand mine is transformed into a 32-acre mosaic of wetlands and forested buffer which naturally clean polluted water while providing forested and open water wetland habitat.

Racoon Creek Stream and Wetland Mitigation Bank
Mitchell County, Georgia
About twenty years ago, a beautiful, meandering creek in southern Georgia suffered the ravages of being stripped of its dense swamp hardwood habitat and converted to a bare, straightened channel so that cotton could be grown on the surrounding land. Biohabitats was retained by the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) to design the restoration of Raccoon Creek and its surrounding wetlands.

The 770-acre site included approximately 3.5 miles of channelized, straightened stream and 120 acres of degraded wetlands. The primary approach for the site design was three-fold: 1) restore the natural geomorphology of the stream channels; 2) restore the wetland hydrology to the zones of drained hydric soil; and 3) reestablish native wetland and riparian vegetation on the site.

Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, Post-fire Invasive Plant Surveillance
Southeast Georgia
During the spring of 2007 approximately 4000 acres of the Wildlife Refuge. Recognizing that the earthmoving activities, creation of firebreaks, and the influx of equipment from across the U.S. could potentially create opportunities for invasive plants to become established within the refuge, the USFWS contracted with Biohabitats’ Invasive Species Management (ISM) partner Invasive Plant Control (IPC) Inc. to undertake post-fire surveillance of the refuge boundary and fire staging areas.

Freshkills Park Landscape Restoration
Staten Island, New York
The transformation of what was formerly the world’s largest landfill into a series of ecologically productive landscapes is a major step in restoring ecological integrity to Staten Island. While nearly forty-five percent of the site was once used as a landfill, the remainder of the site is currently composed of wetlands, open waterways, and unfilled lowland areas.

Fort McHenry Tidal Wetland Restoration
Baltimore, Maryland
Baltimore’s first tidal wetland mitigation project restored 11 acres of tidal estuarine wetlands on one of Baltimore’s most important historic sites.

Listen to the Rewilding Earth Podcast Episode 74: The Role of B Corporations In Conservation and Communities with Keith Bowers, Biohabitats founder.

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3 years ago

My wife Margaret and I are trustees of the Legacy Forest Trust. The mission of the Trust is to purchase and conserve as “Forever Wild” large tracts of wild forest in New Hampshire to promote “Old Growth” and sequester carbon.

I am a recent graduate of Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project.

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