Florida (restoration) road trip, anyone?

120414-SC-Odd-Laws-Outlaws

Who wouldn’t like a road trip to Florida?

Our good friends at the Southeastern Chapter of the Society for Ecological Restoration (SE-SER) will be holding their Annual Symposium and Membership Meeting from October 18-21, 2016, at the University of Florida/IFAS North Florida Research and Education Center, Quincy, Florida (NFREC-Quincy).

There will be some excellent workshops and field trips –  including one taught by Dr. Andre Clewell – one of the authors of Ecological Restoration.

Wow. Perhaps the Midwest Chapter can rent a bus?  🙂

 

 

Turning a liability into an asset: a case study of restoration from the ground up…

How many of us have encountered potential restoration sites that seemed to have some potential, but the obstacles seemed a bit too daunting, or there simply wasn’t a clear path forward – a way to get the momentum going?  The Manor Woods site in Glen Ellyn, IL is a restoration project being directed by the village’s Public Works department – and is an example of the gradual transformation of a neighborhood nuisance into an ecological asset.

The Manor Woods parcel is a wet, wooded area that is surrounded by residential neighborhoods. Over time, the parcel became overtaken by invasive trees and under story plants.  Rather than being a place that drew people in, it had the opposite effect, and local residents generally avoided it.  About five years ago the village embarked on an ambitious plan to transform and restore the site.

The early stages were devoted to the removal of significant amounts of debris, the removal of dead trees, and the clearing of woody invasive plants. There were few native trees of good quality, but those were retained to form the new backbone of the restored woods. In the intervening seasons, energy has shifted to the seeding of native seed mixes and the ongoing management of herbaceous weeds.  The restoration of Manor Woods is turning the corner:
007     006012

014

010

To be sure, there is a lot more work that will need to be done in the years to come. In 2016, the invasive plants are still dominant, but the newly seeded grasses and forbs are getting a toehold in and among desirable woody natives. Some five years in, the Village of Glen Ellyn Public Works Department is creating something special at the Manor Woods site. For this corner of the community, it is drawing people in, and is becoming an asset that will only get better in time.

There must be thousands of sites that started with the same humble beginnings as this one. But in this instance, a community made a commitment towards something better. Any restorationists looking for an inspiring case study to examine need look no further than the Manor Woods project.

Restoration – in my town…

During the course of this summer I have enjoyed seeing a restoration project – that is literally across the street – mature into a successful and functional ecological asset for the community. Hoffman Estates is a suburb located northwest of Chicago, and the park district there manages a number of ponds that were created during the construction of housing there 30-40 years ago.

The ponds were constructed in the usual way, with exposed rip-rap edges. These edges were functional inasmuch as it allowed easier access for fishing, and for Canada geese as well. Algae blooms were problematic on occasion -as one might expect in ponds that were shallow, and that took in nutrient runoff from adjacent residential turf areas.

To the credit of the Hoffman Estates Park District a shoreline restoration process was started several years ago on many of these ponds, including two that we walk around quite a bit:

007

We’ve had a ringside seat watching the progress of these restorations, and as of 2016 they seem to knitting together well.  The invasive plants seem to be waning, and the native plantings appear to be flourishing and improving in number of species.  This particular restoration also includes the ditches that connect two of the ponds:

009

As we exit July and enter August I have noticed that – in spite of the recent heat wave – that algae blooms, while present, seem to be manageable.  My anecdotal observations also seem to show more diverse bird and insect life all the way around.

010

For those of us who walk around, or fish within these ponds, these restorations seem to be a success.  As restorationists, we need to celebrate these victories that might otherwise go under appreciated.

Are there similar restoration efforts in your town that can be models for other communities?  Let’s give these projects the credit they deserve!

Job Alert: Restoration Postdoc

Repost

The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) is a large US Federal program
aimed at protecting and restoring the largest system of surface freshwater
in the world. Participating federal agencies are committed to implement a
science-based “adaptive management framework” to prioritize ecosystem
problems to be targeted, select projects to address the problems, and assess
the effectiveness of projects that are carried out. The framework describes
an iterative process of planning, project implementation, monitoring of
restoration effectiveness and ecosystem health, and prioritization of
ecosystem threats. The framework further outlines a general process by
which learning feedbacks should be incorporated into future iterations of
project selection.

POSITION DESCRIPTION: We seek a postdoctoral research associate to lead
development of an adaptive approach to the selection of restoration project
portfolios. The research will draw heavily on principles of decision
analysis, in which the valuation of decision outcomes and the building of
models to predict those outcomes are co-equal endeavors. The incumbent will
work with decision stakeholders from the participating agencies to frame the
decision making context, identify restoration priorities, characterize
uncertainties in predicting project outcomes, and design systems of
monitoring to assess satisfaction of project goals. The incumbent’s work
will focus on the western basin of Lake Erie, the pilot geography for this
effort. This project will result in protocols and technical tools for the
selection of projects, monitoring designs to focus learning feedbacks into
decision making, and publications to synthesize the work. The incumbent
will work under the direction of Dr. Clint Moore (USGS, Georgia Cooperative
Fish and Wildlife Research Unit,
http://www.coopunits.org/Georgia/People/Clinton_Moore) and will work closely
with other members of the research team, Dr. Peter Esselman (USGS – Great
Lakes Science Center) and Dr. Seth Guikema (University of Michigan,
http://ioe-guikema.engin.umich.edu).

QUALIFICATIONS: Applicants must hold a Ph.D. in ecology, natural
resource management, biometrics, natural resource economics, applied
mathematics, statistics, operations research, or related field. Candidates
should be able to demonstrate through study, work experience, or
publications the application of decision analysis to problems in natural
resources management. Competitive candidates will have one or more of the
following qualifications: a background in structured decision making and/or
adaptive management, knowledge of ecosystem restoration, skills and
experience with stakeholder workshops and facilitation, and facility in
modeling, estimation, and optimization. The candidate must have excellent
writing and interpersonal communication skills, and he/she must demonstrate
commitment to timely completion of deliverables, commitment to publication
of results in peer-reviewed outlets, and strong potential to work
collaboratively with multiple agencies on a highly visible research topic.
Occasional travel to stakeholder meetings and scientific conferences is
required. The candidate will be employed by the Georgia Cooperative Fish and
Wildlife Research Unit at the University of Georgia and based in Athens GA
during part of the year (up to 2 months) or periodically throughout the year
(depending on work load). The need for a high degree of contact and
face-to-face collaboration with USGS and other partner agencies requires
that the candidate work from the USGS – Great Lakes Science Center in Ann
Arbor, MI for the remaining 9-10 months of the year. The candidate selected
for the position must be able to meet eligibility requirements for work in
the United States at the time the appointment is scheduled to begin and
continue working legally for the proposed term of the appointment.

COMPENSATION: This is a full-time, fixed-term, non-tenure-track
appointment for up to 18 months. Extension of the appointment beyond 12
months is possible depending on funding availability and satisfactory
performance of the candidate. Annual salary is competitive and commensurate
with education and experience. Benefits include health insurance options
and paid leave; a full list of benefits offered by the University of Georgia
may be found at http://www.hr.uga.edu/benefits.

TO APPLY: Interested candidates should provide in a **single PDF
document** (1) a cover letter that addresses qualifications and skills in
the areas of expertise listed above, (2) a current vita, (3) a transcript of
PhD work indicating degree award date, and (4) the names and contact
information of three references who can attest to the candidate’s
qualifications. Send applications and inquiries by email to Dr. Clint
Moore, Assistant Unit Leader, Georgia Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research
Unit, ctmoore@uga.edu. Applications will be accepted until August 5, 2016,
or until a suitable candidate is found.