Ecological Restoration

The goal of ecological restoration is to assist in the recovery of ecosystems that have been damaged, degraded or destroyed.  Across the west, communities and land managers are recognizing the importance of restoration projects for protecting the ecological functions and habitat value of natural areas and open spaces. Our ecologists are experienced restoration practitioners with a track record of successful projects who can help you to design and implement an effective ecological restoration plan.

Bell’s Twinpod (Physaria bellii) habitat creation using weathered Niobrara shale in Loveland, Colorado.


Our ecologists have prepared detailed ecological restoration plans for a variety of habitat types in Colorado including wetlands, riparian habitats, shrublands, mountain grasslands, forests and prairies.  Native habitat creation is one of our specialties and we have designed and implemented successful projects for wetland mitigation, State of Colorado 1041 permit compliance, and to restore Clean Water Act violations.  In addition we have worked with private landowners and homeowners’ associations on native landscaping and habitat restoration projects to increase the conservation values of their properties and create aesthetic amenities.

We develop concept plans and collaborate with engineers to develop detailed grading plans for wetlands, riparian corridors, and other native habitat creations.  We incorporate native seed mixes and planting plans; soil specifications; maintenance and monitoring plans; and ecological performance standards or success criteria into all of our ecological restoration plans, as discussed in greater detail below.

Beaked sedge (Carex utriculata) plugs establishing in a subalpine wetland creation in Summit County, Colorado.


We design custom seed mixes and planting plans for each of our ecological restoration projects.  Our ecologists have the technical background and expertise to create appropriate seed mixes that meet the project goals and budget. We incorporate specifications that ensure only high-quality, weed-free materials are used.   Our team of plant ecologists is complimented by landscape architects that work synergistically to design planting plans for native habitat creation and landscaping projects.

Planting plan for a wetland enhancement project in Eagle, Colorado.


Soil specifications are critical to the success of ecological restoration projects.  We partner with Dave Buscher, a Certified Professional Soil Scientist, to prepare soil specifications through onsite investigations, soil sampling, and laboratory nutrient analysis.  These recommendations are incorporated into our ecological restoration plans and include specifications for topsoil stripping, storage, and replacement; acquisition of topsoil; seedbed preparation; and soil amendments including fertilizer, mycorrhizae, and organic matter.

Restoration of a Pipeline Corridor in Eagle, Colorado.


Restoration implementation is one of our specialties. We can manage the entire process or provide oversight of restoration contractors and landscaping crews. We partner with Dave Buscher, a Certified Professional Soil Scientist, who works onsite with earthmoving contractors to provide oversight of topsoil stripping, handling and replacement.  Our plant ecologists are experts in the critically important process of acquiring native seed mixes and plant materials.  This can be difficult for restoration contractors and landscaping crews, since it requires a technical background to evaluate seed testing data and approve seed lots and any substitutions.  Our ecologists have the expertise to manage this process.  We also inspect and approve native plant materials, field-locate the planting sites, and provide careful oversight to ensure plants are properly installed, mulched, and watered in.


Our ecological restoration plans also include specifications for maintenance and monitoring.  Monitoring is used to identify problems and develop recommendations for weed management or other maintenance activities, and to evaluate progress toward achieving the restoration success criteria.  Submission of Annual Monitoring reports is a requirement of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and many other regulatory agencies, and is used to show fulfillment of mitigation requirements.

We carefully monitor our restoration projects to document the progress of vegetation establishment, identify potential problems and provide recommendations, then ensure qualified contractors complete the work.  In particular, weed management is very important during the early phases of ecological restoration projects.  Through careful weed management during the first few growing seasons, we help our clients to minimize the overall costs and ensure the restoration success criteria are achieved.

We monitor the progress of the restorations through either qualitative assessments or by establishing quantitative vegetation monitoring transects.  The results are summarized in annual monitoring reports as required by regulatory agencies for permit compliance.  For additional discussion of Vegetation Monitoring, please refer to our PLANT ECOLOGY Services.

Vegetation establishment in a wetland creation is evaluated by collecting plant cover data.