A common aphorism asks: would you rather pay to train an employee who ultimately leaves your company or not enhance skills of workers who stay with you? Whenever a good teammate and contributor decides to move on, it hurts. And, it makes perfect sense that there is added pain when you’ve invested in that employee and her knowledge and skill ends up behind the desk at a competitor. Still, consider the back half of that original question – do you want a staff of people who never learn or get better at what they do?
We spend liberally on training and continuous learning at Ecotone. One of the core values we embrace is “Knowledge is Good.” Generally speaking, we approve nearly every reasonable request for professional development. Occasionally, we see someone leave us whom we wish would stay, but we also have received feedback from our team that the company’s commitment to skill-building and investments in training are chief among the reasons people are happy at work and refer friends for job openings. We want incumbent staff at Ecotone getting smarter every year and expanding how they can contribute; in turn, Ecotonians tell us they enjoy an environment where constant learning – and sharing – is happening. In fact, we invite team mates to lead Lunch-and-Learn sessions every week where they might convey to their peers what they learned at a recent conference, how they execute project accounting, and the ins and outs of grant management. We’ve also learned about such things as deciphering animal skulls and raising honeybees.
Someone may leave and we will be poorer for it in the purse as well as our knowledge base, but we’re thankful for the ideas and innovations everyone shares while they’re with us. We implement new approaches and methods every year in our stream design and ecological construction precisely because of the investments we make in our colleagues. Even if we take one step backward when a talented professional leaves, we’re getting five steps better during the same period because of all the learning going on around the office. That’s progress we’re happy to blog about…
"O’Brien has raised bison for the last 20 years. Largely that means leaving the 1,500 pound animals alone, except for an occasional check-in on horseback."
Courtesy of Wild Idea Buffalo Co./Jill O'Brien
"Bison graze light, which helps preserve native grasses that are excellent at storing carbon."
Wild Idea Buffalo Co./Jill O'Brien
We want to give a shout out to Men's Journal for its interesting story about Dan O’Brien, a South Dakota rancher. Mr. O’Brien has 800 bison on 9,000 acres, and he sells humanely harvested bison meat direct to consumers through Wild Idea Buffalo Company – all of which is nice. But, we like O’Brien’s understanding of the ecosystem he inhabits and the role bison play as a keystone species. The article explains that bison have been central to O’Brien’s conservation commitment to protect and preserve the prairies of the northern Great Plains, because they increase biodiversity, help capture carbon dioxide, and provide a healthier food option to you and me.
Our philosophy of Think Like a Mountain™ represents much the same thing. We look for ways to fit our restoration objectives into nature’s own way of doing things. We’re proponents of another keystone species – beaver – as natural engineers of healthy ecosystems. Our approach attempts to recognize first all the ways water, wildlife, and landscapes interconnect and then find avenues for restoring degraded natural systems so that biological uplift is maximized and flourishing habitat invites the same sort of biodiversity that bison nurture. If you want to make a difference for the environment, think like Dan O’Brien and Think Like a Mountain™.
Read the story on Dan O'Brien and his 800 bison via this link.
Men's Journal article was written by Ryan Krogh
Since its inception, Ecotone has prided itself with creating a fun and relaxing work environment that fosters quality and innovation. One of the ways we have accomplished this is by allowing Ecotonians to bring their best friend to work.
The Dogs of Ecotone have been a vital part to our culture for over twenty years. This diverse and intelligent pack is full of ecological restoration experts that are sure to make one feel welcome when they walk through the doors of Ecotone.
Unfortunately, times change and businesses must develop new means to ensure the work environment remains productive. It is with great sadness that we must announce that the Dogs of Ecotone pack will be no more. As of April 1st, 2019, dogs will no longer be allowed in our offices. This is a decision that has weighed heavily on us, but we must do what we have to in order to be a successful business.
We are thankful for all the smiles, wet kisses, and tail wags we have received over these incredible years and we will miss seeing our dogs at work, dearly.
More information on this decision is provided at the bottom of this page. Should there be any further questions or concerns, please call 410.420.2600. Thank you.
Environmental Company Collaborates with Local, State Governments to Improve Communities
(Forest Hill, MD) - Ecotone, an ecological restoration firm, again earned an “Inc. 5000” designation as one of the fastest-growing, private companies in the United States. The distinction is sponsored by Inc. magazine and reflects year-over-year revenue growth, in this case for December 2014 results versus December 2017. Ecotone earned the same recognition for its 2016 results as well.
“We are happy and proud both to be recognized by Inc. and among the economic drivers in Harford County and Maryland,” Ecotone’s owner, Scott McGill, said. “Our team is passionate about what it does, and the Inc. 5000 list is a symbol for how much dedication and effort my colleagues put into delivering great outcomes for our clients.” The company ranked 2,054 overall for 2017, and 12th among all environmental services companies, with revenue growth of 217%. It ranked 55th among all Maryland companies on the list. Ecotone earned an overall ranking of 1,834 in 2016.
Founded in 1998, Ecotone is a Harford County, MD based ecological restoration company that designs and builds sustainable ecosystems to reduce erosion of stream banks, manage stormwater, conserve and restore wetlands, and restore forests. Ecotone provides full-delivery ecosystem restoration, mitigation, design, construction, and consulting solutions throughout the United States. Ecotone officially became a B Corp in 2018. To learn more, please visit www.ecotoneinc.com.
Ecotone is proud to support the Center for Watershed protection (CWP) as a sponsor for the 2018 National Watershed and Stormwater Conference scheduled for April 10, 2018. The conference will provide real-world solutions with detailed examples from case studies and lessons learned from past approaches so that attendees have a firm grasp of tangible solutions and industry best-practices.
This year’s conference theme is Next Gen Watershed Protection: Fresh Ideas for Funding and Management. The national webcast talks are designed to help today’s water quality experts not only address pollution but also navigate the world of uncertain program funding and regulatory oversight that can jeopardize watershed restoration projects.
For attendees in the Hub locations, who want to learn about the Chesapeake Bay TMDL Phase III Watershed Implementation Plans (WIPs), there will be speakers from the Maryland Department of the Environment and the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality sharing their progress and successful approaches to meeting plan requirements focused on restoring the Chesapeake Bay.
Doug Propheter, our Chief Administrative Officer along with Jessica Cherwich and Steve Pawlak, our Business Development Specialists will also be participating at this conference. Please stop by the Ecotone display table in the exhibit area to meet with our team and learn about our sustainable ecological restoration solutions.
Center for Watershed protection
"The International Women's Day is annually held on March 8 to celebrate women's achievements throughout history and across nations. It is also known as the United Nations (UN) Day for Women's Rights and International Peace. This day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity."
At Ecotone, we celebrate this day by honoring all the women on our team and their contributions to our organization. Here are a few facts that we are very proud to share:
Our Ecotonian women bring diverse experiences, talents, and passions and we are incredibly thankful for everything they contribute to Ecotone each and every day. Here's to you ladies!
At Ecotone, we are committed to supporting the communities in which we work and live. We strive to be a responsible corporate citizen and make a difference in each of the communities we serve. As such, every year we provide financial and in-kind contributions to a wide variety of local organizations. In 2017, we are proud to support the following organizations:
Wetlands help keep our environment in balance. They provide habitat for animals and plants, reduce flooding, filter waste, improve air quality, and replenish our water resources. Thus, to pay respect to this amazing natural resource, on February 2, 2018 we celebrate the World Wetlands Day.
What are wetlands?
Wetlands are those areas that are inundated or saturated by surface or groundwater at a frequency and duration sufficient to support, and that under normal circumstances do support, a prevalence of vegetation typically adapted for life in saturated soil conditions. Wetlands generally include swamps, marshes, bogs, and similar areas. The following are a some of the many benefits of wetlands:
Wetlands act as giant sponges that absorb flood waters. Rivers, ponds, lakes and marshes soak up and store heavy rainfall. In coastal cities, salt-marshes and mangroves work as a buffer against storm surges.
Replenish drinking water
Groundwater aquifers, rainwater and rivers are the source of almost all drinking water. Wetlands filter the water that seeps into aquifers, helping to replenish this important water source. Protecting rivers and limiting harmful run-off also helps safeguard the water supply.
Filter waste and improve water quality
The silt-rich soil and abundant plants in wetlands function as water fi lters, which absorb some harmful toxins, agricultural pesticides and industrial waste. Urban wetlands also help treat sewage from households.
Improve air quality
Wetlands radiate moist air thanks to their high water levels and lush plant life. This naturally cools the air in the local surroundings - a relief both in tropical cities and in extremely dry climates.
Promote human well-being
When preserved as green spaces in cities, wetlands offer residents a space for recreation and access to diversity of plant and animal life. Studies confirm that interacting with nature reduces stress and improves our health.
We invite you to be part of our journey to restore the environment as we celebrate the World Wetlands Day.
Ecotone is participating in the 2018 American Farm Bureau annual convention scheduled to be held in Nashville, TN from January 6-8, 2018. Our restoration team will be available at booth #346 to share our sustainable ecological restoration techniques with the nation’s agricultural community. Please stop by our booth to meet the team and get free swags.
To learn more about the event, please visit https://www.fb.org/events/afbf-annual-convention/ideag-trade-show/
We invite you to meet the Ecotone team at the 23rd Maryland Water Monitoring Council Annual Conference (MWMC) being held at the Maritime Conference Center, North Linthicum, MD, on Friday, December 8, 2017.
We will be sharing our insights and best-practices with the industry during the presentation sessions. Our team will also be available at the Ecotone booth to discuss ideas for sustainable restoration and share some cool swag.
Lessons learned in planning and practice: using "less is more" as a sustainable restoration approach.
Catherine Hoy and Clay Word
Approximately 2,400 linear feet of First Mine Run, located within a brook trout watershed in northern Baltimore County, were restored using a quasi-legacy sediment removal technique/natural channel design approach. The project was designed with the “Less is More” philosophy of sustainable restoration. The use of on-site material including logs, rootwads, and stream channel substrate was maximized. Efforts were taken to reduce the use of furnished materials. Where possible, furnished materials were sought locally. The project was implemented in the Summer of 2017.
The results of the project will be presented including a comparison of salvaged verses furnished materials in planning and in practice. Post-construction stream stability assessments immediately after construction and in the months to follow after storm events will be included. Additionally, an estimate of the carbon savings accomplished by using furnished material will be presented. Any unexpected results and/or challenges will be included as Lessons Learned. This project is meant to serve as a case study for sustainable restoration.
Catherine Hoy is the Director of Design for Ecotone Inc.’s Mid-Atlantic Region. Catherine has 12 years of professional experience developing stream restoration and provides design support for construction and mitigation projects. Interestingly, she actually has an art background which allows her to use her artistic vision to inspire her team’s innovative and creative designs. By shedding the constraints of traditional stream restoration engineering techniques, Ecotone’s Design team is able to produce sustainable projects that focus on ecological uplift and harmony. Outside of Ecotone, she spends it with her family, hiking and painting.
Using ecosystem services to generate TMDL credit – outside the box thinking for a changing world.
Stream restoration projects which include riparian restoration, floodplain reconnection, and floodplain conservation easements create ecological conditions favorable to the North American Beaver (Castor canadensis). Restoration practitioners on multiple continents are employing adaptive management and the ecosystem services of the North American Beaver and the European beaver to generate landscape scale improvements to water quality and sediment storage. By designing a project to anticipate and encourage colonization of beaver and dam building as part of the project’s long term ecological performance, designers and practitioners can utilize the ecosystem services provided by beaver to provide dynamic resiliency and regeneration as well as TMDL credits.
In this presentation, techniques and methods which encourage beaver colonization will be reviewed, including planting regimes to develop food sources, floodplain reconnection to maximize stream power distribution across the floodplain, designing for long term aggradation, requiring more expansive conservation easements, and incorporating analog dams within a design. Stream monitoring and success criteria that embrace beaver colonization as a sign of project success will also be discussed. A pilot project using ecosystem services generated by the beaver to deliver TMDL and stream restoration credit will be shared.
Scott McGill is the Founder and CEO at Ecotone, Inc. an Inc. 5000 ecological restoration company with offices in Forest Hill, Columbia, MD, and Charlottesville, VA. Scott has over 27 years of applied experience in both design and construction of ecological restoration projects throughout the United States. His “less is more” approach to design and construction that incorporate conservation biology and adaptive management is widely accepted as the model for sustainable cost effective ecological restoration.
To learn more about this event, please visit http://dnr.maryland.gov/streams/Pages/MWMC/conference.aspx
GivingTuesday is a global day of giving fueled by the power of social media. It is celebrated on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving and popular shopping events like Black Friday and Cyber Monday. #GivingTuesday helps kick off the charitable season, when many focus on their holiday and end-of-year giving.
You can help others through the gift of your time, donations, goods or your voice (share this blog). To help you get started, we have aggregated a list of organizations, charities and causes that we have supported and would benefit from your benevolence:
This webcast will feature four of the nation's leading stream restoration experts who will address a series of questions about the state of the art of stream restoration and where they see its future direction.
Stream restoration has been used for over two decades for various objectives, including mitigation and pollutant reduction requirements for TMDL compliance. The industry has had its critics who have argued that restoration should be more focused in the watershed and that scientific evidence of improvements to stream function is lacking. Even within the stream restoration community there has been vastly different approaches to stream restoration design and a polarization among stream restoration designers who have taken different sides on the academic debate surrounding stream channel evolution and its role in the design process. Today, the fact that thousands of stream restoration practices have been installed speaks to its success as one of the primary tools used to meet water quality goals.
Speakers for this webcast series include Ecotone's Scott McGill along with three other leading industry professionals, namely :
About the organizer:
Founded in 1992, the Center for Watershed Protection (CWP) works to protect, restore and enhance our streams, rivers, lakes, wetlands and bays. It was established with the idea of creating a nonprofit organization dedicated to research and education on watersheds. With an initial focus on protecting urban streams from the impacts of land development, the organization has grown over the years to become a national leader on stormwater management and watershed planning.
Knowledge Credit: The Center for Watershed Protection
Some big news to share. After a battle lasting over 18 months, the toughest of my life, I was deemed Lyme free today at the doctors today. I still have some co-infections to deal with, but it's a win nonetheless. It took a team of doctors who actually worked together on my behalf, as well as healers, integrative dentists, and a patient and caring wife to get me here. I owe them all a collective debt of gratitude.
Along the way, I learned a ton about Lyme, vector borne diseases, diet, mental health, and how unbalanced and broken ecological systems are affecting us humans in ways we need to pay serious attention to. It's all tied to what Aldo Leopoldo called "the interconnectedness of things".
Last week my wife Moira was diagnosed with Lyme for the second time in two years, and today I brought my dog and wingman "Goose" to the doctor. He tested positive for Lyme. The battle continues.
Lyme is a silent epidemic in our great country. Thing is, we can fix this with simple environmental policy. It doesn't take millions of dollars. It takes an understanding of how nature works. We need to change how we manage and think about our environment. Just like wolves are restoring rivers in Yellowstone, we can use trophic cascades to not only to address vector borne disease epidemics like Lyme, but restore function to the Chesapeake Bay.
More to come. Stay tuned.
A mitigation bank is a wetland, stream, or other aquatic resource area that has been restored, established, enhanced, or in certain circumstances preserved for the purpose of providing compensation for unavoidable impacts to aquatic resources permitted under Section 404 or a similar state or local wetland regulation.
A mitigation bank may be created when a government agency, corporation, nonprofit organization, or other entity undertakes these activities under a formal agreement with a regulatory agency. Mitigation banks have four distinct components:
The value of a bank is defined in "compensatory mitigation credits." A bank's instrument identifies the number of credits available for sale and requires the use of ecological assessment techniques to certify that those credits provide the required ecological functions. Although most mitigation banks are designed to compensate only for impacts to various wetland types, some banks have been developed to compensate specifically for impacts to streams (i.e., stream mitigation banks).
Mitigation banks are a form of "third-party" compensatory mitigation, in which the responsibility for compensatory mitigation implementation and success is assumed by a party other than the permittee. This transfer of liability has been a very attractive feature for Section 404 permit-holders, who would otherwise be responsible for the design, construction, monitoring, ecological success, and long-term protection of the site.
Mitigation banking has a number of advantages over traditional permittee-responsible compensatory mitigation because of the ability of mitigation banking programs to:
To think like a mountain is to have a complete appreciation for the profound interconnectedness of the elements in the ecosystems. It is an ecological exercise using the intricate web of the natural environment rather than thinking as an isolated individual.
This term coined by Aldo Leopold in his book A Sand County Almanac. In the section entitled "Sketches Here and There" Leopold discusses the thought process as a holistic view on where one stands in the entire ecosystem. To think like a mountain means to have a complete appreciation for the profound interconnectedness of the elements in the ecosystems. It is an ecological exercise using the intricate web of the natural environment rather than thinking as an isolated individual.
Aldo Leopold first came up with this term as a result of watching a wolf die off. In those days of Leopold’s adventures, no one would ever pass up killing a wolf because fewer wolves meant more deer, which meant great hunting experiences. However, when Leopold saw the “fierce green fire dying in her eyes” he knew that neither the mountain nor the wolf deserved this. Leopold stated in his book, A Sand County Almanac:
"Since then, I have lived to see state after state extirpate its wolves. I have watched the face of many a newly wolfless mountain, and seen the south-facing slopes wrinkle with a maze of new deer trails. I have seen every edible bush and seedling browsed, first to anaemic desuetude, and then to death. I have seen every edible tree defoliated to the height of a saddlehorn … In the end the starved bones of the hoped-for deer herd, dead of its own too-much, bleach with the bones of the dead sage, or molder under the high-lined junipers … So also with cows. The cowman who cleans his range of wolves does not realize that he is taking over the wolf’s job of trimming the herd to fit the change. He has not learned to think like a mountain. Hence we have dustbowls, and rivers washing the future into the sea".
In this example Leopold shows that the removal of a single species can result in serious negative consequences in an ecosystem. While trophic cascades is one way to think like a mountain, there are countless other environmental actions that can be categorized under this broad and interconnected concept.
What do you think about the holistic view of the entire ecosystem? Share your thoughts.
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Trademarks, company names, products and service names used in this website are for informational purposes only. All trademarks are the property of their respective owners.
© COPYRIGHT 2018. Ecotone, Inc. ®. All Rights Reserved.
Trademarks, company names, products and service names used in this website are for informational purposes only. All trademarks are the property of their respective owners.