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Georgia Environmental Restoration Association
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GERA QUARTERLY NEWSLETTER
January 2015
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Interested in Joining GERA?

A description of membership types and associated dues can be found on our website by
clicking here.

Need more information?
Contact us at 

garestoration@gmail.com
GERA currently represents 16 Bankers, 6 Consultants, 6 Professionals,  3 Non-Profit Organizations, and 7 Government Entities.

2014-2015 Board of Directors
Greg Smith, President
Trey Evans, Secretary/Treasurer
Rick Whiteside
Phillip Todd
Aaron McWhorter
Brian Estes
Matt Peevy
Larry Jordan

View All Current Members

 
Upcoming Events...

Next GERA Board of Directors Meeting - February 18, 2015 (Lawrenceville, GA)

Regulatory Boot Camp -
April/May 2015 (Various Locations)


National Mitigation Banking Conference - May 5 - 8, 2015
(Orlando, FL)
Stay up to date with GERA by visiting our calendar and blog.

Our Mission

GERA is a collaboration of mitigation bankers, environmental consultants, engineers, contractors, and other professionals that are active in Georgia's ecosystem restoration marketplace.
 
The association seeks to promote:
 
(I) High quality ecosystem restoration through regulatory standards and scientific research;
 
(II) A commercial mitigation banking industry that is both environmentally and financially sustainable;
 
(III) Any local, State, or Federal legislation that is consistent with this mission.

GERA News & Events

Welcome New Members!

GERA welcomes Hall Booth Smith to the association.
Good Neighbor Creek Mitigation Bank Technical Review - October 2014.

Buck Altschul hosted GERA members for a technical site review at Good Neighbor Creek Mitigation Bank on October 15th, 2014.  
Team along Good Neighbor Creek
Monkey-faced Orchid Volunteer Workday - October 2014.

GERA volunteers along with Matt Richards from the Atlanta Botanical Garden, hosted a workday on October 30th, 2014 at Sawnee Mountain Preserve near Cumming, Georgia. Volunteers helped with wetland bog clearing to prepare for the transplant of monkey-faced orchid to this location.
MFO Brush Clearing
MFO Volunteers

Articles from the Environmental Industry

Mitigation Banker Spotlight

AA Shaw, LLC
David Deason, Joe Usher, & Henry Blackburn 

Below is an excerpt of the quarterly Banker Spotlight article. We invite you to read the detailed article in it's entirety on the GERA Blog by CLICKING HERE.

AA Shaw, LLC, represented by long-term friends David Deason, Joe Usher, and Henry Blackburn, joined GERA in 2014 as a way to learn from other members' experiences in the industry as well as lend support for industry efforts. AA Shaw, LLC is responsible for the AA Shaw Mitigation Bank located in Effingham County, Georgia. The bank is made up of two separate properties, the Deason Family's "Deason Tract" and the Usher Family's "Dairy Tract", located approximately a mile apart from each other.

AA Shaw Mitigation Bank was approved in 2012 and construction completed in May of 2014. Wetland mitigation was accomplished by filling man-made drainage ditches that historically drained the land for agricultural/timber practices.  Mitigation credits service the Lower Savannah Watershed.

Read more about AA Shaw, LLC. by visiting the GERA BLOG.

EcoStream: Stream Ecology & Restoration Conference:
Group Discussion on Improving Fish Habitat in Stream Restoration Reaches

Presented (and written) By: Robin Goodlow, USFWS

The NC State University Stream Restoration Program's biennial southeast stream restoration conference was held in November in Charlotte.  The Conference not only had a new name - EcoStream: Stream Ecology and Restoration Conference -- it had a new emphasis on the importance of preserving, enhancing, and restoring the entire riparian ecosystem, particularly in the face of climate change. One new conference feature was a set of 1.5-hour break-out groups, where attendees could join in-depth discussions about different aspects of stream restoration, including water quality enhancement, floodplain function, riparian vegetation success, monitoring/success criteria, and aquatic habitat enhancement.

I was asked to lead the break-out group on improving fish habitat in stream restoration reaches. Our group started with a general discussion of foraging and spawning habitat needs for different fish species at different ages and seasons (see figure below), then moved on to the question of whether current monitoring protocols are adequate to even evaluate fish use of restoration reaches. The general consensus was no, they're not. State IBI protocols and other monitoring methods that lump all collected fish in a reach, across a variety of habitats, into a single dataset make it impossible to evaluate fish use of different stream restoration structures - without such data, including both species collected and abundance at each restoration feature, we can't determine how well different stream restoration practices create habitat for target species or overall biodiversity in the Southeast.



This led to discussion about various aspects of stream restoration design and fish habitat that needs to be investigated/evaluated:
  • Sacrificing stability for fish habitat - when is this a good thing?
  • Pools created mid-channel vs. on the outside meander bend - do the two provide functionality - similar fish habitat?
  • Do vanes and J-hooks replace what should be glide and riffle habitat with step-pools?
  • How steep should a riffle be - and what materials should it be made of -- to provide good benthic fish habitat?
  • At what vane invert heights are small fish spawning runs or upstream passage blocked?
  • Should vanes point downstream (like large woody debris often does) to create backwater habitat?
  • How do we develop microhabitats in restored streams (channel variability, flow eddies, leaf packs, Podostemum…)?
Is it time to develop a fish monitoring protocol that better evaluates the stream restoration practices we use in Georgia? I have UGA recommendations, but the last monitoring protocol I suggested to GERA, based on UGA modeling, was a flaming failure (thanks Chris Crow, for testing it). Would anyone be interested in working with me to turn UGA's new recommendations - or other methods -- into a workable fish sampling tool to monitor stream restoration projects?
Design or Construction?

Stream Restoration Construction:
The Value in Pre-Qualifying

Written By: Phillip Todd, RiverWorks

Below is a brief summary of Phillip's article. We invite you to read the detailed article in it's entirety on the GERA Blog by CLICKING HERE.
Stream restoration construction is highly specialized and vastly different from most other construction projects up for bid. As the science and implementation of stream restoration advanced, a fundamental need for contractors experienced in this specific area has been revealed. Therefore, it is valuable, and possibly critical, to hire and/or pre-qualify contractors.

Just as stream design requires practitioners with training and understanding of stream function, so it is in an entity's best interest to hire a contractor with stream restoration project experience and training. Many entities, including mitigation bankers, in Georgia and the southeast have required only experienced contractors provide bids, implemented pre-qualification prior to project bidding, and/or required qualifications be submitted as part of the project bid.


The goal of stream restoration is to restore, as needed, a stream's pattern, dimension, and profile in order to achieve the greatest ecological uplift to a degraded stream.  

Photo 1: Poorly Constructed Step Pool System



Photo 2: Correctly Constructed Step Pool System

 
If construction of the stream dimension, structures, and stabilization methods are not implemented correctly, then the stream restoration project will not achieve its goals and the project may result in greater degradation of the stream.

Reasons why it is important to hire and/or pre-qualify a contractor with stream construction include overall cost savings, confidence in the bank sponsor's relationship with regulatory agencies, and project implementation with minimal, future adaptive management.

Like most process, there are limitations to pre-qualified contractors which include the potential to limit the pool of contractors to submit bids for construction, the potential to limit a contractor into this type of construction, the cost to implement a pre-qualification system, and the time required to include the pre-qualification process into the project schedule.

To read the entire article, please CLICK HERE



Photo 3: Poorly Installed Coir Fiber Matting


Photo 4: Correctly Installed Coir Fiber Matting
In the News...
Environmental Credit Trading
Wildwood Farm, VA


A Watershed Success Story


 
John Harrison's 900-acre family farm was the first in Virgina to set up a nutrient credit bank - a mechanism that allows private investors to buy "credits" that help bankroll water quality protection work.

Credits paid to Harrison's farm have been used to plant thousands of trees that reduce run-off and protect neighboring waterways. Private investors use the credits to offset the negative impacts of construction and other activities happening elsewhere in the watershed.

READ MORE HERE

CLICK HERE
to watch a video.
Rare Georgia aster in Oakey Woods Escapes Endangered List
 
 
Georgia aster thrives in the deep recesses of Oakey Woods, near the Grand Prairie, approximately three miles from the Ocmulgee River. This land is identified as one of the best remaining examples of Atlantic Coastal Plain chalk prairie - a globally rare habitat formed along a shoreline that stretched from near Perry, GA up through north Alabama about 50 million years ago.

The secluded natural garden in south Houston County is one of about 118 known patches of the rare aster remaining in the southeast and the only one within the coastal plain. Successful management of the aster in a public-private partnership kept it off the endangered list again this year.

To read more CLICK HERE.


 

 
EPA to Clarify Clean Water Act's Scope

The Environmental Protection Agency intends to get its controversial "Waters of the United States" proposal "over the finish line" despite a backlash from agricultural groups and congressional republicans.

EPA officials say the proposed rule is designed to clarify which bodies of water are subject to the agency's oversight under the Clean Water Act. Critics of the proposal say the agency wants to expand its jurisdiction under the act to apply to wet spots, puddles, and dry stream beds used by dairy farmers to heard their cows.

Read the full article HERE
2014 - A Wave of Environmental Law Changes

The past year saw several developments in environmental law at both state and federal levels, particularly regarding water supply, water quality and regulation of greenhouse gas emissions. As federal regulators tightened the reins on air emissions from power plants, California saw a major shift in the regulation of water supply. Meanwhile, controversy over hydraulic fracturing rages on, with industry hoping to access deposits in the Monterey Shale without running afoul of California's new regulatory scheme. The wave of significant change will no doubt ripple into 2015 and beyond.

CLICK HERE to read the full article.
Our Mailing Address:
Georgia Environmental Restoration Association
PO Box 76549. Atlanta. Georgia. 30358


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