– ecology and natural resource consulting since 1978  

About Us

Western Ecological Resource was founded by David Johnson in 1978.  We are a full-service ecology consulting firm serving Colorado and the western United States.  We are located in the historic Old Stage House at 711 Walnut Street in Boulder, Colorado.

The historic Old Stage House in downtown Boulder



Western Ecological Resource provides services to a diversity of industries as well as local, state and federal agencies in Colorado and the western United States.  Since establishment in 1978, our ecologists and associated natural resource scientists have provided consulting services to more than 500 clients.  We are dedicated to helping our clients achieve their project goals in a timely and cost effective manner.  More than 95% of our business is from existing clients. 

We provide expertise in the areas of vegetation; wetlands; weed management; forest health; wildfire hazard analysis; wildlife and aquatic biology; threatened, endangered, and rare species; soil science; geology; reclamation/ecological restoration; stream restoration; NEPA compliance; permitting and project approvals; and project management.  Our natural resource studies incorporate the latest technologies including GPS, AutoCAD, ArcGIS, and high-resolution aerial imagery, and we have in-house capabilities for the production of reports with presentation quality graphics.

Our work throughout Colorado and the Western United States has allowed us to develop a comprehensive understanding of the ecology of this diverse region and the ecological issues and concerns to state and federal land resource managers.  Over the past 32 years, we have developed a thorough understanding of local, state and federal environmental regulations and laws, and have established positive working relationships with personnel in environmental regulatory agencies.  We have extensive experience with the environmental review, compliance and permitting process.  We use our ecological and regulatory expertise to facilitate our client's compliance with environmental regulations and laws to quickly achieve their project goals. 


David Johnson, President and Senior Ecologist

Mr. Johnson, the founder and president of Western Ecological Resource, holds a Master of Science degree in Environmental Toxicology from the University of Utah and a Master of Science Degree in Biology from the University of Colorado.  Mr. Johnson has conducted and/or managed more than 500 projects throughout Colorado and the western United States.  He is well known for his expertise in ecology, wetland design and creation, restoration and creation of native ecosystems, forest health, and the preparation of NEPA compliance documents including Environmental Impact Statements, Environmental Assessments, and Biological Assessments and Evaluations.  Mr Johnson is a competitive swimmer, downhill skier, avid hiker, occasional rock climber and an adventure traveler.  He has traveled to 45 countries and visited many remote areas of the world.  Resume

Rea Orthner, Ecologist

Ms. Orthner holds a Master of Science degree in Botany from the University of Colorado at Boulder and has worked for Western Ecological Resource since 2000.  During that time, she has completed hundreds of botanical and ecological studies and has gained considerable experience in the fields of plant ecology, wetland ecology, floristics, and rare plants.  Through her work in the deserts, plains, montane, subalpine, and alpine environments of the mountain west, she has developed a comprehensive understanding of the ecology and flora of this diverse region.  Rea’s expertise includes wetland delineations and permitting, floristic inventories, rare plant surveys, vegetation type mapping and descriptions, preparation of NEPA compliance documents, and native habitat creations and restorations.  In addition, she has a strong background in plant identification and taxonomy, and has documented new occurrences of many rare plants.  She is experienced in numerous computer programs including AutoCAD and Geographic Information Systems (GIS), and is a skilled technical writer and editor. She is an active member of the Colorado Native Plant Society and sits on the Gilpin County Noxious Weed Advisory Board and the Gilpin County Planning Commission.  In her spare time, Rea enjoys spending time with her family, hiking, and skiing.  Resume 

Heather Houston, Ecologist

Ms. Houston holds a Master of Arts degree in Environmental, Population and Organismic Biology from the University of Colorado at Boulder and has worked for Western Ecological Resource since 2001.  As an ecologist for Western Ecological Resource, Ms. Houston has gained expertise in wetland ecology, NEPA compliance, vegetation monitoring, threatened and endangered species surveys, ecological restoration, wildfire hazard analysis, and technical writing.  She has completed more than 100 wetland delineations and prepared more than 30 wetland permit applications, and her background in horticulture has aided her in the supervision and coordination of many large-scale wetland creations.  She has worked to prepare NEPA compliance documents for land exchanges, developed revegetation plans for a variety of native plant communities, and produced numerous environmental impact studies for local governments and planning commissions.  She has strong capabilities in technical writing, experimental design, field survey methods, and data analysis, and is skilled in both AutoCAD and GIS software.  In her spare time, Heather is an avid gardener, sports enthusiast, music lover, and  enjoys spending time with her family.  Resume

Kyle Inouye, Graphics and IT Specialist

Mr. Inouye has provided graphics and IT services to Western Ecological Resource since 2002.  He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Colorado at Denver.  At Western Ecological Resource, his background in civil engineering compliments his advanced graphics and mapping skills.  He has more than 20 years experience with AutoCAD and more than 6 years experience with GIS.  He is skilled at converting data between AutoCAD and GIS formats, and has prepared metadata for the U.S. Forest Service that complies with federal content standards.  Mr. Inouye is proficient in a suite of other graphics and mapping programs, including Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, Terrain Navigator Pro, TOPO!, and Adobe Acrobat Professional.  In addition, his civil engineering background allows him to assist with modifying and developing grading plans for wetland mitigations, and to prepare scaled plan and profile drawings.  In his spare time, Kyle enjoys golfing, cooking, and spending time with his sons.  Resume

Susan Cornett, Office Manager

Ms. Cornett holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Spanish with an Education minor from Bucknell University in Pennsylvania, and has worked for Western Ecological Resource since 2004.  Her responsibilities include report editing and final report preparation, office management and bookkeeping.  She has more than 25 years of experience in office management and bookkeeping and more than 6 years of experience editing and producing reports for ecological studies.  Ms. Cornett is a skilled editor who has edited, formatted, and compiled more than 400 technical reports for studies completed by Western Ecological Resource.  Outside of work, Susan enjoys music, riding her horse, hiking, traveling, skiing, and spending time with her family. 




Western Ecological Resource offers a full range of professional ecological services.  Our interdisciplinary team of associates includes highly regarded scientists in the fields of wildlife biology, soil science, geology, stream restoration, and hydrology.  We excel in project management and can assemble a team of professionals tailored to the needs of your project.

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