– ecology and natural resource consulting since 1978  

Reclamation & Ecological Restoration

A two-year-old prairie restoration in Loveland, Colorado

Western Ecological Resource has experience in the reclamation and revegetation of landscapes disturbed by mining and other activities, the restoration and creation of native habitats, and the rehabilitation of streams and riparian communities in environments ranging from the plains to the subalpine.

                Our reclamation and ecological restoration services include:

                            - Detailed Reclamation and Revegetation Plans for 
                              mines and other disturbances

                            - Plans for restoration and creation of native prairies, 
                              riparian communities, and other habitats

                            - Design of native seed mixes and plantings

                            - Construction bid documents for seeding and planting

                            - Management and monitoring of relamations, seedings, 
                              and plantings

                            - Topsoil suitability analysis for reclamation

                            - Recommendations for fertilizer, soil amendments, 
                              and erosion control

                            - Monitoring of mine reclamation areas for bond release

                            - Stream restoration and riparian habitat creation

Mine Reclamation

We have prepared Reclamation Plans for hard rock and energy mines throughout the western United States.  Our Reclamation Plans address both soil and vegetation.  We evaluate the suitability of the soil for reclamation, calculate soil volumes, and provide recommendations for soil amendments.  Next, we prepare native seed mixes, and provide specifications for seeding and mulching methods and application rates.  We work with mines to establish reclamation success standards, to implement the Reclamation Plans, and then monitor reclaimed areas untill the success standards are met.  We have conducted greenhouse studies to evaluate approaches to reclamation and have monitored test plots to evaluate the success of plant species.  Examples of our reclamation work include the development of Reclamation Plans and the supervision of seeding operations for the State of Colorado Abandoned Mine Land Program and the development of Reclamation Plans for Butte Resources' potash mine in Utah, for Conoco's uranium mine in New Mexico, and for Plexus Resource Corporation's borite mine in Oregon.


Ecological Restoration

We create and restore native habitats in environments ranging from the plains to the subalpine.  These have included prairies, riparian habitats, shrublands and forests, wetlands, subalpine meadows, and stream restorations.  The creation plans include a thorough assessment of soil conditions, specifications for seedbed preparation, soil amendments, seed mixes, live plantings, seeding and planting methods, mulch, timing of creations, supplemental irrigation, and weed control. 

We work with local, state and federal agencies to acquire any necessary permits for implementation of creation plans, prepare construction bid documents, assist clients in the selection of earthmoving contractors, and then implement and/or supervise implementation of the plans.  We also monitor the creations until they are self-sustaining communities and prepare the annual monitoring reports which are often required by regulatory agencies.

We have created native prairies, riparian habitats, wetlands, and other native plant communties for real estate developments, parks and small towns in Colorado.  For example, we have created 10 acres of native prairie and 2 acres of wetland and riparian habitat for the City of Loveland, Colorado and 15 acres of native prairie for Cherry Creek State Park in Colorado. 

We have  also created and restored streams and riparian habitats for numerous real estate developments and resorts in Colorado.  Examples of stream rehabilitation projects include the creation of a new 1.4-mile-long channel for Abrams Creek in Eagle, Colorado, a new 0.2-mile-long channel for McCoy Creek at Arrowhead Ski Resort and a new quarter-mile long channel for Indian Creek near Loveland, Colorado.


Subalpine Wetland Restoration Project

Soil Saturation Map

Our plant ecologists developed and implemented a Restoration Plan for six subalpine wetlands impacted by a temporary timber haul road in Eagle County, Colorado.  The 31,000 square foot restoration area, located at 11,100 feet, encompassed three wetland types: Spruce-Fir/Chiming Bells Wetlands, Forested Seeps, and Snowbed Meadow Wetlands.

Implementation of the Restoration Plan began in September 2000, when the original topography and drainage patterns were restored; the site was seeded, mulched, and fertilized; and trees were transplanted into some wetlands.  Our plant ecologists also hand collected seed from the adjacent reference areas and broadcast it into the wetlands during subsequent growing seasons.

To document the success of the restoration, we established permanent monitoring transects in the wetlands and the adjacent undisturbed reference areas to measure plant cover and species diversity.  In addition, our associated soil scientist mapped patterns of soil saturation to document restoration of a wetland hydrology.  The wetland restoration was monitored for seven years until the success criteria had been achieved and the restoration was approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.  The photos below illlustrate restoration in each of the three wetland types.  

                          2001                                                                           2007
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