Vander Meer's Wildland Conservation Services
Severe Disturbance Restoration
The road cut in the background of the picture contrasts sharply with the slope on the right. After reducing the angle of the slope and improving the soil content, covering the exposed surface with matting and planting a variety of trees and shrubs helps to stop erosion and improve soil stability.
We can restore vegetation on severely disturbed sites such as abandoned placer and hard-rock mine tailings, slag heaps, gravel pits, log deck landings, severely burned sites and road obliteration projects. We can also ameliorate toxic or lifeless soils. Our approach attempts to mimic and accelerate natural recovery processes; we identify the factors that limit plant establishment and combine this information with an understanding of the ecology and physiology of specific plant species. Restoration plans also consider appropriate plant community development in light of landform, expected flood dynamics and land management objectives.
We often use bioengineering techniques to stabilize steep slopes or control erosion and mass wasting and promote soil water infiltration. Bioengineering refers to the use of living structures to stabilize soil and add vigor to the disturbed site.
To restore or enhance riparian and wetland ecosystems, we emphasize the restoration of biophysical processes that promote natural riparian recovery, while simultaneously enhancing stream bank strength, stream channel integrity, water quality and aesthetics.
We employ a variety of on-the-ground restoration and bioengineering techniques to meet planned objectives. We use native plant materials on all projects and emphasize putting the right plant in the right place. We also use on-site plant materials whenever possible; for example, soils with dormant seeds, shrub transplants, willow cuttings, seed collection and dispersion, and seed traps. Mark Vander Meer pioneered the application of bioengineering techniques in northern latitudes, specifically the use of "brush bars." Brush bars are typically employed on floodplains.
Many of our revegetation techniques dovetail nicely with in-stream fish habitat structures. As a result, we are able to enhance terrestrial and aquatic environments that provide optimum fish habitat.
To assess a project's influence on future conditions (specifically soil stability, ecologic integrity and water quality), restoration activities should be objectively monitored into the future. We can provide a comprehensive monitoring procedure for each project.
Techniques can include photo points, bank strength ratings, sediment deposition and character, plant species composition and ecologic trends.
Mark Vander Meer, our restoration ecologist, carries out the assessment, writes the plans, leads the revegetation crew and follows up with maintenance and monitoring. There is no gap between the scientist and on-the-ground work.