EWRG July Meeting Announcement – Turtle Conservation Best Management Practices

DATE:    Wednesday, July 29, 2015
PLACE:  Hawthorne Lucky Lab Brew Pub, 915 SE Hawthorne Blvd
TIME:     11:30 a.m. Networking, 12:00 – 1:00 p.m. Presentation
SPEAKER:  Susan Barnes, Regional Conservation Biologist
TOPIC:  Turtle Conservation Best Management Practices

Oregon’s two native turtle species, the western painted turtle and western pond turtle, have experienced significant population declines and continue to be highly vulnerable to habitat loss and other anthropogenic impacts. They are classified as “Critical” on Oregon’s Sensitive Species List, are “Protected Nongame Wildlife”, and are priority species in the Oregon Conservation Strategy. Actions that involve ground disturbance, in-water work, changes in water level and hydroperiod, planting of vegetation, and use of heavy equipment are only a few types of activities known to affect turtles. Albeit unintentional, these activities can actually make habitat less suitable for turtles and even result in direct injury and mortality to turtles present at a project site. There has been a growing demand for known techniques for successfully avoiding and minimizing harmful effects to turtles at project sites and during project implementation. And with increasing awareness of the plight of Oregon’s turtles, there has been a growing desire to incorporate turtle habitat elements into project designs, including those focused on floodplain restoration. To address these issues and needs, ODFW in partnership with the Oregon Native Turtle Working Group recently produced “Guidance for Conserving Oregon’s Native Turtles Including Best Management Practices”. The document is a compilation of peer-reviewed, recommended best methods for creating suitable turtle habitat and for avoiding and minimizing harmful impacts to turtles and their habitats during project implementation, whether it is culvert replacement, trail construction, dredging, or riparian restoration. The Turtle BMPs helps project planners and natural resource managers know how to 1) determine if turtles are present on a project site, 2) create and enhance habitat specifically for turtles, and 3) plan, design and implement specific types of projects with turtles in mind. The BMPs also includes useful information on turtle ecology, when to best conduct certain project actions, and tips for responding to certain turtle related scenarios (e.g., what to do if you find a turtle in the middle of the road). Regardless of the project type or situation, each can be made to be less harmful to turtles by considering the information in the Turtle BMPs document. By implementing these deliberate measures, together we can help protect and conserve Oregon’s native turtles.

Turtle conservation

Susan is a wildlife biologist with a B.S. from the University of New Hampshire in Wildlife Management with an emphasis in Forestry.  She has been with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) since 1998.  Prior to joining ODFW, Susan worked for the New Hampshire Audubon Society, a private ecological research institute, the U.S. Forest Service, and for private environmental consulting firms. She currently serves as the Conservation Biologist for the west side of the state. Her focus is conservation of nongame wildlife species and their habitats, and implementation of the Oregon Conservation Strategy.  Susan’s areas of expertise include habitat assessment and restoration techniques, impact analysis and mitigation planning, wildlife policy, and invasive wildlife.  She never bores of the sometimes bizarre wildlife related questions she gets from the public!

EWRG June Meeting Announcement – Plant Selection for Stormwater Management Facilities

DATE:    Wednesday, June 24, 2015
PLACE:  Hawthorne Lucky Lab, 915 SE Hawthorne Blvd, Portland
TIME:     11:30 a.m. Networking, 12:00 – 1:00 p.m. Presentation
SPEAKER:  Jeremy Person PLA, LEED AP
TOPIC:  Plant Selection for Stormwater Management Facilities

For the past 10 years, the Bureau of Environmental Services (BES) has required the control and treatment of stormwater runoff by way of vegetated stormwater management facilities (SMFs).  SMFs use a combination of soil and plants to detain, treat and infiltrate runoff from roads, roofs and other paved surfaces.  The 2014 Stormwater Management Manual (SWMM) published by BES outlines the function, design and maintenance requirements of SMFs, but does not explain the role of plants in stormwater facilities.  Therefore, designers are left with little to inform their plant selections other than typical landscape considerations which may conflict with the specialized needs of the SMF.

This presentation will outline a framework for the plant selection process for SMFs.  While its basis will be specific to BES facilities built in Portland, Oregon, the intent is to identify specific characteristics of plants rather than the plants themselves, which vary by region.  By identifying important characteristics in plants, designers will be able to focus on the most appropriate plant palette to maximize facility functions.

Jeremy Person is a professionally registered landscape architect for the City of Portland’s Bureau of Environmental Services.  Jeremy has worked in the Watershed Revegetation Program at BES since 2007, where his main responsibilities are design and project management of stormwater treatment and natural area restoration projects.  Sustainability and regenerative design have been and continue to be a key component of Jeremy’s professional work.  His recent projects for the city include several large stormwater treatment facilities along I-5 as well as stormwater and habitat improvements on Powell Butte.  He is currently involved in the revision of the BES Greenstreet Details and the Stormwater Management Manual.  Prior to public service, Jeremy worked in private sector offices in Oregon, California and Ohio, on projects ranging from large-scale mixed-use developments and subdivision planning, to smaller residential properties.  He has a Bachelor of Science in Landscape Architecture from the Ohio State University and a Master’s of Landscape Architecture from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona.  Jeremy is an Oregon registered Landscape Architect and is LEED AP accredited.