Coastal and Marine Restoration Experts

Puget Sound beach, Washington

Puget Sound beach, Washington

One of the ecosystems where we are beginning to see the immediate effects of global change right now are aquatic environments.  News headlines show entire countries being lost to sea level rise and erosion.  FEMA is now redistricting flood areas to avoid coverage in flood and storm surge hazard areas.  This has made some waterfront properties, coastal and riverine, with declining values that are further difficult to sell. 

Here at BTND we know what to do to enhance properties that face immediate threats of global change.  See, some of the negative effects of sea level rise can be mitigated through restorative and adaptive landscape design.  Mitigation aimed at restoring and protecting natural and human systems enhances the natural and aesthetic capital of properties.  Restorative design may take place at large regional scales, and also smaller landowner levels - all with the same result - stabilizing ecosystem processes and protecting properties.  Here at BTND we are highly trained in the restoration of coastal cliffs, wetland, beaches, seagrass and seaweed ecosystems.

If you are worried about how sea level rise or coastal flooding may impact your property or management area, BTND is able to help.  Please contact us for a consultation to discuss your needs and options.   We have ideas and methods that may help you protect your assets and contribute to long-term sustainability. 

Year of the Fire Rooster

Year of the Fire Rooster : In Chinese culture, Rooster represents fidelity and punctuality, for it wakes people up on time. It is important in this Year of the Fire Rooster to stay focused on one task at a time. The year will be good but chaotic.

Year of the Fire Rooster : In Chinese culture, Rooster represents fidelity and punctuality, for it wakes people up on time. It is important in this Year of the Fire Rooster to stay focused on one task at a time. The year will be good but chaotic.

After six months of focusing on finishing my PhD, I have been able to publish a number of new papers and to build my expertise in coastal restoration and climate adaptation. It was a great year, though difficult, last year. If you would like to see more of what I have been up to, a good place to start following my public scientific work is on Researchgate where I keep my publications and projects fairly well updated.  I also continue to post about my personal journey as a scientist on my blog, Soul of a Scientist.  As always, I aim to write more, and hopefully as the PhD wraps up, I will again make more regular posts.

As we can see, this year is off to a cracking start!  So much energy and activity in the world. I always read the Chinese zodiac in my New Year planning and personal work.  Whether you 'believe' in it or not, it gives some focus to meditations. So, as BTND eases into accepting new clients and we eventually reach out to build the company again this fall, wit helps to think about and plan where we are going this year. In this current political environment, scientists and artists/designers clearly face some global challenges in our environmental work (aside from abrupt climate disruption), but we hold firm to our roots, that is, in the belief that happiness for all beings begins with a stable, healthy and functioning environment. 

A lot of our project work is focused on larger regional projects, which we feel we can make a larger impact in our communities, however, we value all our clients tremendously. This year, if you also feel your energy bubbling over and need some insight or guidance on managing your land/property by restoring natural ecosystem function or advancing more sustainable urban landscape solutions, do not hesitate to reach out to us.  We are always happy to chat, and offer some free advice or to connect you to other professionals who may be able to help. 

I think we are in for a very full year on all fronts- and I just want to leave you with a philosophical focus of mine: Kindness. Be kind - to one another and to the earth. Kindness is key. Kindness is contagious.  Kindness is courteous. Kindness is free.   

A year to pause!

Hi Everyone,

The workflow for BTND has been significantly reduced this year, as a result, we are going to take advantage of some much needed time off after over 15 years in business.  For the next 12 months, BTND is going to move to a part-time enterprise as Brooke completes her PhD program and works on publishing her research on ecological restoration.  During this time, we will be honouring new projects from our existing clients first and with the top priority of fulfilling our existing contracts.  

We look forward to ramping up our work again in 2017 with a breadth of new skills and a recharged energy for this important work we do.  Thank you so much for your continued support of our little company, with big ideas!  We value your support.

Our very best to you you all,

The BTND team

Happy Losar!

As the new year rolls around (again!) I am humbled by the continued support from our longtime clients, like environmental consultants, legal firms, engineers, architects, municipalities and commercial enterprises who value our work and our expertise.  The reason we love what we do, is because we love our clients!  BTND strive to ensure our clients are happy and that the products we deliver hold the same level of integrity that we are building with this firm.  So, many thanks again to our continuing clients.  We look forward to building relationships with new clients this year as well, so we can spread the love of our planet even farther!  

We wish you joy, peace and freedom in the new year.  Tashi Delek!

BTND is growing!

Due to increasing demand from our dedicated and new clients alike, I feel very fortunate to welcome two new hires onto the BTND team this year!  Given the integrity and dedication of my new staff, I expect we will be able to continue to grow comfortably from this point on, so that we are able to meet the increasing demand from our private, commercial and agency clients. We are also happy to announce the expansion our service area from King, Pierce and Snohomish Counties, to include Island, Kitsap, San Juan and Jefferson Counties. As a team, we are poised to make considerable strides in continuing to bringing excellence and integrity to our clients in the region.  What a perfect time of year to see what was once just 'my little company' fledge into a significantly larger company capable of providing even greater service to our clients!  

We hope your new year is similarly filled with abundance and fulfillment.  Thank you for your support! 

New Orleans CEER 2014 Conference

Click through photos above to see how Louisiana is 'restoring' coastal marsh. Thoughts?

New Orleans greeted me with a quick blast of the thickest air I have ever breathed!  I am here for a week to participate in the Conference on Ecological and Ecosystem Restoration where I will be speaking about my recent work in seagrass restoration and disease studies.  There are many wonderful scholars here that have shared valuable information about coastal policy, processes and methods for restoration.  I am deeply struck by the fact that no other presenters are speaking on either seagrass or disease.  This fact comes like a quick blow (much like the air in the City).  I see just how far of an uphill battle I have waged to bring information about the critical need for seagrass and disease research in restoration science and practice.   Further, I see through participation in this conference how far ahead in many ways Australia is in the science of restoration as a whole.  I feel very lucky to be able to work with the good researchers in Australia who understand the threats facing our global seagrass meadows and the vital and critical role seagrasses play in stabilizing our coasts and effectively creating more resilient seagrass ecosystems, which in turn supply habitat for valuable fisheries and whose beds store more carbon per area that even the dense rain forests of south America. Louisiana is truly a leader and pioneer of coastal restoration in their efforts to maintain resilience in the face of the devastating disturbances brought by hurricanes Rita and Katrina. There is no better place for me to be to meet other coastal restoration scientists and practitioners here in the US. But really, is it enough??

 

Tent Caterpillars 2014

Courtesy of: http://www.oregonlive.com/hg/index.ssf/2010/06/the_western_tent_caterpillar_t.html

Courtesy of: http://www.oregonlive.com/hg/index.ssf/2010/06/the_western_tent_caterpillar_t.html

This spring, and over the last two weeks, I have noticed a larger than average population of tent caterpillars in King and Kitsap Counties.   Many cities use Bt to treat for tent caterpillar infestations or when populations are particularly large and the cities get a lot of complaints.  Below are some ideas for naturally treating tent caterpillars (without chemicals). I remember a few years of heavy caterpillar infestations when I was a kid.  What a joy to collect a few in a jar and feed and watch them grow!  What a pain as they dropped from the trees into my hair :)

So, how do I know the critter I have been seeing are tent caterpillars?  I didn't, so I looked into it today.  Here is what I have found from the City of Seattle website:

Identification

"The egg masses are visible in winter, are grayish-brown and about one inch long. As soon as the eggs hatch in April or May, the caterpillars begin eating leaves and create "tents" - white, silky shelters that cover the forks and tips of tree branches and shrubs. They feed during daylight and return to their tents at night.

The caterpillars are easy to recognize. They have a yellow checkered pattern with a blue dotted line down their backs, and can be three inches long when mature. The caterpillars molt four times over a period of five or six weeks, then stop eating. They choose a place to spin a cocoon and lay their eggs, and moths emerge about two weeks later. The adult moths mate immediately, lay eggs, and die a few days later; the eggs winter over until spring, when the whole process begins again".

Control Recommendations

"Natural predators include many garden birds, which eat the caterpillars. Other predators are wasps and ground beetles. Homeowners who see infestations on their property should watch the number of tents forming and monitor the leaf damage. Individual tents can be removed by pruning in the early morning and evening, when the temperature is cool and caterpillars are inside them (a pole pruner is useful for high branches). Put pruned nests in a bucket of soapy water or seal them in a plastic bag and crush it. Do not remove large branches or perform excessive pruning as a means of caterpillar control - you may do more damage to the tree by pruning than the caterpillars would do by eating the leaves.

Another method of control is to hand-strip egg masses, or prune them out of plants during the winter."

I will post more pictures of my own new time I encounter a nest.

 

 

Wasting disease symptoms in local seagrass

While collecting seagrass specimen this month, I observed a significant reduction in the size of eelgrass beds at one of my long-term monitoring sites, Carkeek Park, in Seattle.  I also observed sure signs of a wasting disease outbreak where I was collecting in May.  

The wasting disease of seagrass has been known to cause catastrophic losses to beds at local and regional scales throughout history.  Please read my review paper in Fungal Ecology to learn more.

Here are some photos of what I saw recently affecting shoots, stems, roots and flowers:

 

I would like to collect samples of any beds that may be affected. This disease can wipe out a large bed in a matter of months, so please contact me ASAP if you see evidence of mass wasting in any seagrass you encounter this summer in Washington, especially Puget Sound.  

 

For more information see:

http://www.seagrassli.org/ecology/wasting_disease.html  

The United States Releases a Climate Assessment

Going green while we still can!  A shopping mall in Sydney Australia, 2014

Going green while we still can!  A shopping mall in Sydney Australia, 2014

After a month of filtering through climates science and assessments, I have found that the US has put out its own draft assessment (http://ncadac.globalchange.gov/).  While some people are still debating whether climate change is real or not, if the scientists are biased or not, the US government has decided it is time to not only admit the climate science is good and compelling - but they concede in the first lines of the executive summary that climate change is driven by human activities.  It is easy to read and sets out some important results that reveal the critical nature of the climate problem in terms we can all understand.

I have not read the entire report yet, but do plan to make my way through it.  There is no topic more important to me that understanding climate science so that we can make educated decisions about how to adapt to the changes were are seeing right outside of our windows each day.  We are witnessing heavier downpours, extended periods of unusually dry weather, and higher intensity storms. 

In my own work I am witnessing thousands of year old trees suddenly dying from drought stress and species long known to inhabit our region (like Western Red Cedar) dying out and stressed throughout the entire Pacific Northwest region.  We have more data on climate change than we did on weapons of mass destruction, and this threat is far more ominous.  Why do we still have climate deniers?  

There is clearly a lot of work to do to look at the climate projections and understand our vulnerabilities regionally.  The thing many people are not understanding is that the world will continue to exist through climate change, it is our vulnerable human condition that becomes threatened… maybe not to extinction, but certainly to regional extirpations.  Will there come a time when we have to list ourselves as endangered?  

While it may be conceptually difficult to comprehend our own suicide, it is an order of magnitude more difficult for me to comprehend how armed with facts at the global, national and regional level, we still are not taking action to understand and mitigate the changes. 

Join me as I give in and take on the information available.  To those who think the problem is too big, or the costs to great, just imagine what they will be in 5 or 10 years?  It's like waiting to buy bottled water at the amusement park when you could have brought a glass from home - the costs, the thirst, the effort is 1000X greater than when we have a little foresight and prepare.