Sunday, November 24, 2013


November 9, 2013 at FLCC

Ben Zimmerman, Construction Manager and Restoration Ecologist of Applied Ecological Services, Inc. spoke to an audience of 20 about what it takes to recreate a diverse, functional native ecosystem.  Ben, a Wisconsin native and Stevens Point graduate, shared an informative power point presentation from which I took the following notes:

Ben introduced the three components of Applied Ecological Services as Consulting, Contracting, and Nursery.

Consulting includes components of Landscape Design, Ecological Assessment, Permitting, GIS, High Resolution Multi Spectrum Imaging, and Engineering.

The Nursery services cover 300 acres of land in Wisconsin focusing on over 400 species of native plants for local genotypes.  Native plants can become costly as they can be difficult to come by and difficult to clean.  Native seed is often measured by ounce instead of pound.  Seeds are collected from private and public land.  For the project at Seneca Meadows Wetlands Preserve many seeds were collected in 2007 from Montezuma.  Many of the seeds needed to be collected in narrow windows of time after keeping a careful watch on weather conditions. Ben explained that obtaining seeds from private land owners becomes a great public education service as awareness of property values and the diversity of species is explained.

There is an excellent video about the Taylor Creek Restoration Nurseries on the front page of the AES website:

Ben then focused much of the presentation on Contracting which covers: design-build, bioengineering, eco-construction, seeding, planting, erosion control, woodland brushing (invasive species removal), ecological management and maintenance.

The WHY of Ecological Restoration includes: biological diversity, wildlife habitat, water quality, air quality, soil building, carbon sequestration, educational, stewardship, sustainability, and aesthetics.

Projects come from: mitigation and wetland banking, remediation, habitat improvement, permit renewal, conservation development, green infrastructure, native landscaping, and invasive species.

·        Compensation for ‘unavoidable’ environmental impact…usually wetland impact.
·        Involves a calculated acreage ratio dependant on the nature of the impact.
·        If approached properly, can have positive outcomes.
·        Requires permitting from the state USACE (US Army Corp of Engineers)
                                    Replacing what is destroyed.

·        US has lost over 50% of our wetlands
·        Clean Water Act regulated by NYSDEC
·        USACE permits mitigation
·        Contamination – superfund sites, EPA – drives remediation
·        Disruption – dams agriculture management

Ben spoke specifically about the Seneca Meadows Inc. Dove Property Wetland Mitigation in Waterloo, NY and showed areal photographs from 2005, 2009, and 2011.  We heard about the forested wetlands, emergent marsh, wet mesic, and oak savanna prairie.  Ben had photos of the earth movers that were needed to give the flat farm lands some topography in 2008.  (He also showed us other “cool toys” like land tamers and amphibian vehicles.)  During the project, Indiana Bats were found to be present and project course needed to change to preserve trees to be protective habitat for the bats.  This resulted in several tree islands within the marsh. The installation phase included 420 acres of seeding, 10,000 trees and shrubs, and 164,000 plant plugs.

The SMI Dove Property is currently in the Management Phase (2011-2022) where controlled burns, backpack sprayers, and plows will be used to physically manage the project. 

Goals of Management:
·        Restore a functional native ecosystem
·        Recreate biological community that historically existed
·        Stabilize soils
·        Remove invasive species
·        Enhance existing ecosystems
·        Ultimately meet performance standards of permit for percentage of native and invasive plant species coverage

·        woody and herbaceous
·        vegetation survey
·        reptile and amphibian survey
·        bird survey
·        fish survey
·        wetland delineation
·        water quality survey
·        hydrology monitoring
·        macro invertebrate survey

Our word of the day comes from hydrology monitoring with a tool called a piezometer: an instrument for measuring pressure or compressibility; especially one for measuring the change of pressure of a material subjected to hydrostatic pressure.  We saw a photo of a piezometer made with PVC pipe with tiny holes.  They are covered by black material – should you happen to notice any during your next walk through the Seneca Meadow Wetland Preserve.

Post AES Management: Audubon, NY will become the site stewards after AES completes their project.  SMI has set up an endowment fund that will provide a management budget for Audubon (which already has an educational center nearby). 

Ben told us about the SMI Black Brook Relocation/Cleaning projects which combined with the Dove Property (Seneca Meadows Wetland Preserve) cover nearly 1000 acres.

Ben finished with an overview of a habitat improvement project in Grand Island, NY near the Niagara River called Little Beaver Island. 

For more about Seneca Meadows:

Sunday, November 10, 2013

A poem read by Mary Purdy to start our meeting...


No sun--no moon!
No morn--no noon!
No dawn--no dusk--no proper time of day--
No sky--no earthly view--
No distance looking blue--
No road--no street--no "t'other side this way"--
No end to any Row--
No indications where the Crescents go--
No top to any steeple--
No recognitions of familiar people--
No courtesies for showing 'em--
No knowing 'em!
No traveling at all--no locomotion--
No inkling of the way--no notion--
"No go" by land or ocean--
No mail--no post--
No news from any foreign coast--
No Park, no Ring, no afternoon gentility--
No company--no nobility--
No warmth, no cheerfulness, no healthful ease,
No comfortable feel in any member--
No shade, no shine, no butterflies, no bees,
No fruits, no flowers, no leaves, no birds--

Saturday, October 19, 2013


10:00 AM on Saturday, November 9, 2013
Indoor meeting at Finger Lakes Community College, Room C220
Ben Zimmerman, Construction Manager of Applied Ecological Services, Inc. will speak about what it takes to recreate a diverse, functional native ecosystem.  Why do we value these systems?  When and where can ecological restoration projects be applied?  Ben will answer these questions and many more.  His presentation will describe the ecological restoration process from start to finish.  He has been involved in the creation of Seneca Meadows.

For more about Seneca Meadows:

For directions to FLCC room C220:  

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Ontario Pathways' Great Pumpkin Walk

Saturday, October 19, 2013    6:30 PM - 9:30 PM
Ontario Fairgrounds, CR 10

It's the 15th Annual moonlight walk along the beautiful Ontario Pathways trail. Stroll a mile-long path lined with hundreds of glowing jack-o-lanterns. Enjoy sweet autumn refreshments and experience the best outdoor family activity around! Suitable for all ages; strollers and wheelchairs OK. Free parking at the Ontario County Fairgrounds. 
$4 per person, kids under 2 free.  No dogs please.

 Rain Date is October 20th

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Fall hike overlooking Canandaigua Lake with Marty Dodge on September 21, 2013

Although the day was overcast with threats of rain, ten of us enjoyed an informative hike through the woods and meadows surrounding Marty Dodge’s home overlooking Canandaigua Lake.  

Marty shared information about the No Child Left Inside Act and the importance of environmental education happening in the field outside of the classroom.  I found this youtube video that explains it well:

Marty took us on a hike through property that once belonged to the Barnum family and was divided between four sisters who each had 60 acres around the 35 acre homestead.  Two of the sisters plan to transfer property to the Finger Lakes Land Trust.

Here is just a sampling of our hike through photos:
Hawthorn apple tree near wood pile
Wood cut with love?
pond with cat tails
Marty tells about building a rock wall to hold a new daffodil garden
beginning our walk into the woods
Marty had a lot to share about two American Chestnut trees
American Chestnut
American chestnut catkin
meadow view from the woods edge
overlooking Barns Gully that feeds into Canandaigua Lake at Onanda Park
overlooking the gully
back to pasture (where cattle once gazed)
Bill Bross and Marty Dodge
black cherry
Black Eyed Susan
Black snakeroot
Black Raspberries (VERY tasty!)
Bridge with troll?
butter and eggs
butterfly stump
cinnamon fern frond
Fall color!
delicately decomposed leaf
looking east over Canandaigua Lake
red leaves
maple leaf
sensitive fern
fern - bracken?
field overlook
colorful fungus near base of tree
coral fungus
gray dogwood
forest floor
Marty talks about the forest
Hawkweed - Indian paintbrush
hawthorn apples
standing among phytotoxic invasive spotted knotweed
shagbark hickory
hickory leaves starting to change color
hickory branch with fragrant hickory fruits
hops hornbeam
iron wood
joe pye weed
joe pye weed in field
young botanist enjoys a rest on a bench that Marty made
lake view from forest
lake view
Marty "Dodging" the raindrops
"Outstanding" in the field
milkweeds in field
forest floor with moss and more
"tennis ball" moss (according to Laura only)
star moss
white moss
moss - coral and another
moss mixture
more moss
moss with sticks and stones
mushroom fungus
oak marble gall
Marty explains old growth forest floor
aged stump at edge of forest
hoping the rain will wait a bit
Peggy and Bill strolling along the meadow path
talking about a poplar leaf
queens Anne's lace
rosette gall
also called flower or bunch gall causing goldenrod to split
for more information about galls:

serviceberry (june berry tree)
serviceberry bark
stick weed
tall white lettuce
tasty plums!
through the woods
trail maintenance
pleasant view
the rain came near the end of our hike
unknown - anyone care to share?
vulture - identified by wings in V form
Marty tells us about the white oak - used in Old Ironside.
He also talked about the difference between red and white oaks
white snakeroot (see more in two prior events)
woods wander
returning to start
hike complete - enjoying the lake view before we leave

THANK YOU Marty Dodge for inviting us to your home
and sharing the wealth of information.
We'll look forward to visiting again in the spring when the daffodils are blooming.