Ecologist - Niswander Environmental, LLC
B.S. 1995 School of Agriculture and Natural Resources – Resource Development, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI
Mr. Bridgland is an Ecologist specializing in wetland and terrestrial habitat assessment. He has over 15 years of experience in wetland and ecosystem management, and is responsible for identifying and delineating wetlands for commercial, municipal, and non-profit clients; conducting Natural Features and/or Comprehensive Wetland Inventories; habitat restoration; preparing local, state, and federal permit applications; conducting vegetation and wildlife inventories; wetland planting; invasive species management; and wetland mitigation monitoring. He has extensive field experience in habitat management, a strong knowledge of Midwestern wetland and terrestrial flora, and experience in wildlife biology and stream restoration.
Professional Wetland Scientist #1810, Society of Wetland Scientists, 2007 - present
Endangered Species Certification through MDNR – Permit #1706, 2005 - present
Certified Arborist # MI-3937A, International Society of Arboriculture (ISA), 2007 - present
Certified Pesticide Applicator #C006080351, Michigan Dept. of Agriculture, 2008 - present
Certified Stormwater Operator #C-13861, MDEQ, 2007 - present
OSHA HAZWOPER 40-hr Certification, OSHA, 2010 - present
Wetland Mitigation Monitoring – Statewide (2003 – present)
Perform wetland mitigation monitoring services for 6 mitigation wetlands totaling almost 100 acres throughout Michigan, according to MDEQ standards. The mitigation wetlands range in size from one acre to over forty acres, and monitoring is conducted annually at each site for periods of time specified in each individual MDEQ permit. Comprehensive Floristic Quality Assessments are conducted, and wildlife usage and hydrology are evaluated to determine overall success. As each wetland is monitored and managed, corrective actions such as invasive species control or bank stabilization are identified and remedied to ensure MDEQ compliance.
Wetland Mitigation Assessment – Various Watersheds throughout MI (2006 – present)
Provide ongoing services to public entities involving comprehensive searches for land suitable for wetland mitigation within various watersheds throughout Michigan. Mitigation searches are initially conducted utilizing GIS to identify suitable land. Responsible for compiling GIS base maps by overlaying pertinent digital data (i.e., soils, hydrology, topography, water sources, etc.), as available. Properties are preliminarily identified as potential mitigation sites based on a several factors, and later field evaluated until a suitable property is discovered.
Invasive Species Management – Various Clients, Michigan (2006 – present)
Use mechanical, chemical, and biological techniques to control non-native, invasive plant species such as Phragmites, purple loosestrife, reed canary grass, and glossy buckthorn (among others) at various sites throughout Michigan. Currently manage 6 mitigation wetlands, 10 MDOT wetlands, 5 open space subdivisions, and approximately 30 acres within the Wayne County Parks system. GPS Mapping protocol is often utilized to provide client with accurate data (i.e., location, stand size and density, mgmt. technique, etc.)
Endangered Species Assessment – Various Clients, Ohio and Michigan (2001 – present)
Perform comprehensive endangered species surveys and habitat assessments throughout Michigan for various species, including the Indiana bat, spotted turtle, Eastern massasauga rattlesnake, Blanchard’s cricket frog, lotus, white lady’s slipper orchid, smallmouth salamander, Eastern fox snake, short-fruited rush, and various mussels. As part of the due diligence process, responsible for alerting clients as to the likely presence of a given species, and necessary mitigative actions are typically taken to avoid conflict during the planning phase of a project.
MDOT Wetland Restoration – Various Locations, Michigan (2009 - present)
Ecologist serving to restore ten MDOT mitigation wetlands through management of invasive species and subsequent replanting of wetlands. Chemically treated over 4,000 combined acres of reed canary grass and Phragmites since 2008 using ATV, Argo, and/or backpack sprayers. All sites have responded well to treatment and are re-establishing with native species. In addition, have hand-installed over 75,000 bare-root native trees and shrubs as part of MDOT reforestation projects in the past six years.
Holland Country Club Mitigation Wetland, City of Holland, Michigan (2010 – present)
In June 2010, the MDEQ granted a permit for the expansion of a food processing facility in Holland Township (Ottawa County). Approximately 10 acres of low-quality regulated forested wetland was impacted by the expansion; therefore, mitigation was required, totaling 20 acres. Since on-site mitigation was not viable, off-site mitigation at a former golf course in the City of Holland (Holland Country Club) was accepted based on ideal site conditions and the fact that the former golf course property offered excellent potential for restoration. This mitigation is part of a larger grant project that involves converting 52 acres of golf course turf grass that currently lies within the 100 year floodplain of the Macatawa River to wetland, and restoring approximately 3,000 feet of the Macatawa River. The mitigation wetland will reduce non-point source pollutant loading to Lake Macatawa, which is directly connected to Lake Michigan. This mitigation project directly achieves the goals of the “Great Lakes Regional Collaboration Strategy to Restore and Protect the Great Lakes” through creation and restoration of wetlands and restoration of riverine habitat and floodplains. Served as Ecologist responsible for delineating wetlands at the 25-acre food processing facility and Holland Country Club, MDEQ wetland and stream permitting, planting of 8,100 native trees and shrubs, invasive species management to control reed canary grass, streambank stabilization, erosion control, supplemental seeding of wetland basin, comprehensive floral surveys, and wetland mitigation monitoring. Will continue to monitor and manage the mitigation wetland for a period of ten years (through 2021).
Grow Zone Restoration – Wayne County Parks (2012 - present)
In 2012, Wayne County obtained a Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) Program Grant with the intent of restoring green space within the Upper, Lower, and Middle Branches of the Rouge River Area of Concern. Acted as Project Manager responsible for assessing existing conditions of 20 selected Wayne County Grow Zones along the Rouge River for potential restoration activities to be completed as part of this grant. The assessment focused on identifying the presence and extent of invasive species at each site and the recommended treatment for their control. Each Grow Zone site was characterized according to its habitat type, significance, and vegetative quality as it related to the remainder of the parkland, immediate surrounding area, the watershed, and the County as a whole. Once the Grow Zone sites were assessed and prioritized, conducted restoration activities through herbicide applications and/or prescribed burns. Treatment techniques varied depending on the target species, its size and density, and the time of year. Restored over 30 acres of degraded riparian habitat since 2012, and devised a long-term management plan to restore approximately 30 acres each year that is being implemented by Niswander Environmental through 2017.
USFWS Refuge Gateway Coastal Wetland Restoration, Trenton, Michigan (2011 - 2013)
Ecologist for project involving restoration of degraded shoreline along the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge in Trenton, Michigan. Responsible for construction oversight of a 3-acre coastal wetland, restoration of 1,200 linear feet of bioengineered shoreline protection (soft-engineering), permitting, and wetland restoration activities such as invasive species control, installation of native trees and shrubs, planting of native aquatic plants, and seeding of 20 acres of restored prairie. This project has been described as transformational for the region by restoring an industrial brownfield into high quality wildlife habitat that expands the ecological buffer of a high quality natural area.
Natural Features Assessments – Livingston County Road Commission (2007 – present)
Lead ecologist responsible for completing comprehensive natural features assessments for multiple road, bridge, and trail projects for the Livingston County Road Commission. Primary duties associated with each project include wetland assessment and delineation, endangered species habitat assessment and survey, floodplain analysis, stream evaluations, woodland assessments, and state permitting.
Parcel Assessment – Confidential Client (2013)
Ecologist responsible for the detailed evaluation of natural features within 5 parcels in Canton Township totaling over 500 acres. Conducted thorough FOIA reviews relating to each property, and performed delineations at each site to identify wetlands and watercourses. Provided a detailed report that identified potential site constraints along with recommendations on how to appropriately develop the properties with regards to their natural features.
County Farm Park Stream Restoration, Ann Arbor, Michigan (2011 - 2013)
The purpose of this project is to reduce erosion, stabilize the stream channel, minimize long-term maintenance required, and improve water quality within County Farm Drain. The project involved construction of a two-stage stream channel and an offline, regional detention pond to diminish peak flows and increase baseflow. Responsible for providing a wetland delineation within the project limits, a qualitative habitat evaluation of the naturalized forested buffer, and a Threatened and Endangered Species assessment to determine if suitable habitat was present for several state-listed species.
MDNR Phragmites Control – Sterling State Park & Algonac State Park, MI (2011 - 2013)
The goal of this grant project was to significantly suppress invasive Phragmites within designated areas of Algonac State Park, Sterling State Park, and the northern River Raisin delta. The wetlands have been identified as especially important and impaired. Two of the “beneficial use impairments” identified within this Area of Concern are related to loss of fish and wildlife habitat and degradation of fish and wildlife populations. This project was part of a larger Great Lakes Restoration Initiative-funded project to address fish and wildlife habitat and population beneficial use impairments in the River Raisin Area of Concern. Responsible for applying aquatic-safe herbicides to the targeted plants within the designated treatment areas, and performing detailed mapping of all stands using GPS. Special precautions were taken to avoid collateral damage to rare communities and to adjacent endangered plants.
Blanchard’s Cricket Frog Survey, Washtenaw County, Michigan (2009 – 2011)
In 2009, the Washtenaw County Environmental Health Department applied for a MDEQ permit to chemically treat invasive aquatic vegetation that was threatening the diversity of a local lake. The MDNR reviewed the project to determine if the state-threatened Blanchard’s cricket frog could be negatively impacted. As part of the review, the MDNR recommended that the lake be monitored for the presence of Blanchard’s cricket frog both before and after the herbicide application. Served as lead ecologist responsible for detailed pre-treatment habitat assessment to determine if suitable conditions were present for this species, and three post-treatment direct surveys from 2009 to 2011 to determine if the applications had impacted the cricket frog population. Optimal areas surrounding the lake were surveyed via kayak to verify the presence of the frog, and locations of breeding males were collected using GPS.
MDNR Oak Savanna Restoration – Petersburg SGA, Dundee, Michigan (2010)
Responsible for cut-stump treatment and removal of invasive shrubs (i.e., honeysuckle, glossy buckthorn, multiflora rose, etc.) at the 400 acre Petersburg State Game Area (PSGA). PGSA consists of habitats ranging from an Oak Savanna to an Oak Hickory forest. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources recently reintroduced the Karner blue butterfly to the game area and determined that controlling highly competitive invasive woody species was critical due to the endangered status of the Karner blue butterfly and the uniqueness of the Oak Savanna habitat.
MDNR Wetland Restoration – Petobego Marsh, Acme Township, Michigan (2010)
The objective of this project was to substantially reduce the presence of non-native Phragmites in the Petobego State Game Area, thereby further favoring the presence of native vegetation. MDNR-managed wetlands were being restored to mimic natural wetlands that were once common in Northern Michigan. The general goal of this project was to control Phragmites before it spread throughout the high-quality wetlands. Responsible for applying herbicide to invasive Phragmites at the designated treatment areas. This work was accomplished by applying herbicide to these plants using ground-based application techniques, by a combination of foliar spraying in most areas, and hand-swiping herbicide onto individual plants in high quality habitat.
Greenspace Habitat Assessment – Rochester Hills, MI (2010)
A Natural Features Inventory conducted by Niswander Environmental in 2005 was analyzed for significance to the City of Rochester Hills by developing qualitative criteria for site ranking. Conducted a detailed floristic inventory and baseline assessment of four greenspace properties located along the Clinton River. The field assessments identified specific habitats (i.e., upland forest, scrub-shrub wetland, fen community, etc.) that were qualitatively assessed, characterized, and mapped according to their type, significance, and vegetative quality as it relates to the remainder of the site, immediate surrounding area, and the City as a whole. This work resulted in acquisition of the properties and provided the City with potential management strategies that will preserve and enhance open space in this highly developed community.
Wetland Inventory and Functional Assessment – Bloomfield Township, Michigan (2007)
Bloomfield Township received a grant from the Rouge River National Wet Weather Demonstration Project to develop a comprehensive Wetland Inventory that identifies, categorizes, and assesses all wetlands and surface waters within the Township. The goal of this inventory was not only to identify and characterize the Township’s 1,460 acres of existing wetlands, lakes, ponds, and watercourses, but also to provide a baseline data-set to be used for future land use planning. The Wetland Inventory was designed as a GIS-based tool that can be used by Township planning, engineering, environmental, and building departments on a daily basis to evaluate projects and potential impacts to the Township’s remaining wetlands and other natural resources. Responsible for identifying and assessing over 250 wetlands utilizing the Michigan Rapid Assessment Method (MiRAM), which qualitatively evaluates the functions and values of a given wetland.
Wetland Delineation and Permitting – Marion Township, Michigan (2006 - 2007)
Performed wetland assessment of a 1,200-acre property utilizing available aerial photographs and GIS data. Areas that were determined to potentially contain wetland habitat were then field assessed and delineated during the planning and permitting phase of an open-space residential development. Nineteen wetlands and two streams were flagged and surveyed on the property, and each wetland was assessed based on quality, regulatory status, and the functions and values it provides. Drafted and received a MDEQ wetland permit in 2007 while preserving over 120 acres of high quality wetland that will be designated as natural areas for a future open space development.
Natural Features Inventory – Long Lake Township, MI (2006)
Inventoried natural features within Long Lake Township (Grand Traverse County) for the purpose of developing a strategy for preserving the natural beauty and significant natural features of the community. The NFI provided a baseline data set to be used for future land use planning, and works as guidance for preservation, restoration, and/or management of the Township’s open space. Wetlands, woodlands, steep slopes, watercourses, natural areas, and threatened and endangered species were identified and characterized qualitatively.
Habitat Assessment – Oakland County, MI (2004 - 2005)
Conducted extensive habitat assessment of 600-acre site for the Indiana bat and Eastern massasauga rattlesnake as part of a Federal Environmental Assessment (EA). Various habitat suitability characteristics were carefully examined, including vegetation types and densities, habitat structure, roosting and foraging availability, and surrounding land use. Prepared and received state and federal permits as required for the EA.
Wetland Inventory – Clinton Township, MI (2004-2005)
Conducted a GIS-based inventory of all wetlands greater than two acres throughout Clinton Township in Macomb County for the purpose of developing a wetland ordinance. Field verification of wetland habitat allowed the client to develop a Regulated Wetlands Map. Provided qualitative assessment of higher quality features for future preservation.
Water Quality Analysis – Oakland and Wayne Counties, MI (2005)
Collected surface water samples and water quality data at designated river stations within a local township to establish baseline water quality data prior to the onset of high-density residential development. In addition, assessed the potential impact of increased nutrient loading to the Lower Rouge River.
Treatment Wetland BioMonitoring – Hillsdale County, MI (2003 - 2005)
Performed weekly assessment of 5-acre treatment wetland designed to mitigate contaminated groundwater. Conducted on-site water quality (surface water and groundwater) sampling on weekly basis and off-site water quality sampling on a quarterly basis. Evaluated wildlife usage, managed invasive plant species, and assessed vegetation for monthly monitoring reports.
Land Use Inventories of Utility Right-Of-Ways – Various Locations in MI, OH, WV, & NY (2001 – 2004)
Conducted land use inventories within utility right-of-ways in which vegetation and wetland data were collected. Responsibilities included categorizing forest types by dominant species, height, and densities, and GIS mapping of vegetation, wetlands, streams, and other significant natural features. These data provided the client detailed information regarding future management decisions.
Watershed Assessment – Hermitage, PA (2003 - 2004)
Inventoried local wetlands and studied the watersheds of eight headwater streams in Pennsylvania to assess and search for a link between water quality and existing land use. The goal was to delineate land use characteristics (i.e., wetlands, woodlands, developed areas, etc.) throughout the Township and develop changes to local ordinances in order to manage flooding and water quality problems in an ecologically appropriate and cost-effective way.
ODOT Stream Evaluations, Athens and Meigs Counties, Ohio (2002-2004)
Field team member for an evaluation of headwater streams in southern Ohio. The Ohio Dept. of Transportation (ODOT) required stream studies to evaluate a draft version of a Headwaters Habitat Evaluation Index which had been recently developed by the Ohio EPA. Responsible for measuring morphological creek characteristics for six headwaters and collecting stream data, including aquatic vertebrates (i.e., salamanders, fish, etc.), macroinvertebrates, stream gradient, embeddedness, pebble size, and flow rate. Additional studies were later conducted to evaluate the impacts on headwater streams due to highway construction.
Wetland Inventory – Summit County, OH (2002)
Served as biologist for a study to identify and evaluate wetlands within Summit County, Ohio. This analysis was undertaken identify high quality wetlands within the county, and to assess the level of preservation necessary to establish acquisition goals. Other aspects of the project included determination of land use patterns, aerial photo interpretation, categorization of wetland quality, and field verification of all high quality wetlands within the Summit County Metroparks.
Wetland Restoration and Construction - Cleveland Metroparks (1999 – 2001)
Conducted wetland restoration activities within natural areas owned by the Cleveland Metroparks. Activities included planting and seeding of wetland and upland areas, invasive species control, installation of wildlife habitat structures, streambank erosion control, reforestation, and maintenance of greenbelts.
Jeffrey W. Bridgland