Green space in southeast Michigan has been rapidly declining through development practices resulting in substantial wetland loss, the loss of wildlife habitat, sedimentation of our watercourses, alteration of hydrology, and the introduction of non-native vegetation. Restoring degraded habitat and preserving open space is a crucial element of any city’s green infrastructure.

The City of Rochester Hills is sensitive to ecological issues and values the preservation of its natural resources; having the ability to restore or enhance valuable open space and to control invasive plants that are threatening the biotic integrity of its community. Niswander Environmental was contracted in 2005 to develop the City of Rochester Hills Natural Features Inventory, which has guided the City in its use of the Open Space Millage to acquire and preserve property. This was a monumental step for the City to preserve open space and maintain the high quality of living in Rochester Hills. The subsequent management of the open space will ensure that the City’s investment will be protected and enhanced for future generations. In September of 2014, Niswander Environmental was selected by the City of Rochester Hills as their Environmental Consultant to oversee the Natural Features Stewardship Program.

This multi-year long-term contract involved comprehensive on-site investigations to identify wetland, woodlands, and other regulated areas relative to type, character, quality, functional values, and boundaries. Niswander Environmental performed assessments, submitted recommendations, and completed restoration projects for the City. In addition, most projects involved the management of non-native vegetation such as Phragmites, reed canary grass, narrow-leaf cattail, buckthorn, honeysuckle, multiflora rose, autumn olive, privet, Oriental bittersweet, teasel, and thistle (among others). Niswander Environmental provided strategic, short- and long-term management plans to control the target species. By approaching projects with comprehensive long-term objectives, our project team ensured that the City’s natural resources provide the greatest benefit to the community.

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