Landscape Restoration

Landscape Restoration

Landscape Restoration  is the application of ecological restoration principles to deliver specific client objectives.  ArcheWild is a full-service landscape restoration firm serving state and federal agencies, large private land owners, and high-value residences.

Our breadth of services spans planning and permitting, project management, construction, nursery supply, and ongoing support.  Many projects feature embedded research programs.

Ecological Restoration Principles

Landscape rstoration starts with a thorough evaluation of existing ecological conditions.  What is the condition of the underlying soils?  What are the permanent and temporary hydrologic features of the site?  Which invasive species are present?  Which plant communities are suitable?

The answers to these questions inform our restoration planning process with a sound ecological understanding of what’s possible. Land use planning and design meshes ecological realties with client objectives.

Forests, Farms, and Fields

ArcheWild has strong roots in terrestrial projects.

Forest experiences range from the Adirondacks and Catskills down through the Alleghenies to the Southern Appalachians.  Work includes reforestation, invasive management, strip mine restoration, and conservation planning.

Farm projects tend to focus on administering NRCS grant programs, financial sustainability planning, improving soil fertility, and building contour swales.

Field work includes restoring meadows, transitioning to native grass livestock forage, and establishing seed production plots.

Streams, Wetlands, and Habitat

Improving storm water management often involves restoring streams, wetlands, and detention basins.

Stream restoration involves constructing new channels and features, regrading existing channels, building erosion control measures, and planting native trees and shrubs to hold soils in place.

Wetland projects tend to be prescriptive in nature in that we construct what is deemed required by a government agency.  Constructing, planting, and monitoring wetland projects are an ArcheWild staple.

Habitat work focuses on designing and building environmental features to support a target animal species or group of animals, such as constructing vernal pools to support forest amphibians.  Plant-based habitat construction tends to focus on charismatic species, such as the Monarch butterfly, woodcock, or eastern cottontail.

Rain Garden Case Study

Let’s take the popular rain garden as an example.  We all know that planting a cattail in a desert is a silly proposition. But did you know that a cattail will similarly die in the typical rain garden or bioswale?

Cardinal flowers grow in moist areas; we know this too.  But did you know that even after having planted hundreds of them in a rain garden, by year 4 they all will have disappeared?

How about butterfly weed?  This beautiful orange milkweed is found on slopes and in dry gravelly areas; but it can live quite happily in some rain gardens. Do you know why?

Rain gardens are being prescribed liberally across the country in cookie-cutter fashion and too often falling prey to weeds, disinterest, and then neglect.  The root cause is a disregard of the interrelationship between soil, water, and plant. There is, however, an even deeper cause: lack of clarity on the restoration objectives.

What are restoration objectives?  Is an objective the need to satisfy a specification that may be outdated or misinformed?  Is it a desire to achieve a certain color palette?  Is it a specific water-handling need?  Is it an interest in promoting a certain animal species?  Or does the owner have another desire?

There can be many valid objectives for a restoration project, but objectives that clash with what you would normally find in a durable and balanced ecosystem will often end in disappointment.

We have learned much over the years by following specs, implementing others’ designs, speculating, and ultimately performing research.  We have learned what works and what doesn’t. Most importantly, we believe we understand the underlying factors that lead to success. Get in touch with us to learn more and let us give your next restoration project a greater chance of long-term performance.