An Ecological Services Consulting Firm


Germantown Bog Impact Assessment
1990 to Present. Germantown, Maryland.
The Germantown Bog, a 6-acre temperate fen harboring a rare glacial relic plant community, is located in northern Montgomery County, Maryland. A regional developer (Hazel-Petersen Group, Milestone Development) proposed to construct and operate a major regional shopping center in the surface drainage headwaters of this state-protected special wetland in 1990. Good Ground LLC principal, Robert Wiley, developed and implemented monitoring protocols for the water chemistry and flow and for the special plant community. Monitoring began in 1991 and continued annually, culminating in a report, conducted each year for 13 consecutive years. A detailed analytical report was submitted to Maryland National Capital Parks and Planning Commission (MNCPPC) each year until 2004.

BotanicalMapThe entire habitat was annually cover-mapped by canopy class. Vegetation sampling and analysis entailed the establishment of 13 60’x60’ master plots, 54 15’x15’ nested shrub plots and 54 1-meter herbaceous plots. Data collected included height, age and diameter of woody species, percentage areal cover of all herbaceous species. Rare plant communities were annually mapped by GPS. A five-part ordinal biotic index measure, using ratings for “wetland index”, “nativity”, “shade tolerance”. “trophic status” and “fidelity” was developed to measure change in each sample plot. Community level measures included diversity (both Margelef richness and Simpson’s homogeneity), woody accretion rate, age of woody vegetation, species dominance and relative importance by species (more than 400). Vegetation statistics were regressed with water flow, water table depth and water chemistry data. These assessments allowed for a finding that the adjacent shopping complex was not causing any direct adverse effect to the rare community. Natural succession, weed infestation and decreasing nutrient level following removal of cattle were the most effective agents in causing habitat structural change by 2004. The wetland will be sampled again during the spring of 2014 to assess the long term trends. Reports are on file with MNCPPC in Hyattsville, MD.

Habitat Mapping of the DOE PORTS Reservation at Piketon Ohio
The PORTS installation is a 3600 acre facility formerly operated by the US Department of Energy (DOE) to refine plutonium. The status of the non-industrial portions of the reservation in question following decommissioning, a detailed habitat mapping effort, led by Good Ground LLC principal Robert Wiley, to delineate, characterize and develop comparative values for the plant communities was conducted during 2010 through 2012. GIS mapping and field sampling delineated vegetation habitats for the area outside of the industrial facilities of the reservation and within a one-mile buffer distance, comprising 5600 acres. There were 168 permanent circular, nested sampling plots established. A GIS delineation project, liked to an MS Access database, was prepared to store and analyze field data. Minimum mapping polygon was 1/10th acre.

A 90% botanical inventory was conducted, identifying more than 500 species within the study area. Using field data, an importance value (IV) was developed for each species within each habitat type, separately for habitats in and outside of the DOE lands but within the study area. Each species was assigned a series of ordinal biotic indices, including wetland index, nativity and the coefficient of conservatism values published for the Floristic Quality Assessment Index (FQAI) for Vascular Plants and Mosses for the State of Ohio (Andreas et al, 2004). These biotic indices were used as multipliers for species IV on a plot by plot and habitat by habitat basis to develop a habitat level index of biotic integrity. This valuation then allowed comparison of vegetation communities on and off the DOE site with adjacent plant communities, to inform decisions on the fate of DOE decommissioned lands. A final document was prepared and published on a DOE website. The document and GIS mapping is cited as:

Wiley, R.L. G.D. Conley, N. Kruse, and J. Bowman. 2012. Habitat Mapping of the Land And Vicinity of the United States Department Of Energy (Doe) Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant (Ports) Pike County, Ohio. Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs, Ohio University. The U.S. Department of Energy Office of Environmental Management Portsmouth/Paducah Project Office. 189 pages.

USACE Rathbun River/Sedan Bottoms Ecosystem Restoration Project. Centerville Iowa. 

Doe Run Mining Big River Mine Tailings Revegetation Assessment
Park Hills, Missouri.
Doe Run Mining Company, a world-wide producer of refined metals (particularly lead) owns and has been in the process of reclaiming thousands of acres of century-old abandoned mines, tailings piles and decommissioned industrial facilities scattered throughout St. Francois and Washington Counties, Missouri. The 542-acre Big River Mine west of Farmington, MO, is comprised of “chat” piles, a lead-contaminated, limey residual material from the lead refinement process. Efforts to reestablish vegetation on the marginally toxic, low nutrient chat piles had been ongoing for more than two decades. In 1992 under pressure from US EPA to demonstrate the magnitude of reclamation success, Doe Run Mining Company commissioned Good Ground LLC president Robert Wiley to develop and implement a vegetation sampling protocol that he would conduct over the ensuing decade.

Following detailed cover mapping of vegetation communities, more 100 nested circular sampling plots were established within the project area and in adjacent undisturbed habitats (a native forest biome). Plots were sampled annually and compared to each other and to undisturbed sites. Comparisons were based on a vegetation index of biotic integrity (VIBI) developed for the project that used a combination of wetland index, nativity, diversity and perennial habit (growth form class). A vegetation index value was assigned to more than 300 species observed. An importance value (IV) was developed for all species from annual sampling data and used as a multiplier for the biotic index in a weighted frequency analysis. This allowed plot to plot and year to year comparison of the VIBI. Trends and rates of change were graphed and used to prepare a management and maintenance plan to improve reclamation success at the end of the 10-year sampling period. Summary reports prepared annually were submitted to Doe Run Mining Company and the St. Louis US EPA office.

Other Projects:

  • Appalachian Ohio Alliance Stewardship Natural Resources Data Plan. Southeastern Ohio.
  • US Army Chemical Materials Activity, Umatilla Chemical Depot Remedial Investigation Impact Assessment for Munitions Incineration. Umatilla, Oregon.
  • USACE L-28 Levee Degradation Ecosystem Impact Assessment. Big Cypress and Everglades National Parks, Florida.
  • USACE Monongahela River Lock Removal and Modification Impact Assessment; Dam Number 3. Near Pittsburgh, PA.
  • General Electric Main Industrial Campus Restoration. Schenectady, NY.
  • Edison Woods Vegetation Mapping and Habitat Quality Assessment.
  • Lakehurst Naval Warfare Center RIFS and Pinelands Habitat Mapping. Lakehurst, New Jersey.
  • Picatinny Arsenal Remedial Investigation. Rockaway Township New Jersey.
  • Raccoon and Lois Key Primate Impact Assessment. Florida Keys.
  • Missouri River Floodplain Vegetation Mapping; Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota Free-flowing Segments.
  • West Valley Reprocessing Plant Campus Habitat Mapping, Springville New York.
  • Nagshead Woods Special Ecological Habitat Assessment. Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina.
  • Centurion Energy Powerline Siting Habitat Assessment. Geauga County Ohio.
  • Price Rive Coal Company Vegetation Habitat Mapping Project. Castel Gate Utah.
  • Savannah River Site Vegetation Monitoring Plot Establishment. Aiken, South Carolina.
  • Monkey Hollow Habitat Mapping, Biological Inventory and Endangered Species Assessment. Carbon Hill, Ohio.
  • USACE Mill Creek Restoration Project. Auburn, Washington.
  • Bloomingdales-by-Mail Facilities Expansion. Watertown Connecticut.