Aquatic Ecology

Our aquatic ecology group consists of experts in a range of marine, estuarine, and freshwater habitats and communities in California, the West Coast, Hawai‘i, and the South Pacific. The team is led by Dr. Sharon Kramer who has more than three decades of experience researching, monitoring, managing, and working to conserve fish and aquatic invertebrates. Our ecologists bring diverse perspectives to their work, drawing knowledge from prior roles in federal and state agencies, academia, and the private sector.

Our team of aquatic ecologists applies expertise in the following subjects to client projects:

  • Fish and invertebrate habitat requirements and linkages with the physical environment
  • Fish and invertebrate biology and behavior
  • Aquatic habitat restoration and mitigation
  • Regulatory requirements for projects in or near aquatic habitats

Fish and Invertebrate Habitat Requirements and Linkages with the Physical Environment

Our aquatic ecologists have deep knowledge, not only of the habitat requirements of fish and invertebrates, but also of how physical factors can change these habitats, and the resulting impacts on fish and aquatic communities. By applying our knowledge of the interplay between projects, habitats, and aquatic species, we provide critical insight that helps guide project restoration, mitigation and enhancement, siting, design, and permitting.

Fish and Invertebrate Biology and Behavior

As a result of decades of observations and field sampling, laboratory work, and academic training, we understand the complexities of fish and invertebrate life history strategies, and how behaviors and habitat selection change throughout the life cycle. We apply this knowledge to predict the responses of individuals and populations to environmental change, helping to guide project mitigation and design. Examples of this work include evaluating the environmental effects of marine renewable energy projects, designing estuarine restoration projects to enhance salmonid and tidewater goby habitat, and evaluating levee repair projects on the Sacramento River and in the Delta.

Aquatic Habitat Restoration and Mitigation

Our aquatic ecologists, working with our restoration ecologists, are an integral part of creating innovative and successful restoration and mitigation plans. We take a multidisciplinary approach to building project teams with complementary expertise and collaborative working relationships, which results in designs that have long-term success. By providing creative solutions for mitigating impacts on aquatic species such as eelgrass, salmonids, and the tidewater goby, we help clients achieve environmental compliance in a cost-effective manner.

Regulatory Requirements for Projects in or near Aquatic Habitats

As a result of our team members’ work as state and federal biologists, as well as on the project development side, we understand a variety of perspectives, which helps us navigate even complex permitting issues successfully. We’ve completed freshwater, estuarine, and marine permitting projects, from the straightforward to those that require unique permitting solutions to promote aquatic species survival and recovery. We have worked extensively with Federal Energy Regulatory Commission processes, including work on marine and hydrokinetic projects; we have also prepared dozens of habitat conservation plans under Section 10 of the Endangered Species Act for listed aquatic species, such as salmonids, allowing projects to have long-term certainty while promoting species recovery.

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