Rain Gardens and Wildlife Ponds

One of the major habitat elements, after food and shelter, comes water. There are two main routes that can provide water, a pond provides constant water while a rain garden provides constantly changing levels of water. There are many great resources for design and installation of both options.


If the goal is to provide habitat for frogs or dragonflies, a pond is most likely necessary because they require a constant water supply for the various life cycle needs. Dragonflies lay eggs in water where they hatch and live out the majority of their lives as nymphs before becoming dragonflies for a few weeks. Frogs also require water for tadpoles to live in before becoming adults. One of the best references for creating a garden pond is a document called Create a Garden Pond for Wildlife from Oregon State University…

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Why? Ecosystem Services:: The Pollinators

The first question many people will ask when you tell them you want to create habitat is why, which often comes before the how. It’s important to formulate an educated response to the why whether it’s a homeowner or city planner asking. There are many answers to that question and I plan to address many of them in a series of posts starting with this one. Among the answers are ecological benefits, education, human benefit and many that fall in all categories.

Lets start by looking at ecosystem services which can be defined as environmental services provided by an ecosystem that renders benefits to the human population. Among some of the ecosystem services provided include air and water purification, timber supply, flood control, pest regulation, soil enrichment, pollution mitigation, pollination, seed dispersal and slowing the hydrological cycle.


Pollination is a major ecosystem service performed by a multitude of species including a…

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Book Review:: How Birds Migrate

I finished reading How Birds Migrate by Paul Kerlinger just ahead of International Migratory Bird Day which is coming up on May 8th. Migration is an important topic for the urban environment as many cities have an enormous impact on bird migration and many cities, including Portland and Seattle, lay in a major flyway, which is the Pacific Flyway on the west coast.

Apparently a new edition of the book came out recently which is worth a look at because the edition I read was very dated in some places. The book has a lot of great information about bird migration as well as a lot of case studies, most of which are from the east coast and very few from the west coast unfortunately. However, the basics of migration are well explained.

Many birds…

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Safari 7

If you happen to be in New York or visiting soon, be sure to check out Safari 7 which will be running from April 19-24. This is an amazing project that is centered on the number 7 line and has a self-guided wildlife tour through New York City. From their website:

Safari 7 is a self-guided tour of urban animal life along New York City’s No. 7 subway line. Traveling from Manhattan’s dense core, under the East River and into Queens, the nation’s most ethnically diverse county, we hope you can use Safari 7’s resources to better understand the complexity, biodiversity, conflicts, and potentials of our urban ecosystems.

On their website you can find a printable guide and a series of podcasts you can download. The guide is very creative with some interesting images and the podcasts are equally interesting and pose some thought…

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Bird Safe Building Updates

There are some new items to add to a previous post about bird safe building guidelines.

First, from the American Bird Conservancy comes news about proposed legislation that would put regulations on federal building construction.

The bill, HR 4797 calls for each public building constructed, acquired, or altered by the General Services Administration (GSA) to incorporate, to the maximum extent possible, bird-safe building materials and design features. The legislation would require GSA to take similar actions on existing buildings, where practicable. The terms “bird-safe building materials and design features” are defined through reference to several publications addressing those topics.

Read more about the bill and the response from ABC on their website. Proposed Legislation Would Prevent Millions of Bird Deaths

In addition the ABC has also published a flyer about bird and building collisions that discusses the problems as well as…

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Dusty Gedge & Biodiversity Ecoroofs

This week was a very exciting week in Portland, Oregon because the city brought in ecoroof expert, Dusty Gedge. Along with Stephan Brenneisen they are two of the leading experts in creating ecoroofs that are aimed at biodiversity instead of only stormwater management. Both have written many good articles and designed many roofs in the U.K. and Switzerland.

The city of Portland just finished off Ecoroof Portland month, which included an event two weeks ago with vendors and many speakers. This week included two talks with Dusty and an ecoroof design charrette that I was lucky enough to be invited to and participate in, also with Dusty. The city of Portland is really moving forward the biodiversity effort and now including incentives for building owners to install ecoroofs on their buildings.

Dusty Gedge is the co-founder of Livingroofs.org and has been instrumental in creating habitat…

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