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Monday, September 17, 2018  
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Contributed by Jen Lyndall, Certification Program Coordinator

Approximately 350 restorationists, including SER staff and the Large-Scale Ecosystem Restoration Section (LERS) leadership and members, descended upon New Orleans from August 26-30 for the National Conference on Ecosystem Restoration (NCER).  LERS president Matthew Grabau and past-president Ryan Clark were co-organizers of the conference – working hard to realize the conference theme “Building Connections from the Local to the Landscape Scale.”

Setting up the CERP table


Jen Lyndall, the SER Certification Program Coordinator, presented a poster on the CERP program and staffed the SER/CERP/LERS exhibitor table.  SER members Matt Grabau, Ryan Clark, and Amber Inggs (CERPIT) presented the LERS poster. 

On August 28, SER held a Special Plenary Session (and happy hour) that included a presentation from Jen Lyndall on the SER Standards, the Restoration Resource Center, and the Certified Ecological Restoration Practitioner program. That presentation was followed by the LERS Annual Meeting.

Many of the presentations in the concurrent sessions included discussions of adaptive management and the need for resiliency, especially in the context of climate change and sea level rise. In order to address these complex issues, speakers recommended including adaptive management in the design and permitting phases so that course-corrections are expected, setting varying temporal goals and objectives (short-term, mid-term, long-term), and including monitoring that can provide meaningful information about both local and regional trends. 

Matt Grabau presenting at the LERS annual meeting.


Case studies mostly focused on living shorelines and marsh creation/restoration projects - and many of them were right down the street!  Living shorelines were also presented as a long-term approach to shoreline stability in the face of rising sea levels. There was also a focus on connecting stakeholders, decision makers, and scientists so that those making the decisions truly understand the design alternatives and can select the options that will provide the most value for both ecological systems and human use.

Ecosystem services was another hot topic at the conference. There seemed to be a divide between the ecologists (habitat and receptor focused services) and those who preferred to evaluate ecosystem services in terms of human use and value of those ecological services to humans. 

There was also time for SER staff and CERP ambassadors to enjoy New Orleans! Following the Special Plenary Session, we enjoyed an evening of networking and fun at Muriel’s restaurant (though we didn’t see the resident ghost) and Café Du Monde. 

 CERPs gathered outside Muriel's, and enjoying some awesome live music.


There were also several amazing presentations by CERPs/CERPITs:

Brick Fevold: A
Data Management Plan Template for Ecological Restoration and Monitoring, Wednesday,11:20am, Salon D

Nick Nelson:  The Ecology of Dam Removal - A National Look at Ecosystem Restoration Challenges and Opportunities for Removal of River Barriers, Thursday 10:40, Salons F & G

Shaddi Kamel:  Higbee Beach Restoration Project - Restoration Built on the Shoulders of Collaboration, Thursday 2:40, Salons A&B

Lynde Dodd:  Flood Protection and Ecosystem Restoration in an Urban Environment: The Dallas Floodway Extension, Dallas, Texas, Thursday 3:40, Salons F&G

Mickey Marcus:  Riverbank Stabilization on the Connecticut River: Lessons Learned From 25 Years Of Restoration, Poster #34

The conference was an incredible opportunity to learn and share knowledge with other restorationists and practitioners. Jen Lyndall and our CERP ambassadors will be attending several other conferences this year. Be sure to come by and say hello!