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Ecological Services

RTPI provides technical expertise on a fee basis to carry out, or support, environmental impact studies, endangered species surveys, and other ecological services. For more information on RTPI’s ecological services, please contact Twan Leenders, Senior Director of Science & Conservation, at 716-665-2473 x225 or tleenders@rtpi.org

Hemlock Woolly Adelgid Surveys

Hemlock trees provide shelter for wildlife, control erosion, and keep streams cool; they are an important component of our area’s forests. An invasive aphid-like insect, called the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid (HWA) is encroaching on our region and has the potential to kill all our Hemlocks. Early detection of such harmful forest pests is the most effective and most cost-efficient to keep our forests healthy and safe. RTPI was contracted by the Nature Conservancy and the US Forest Service to coordinate HWA survey efforts in the High Allegheny Plateau and manage an early detection taskforce of volunteers throughout the western NY and western PA region. RTPI staff works closely with the Pennsylvania Department of Natural Resources, area land trusts, and conservation organizations to provide regular training and education programs, as well as to conduct HWA surveys during the winter months.

Click here to access our collection of Hemlock Woolly Adelgid Resources.


GIS Stormwater Management and Erosion Prevention Study
Climate change is expected to result in more frequent high-precipitation events, which will stress existing infrastructure and exacerbate erosion and water quality issues. RTPI is currently under contract with the Chautauqua County Soil & Water Conservation District (SWCD) on a project to enhance the effectiveness of ecological restoration and climate mitigation throughout the Chautauqua Lake watershed. Using Geographic Information Systems (GIS), high resolution aerial photography, LiDAR, and other remote sensing data, we are modeling and identifying the areas of eroding steep slopes that are biggest contributors of sediment and nutrient run-off into Chautauqua Lake. Using this information, Best Management Practices such as green infrastructure, riparian buffers, streambank stabilization, ecological restoration, etc. can be implemented where they have the greatest impact.

Chadakoin River Hydrology Studies

RTPI has completed several hydrological studies in the Chadakoin River corridor. A 2017 study focused on analyzing submerged logs and other woody debris in the river corridor, identifying potential hazards for boating, while maintaining features that provide critical habitat for fish and wildlife, including at-risk Spiny Softshell Turtles. During 2018-2019, RTPI staff carried out a bathymetry study of the river and its basin to map the river bottom and identify opportunities and challenges for increased recreational uses of the river into downtown Jamestown. We are currently carrying out a follow-up study for the Chautauqua Lake Watershed Management Alliance to explore the feasibility of locally adjusting the flow pattern of the river to mitigate severe bank erosion and sediment deposition. These efforts all support ongoing community economic development efforts and increased enjoyment of the river, while incorporating sound long-term natural resource and habitat protection.

Waterfowl Surveys on Long Island Sound (Connecticut)

RTPI staff carries out year-round waterfowl surveys as part of an ongoing coastal habitat restoration effort on a historic trap and skeet shooting range located on the Long Island Sound. Working under a contract with Audubon Connecticut, our staff surveys habitat use by waterfowl and assesses potential exposure of dabbling ducks and shorebirds to residual lead shot in the intertidal zone.