Arlington, Va. — After a highly competitive Qualifications-Based Selection process, The Nature Conservancy awarded work to AECOM, CH2M HILL, Ecology and Environment, Inc., Environmental Science Associates (ESA), and HDR. The awards encompass two separate but related areas of work.

The first awards, the Gulf Master Contracts for Services (awarded individually to AECOM, CH2M HILL, Ecology and Environment, Inc., and HDR), will enable the Conservancy to engage with these firms for planning, engineering, and design work on specific projects related to marine conservation and restoration in the Gulf of Mexico. 

“The Conservancy has been active in the Gulf for more than 40 years,” notes Jeff DeQuattro, Director of Restoration for the Conservancy’s Gulf of Mexico Program and project manager of the Qualifications-Based Selection process. “As restoration efforts have increased in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010, we are pleased to have expert engineering firms to help advance our conservation and restoration goals in the Gulf. The massive scale of restoration needs in the Gulf require skilled knowledge and shared learning from ecological and engineering professionals alike.”

The second awards are more collaborative in nature and are intended to result in formal agreements (awarded individually to AECOM, CH2M HILL, and ESA) that will apply to mutual goals that help bring green infrastructure into the main stream and allow Conservancy scientists and engineering professionals to share learning across their respective disciplines. These collaborative agreements are intended to enable the Conservancy and the selected firms to employ planning and leading technological advancements in ways that account for and improve the ecological values of the lands and waters that are essential to all aspects of coastal communities’ quality of life — socially, economically and ecologically.

“These agreements are particularly exciting,” said Kacky Andrews, Director of Conservation for The Nature Conservancy in North America, “because they create an opportunity for conservation and engineering professionals to learn from each other about the values, effectiveness and best uses of both green and grey infrastructure. Having a broader suite of infrastructure choices is going to become increasingly important as communities seek to meet all the challenges they face — challenges to water quality and the economic productivity and health of lands and waters while simultaneously reducing their risk from storms and rising sea levels.

“The Conservancy is looking forward to working with and learning from some of the world’s leading engineering firms,” said Andrews, “on projects that will benefit the communities where we all work by combining the principles of restoration and conservation with the principles of engineering to provide multiple benefits, from clean water, healthy shorelines and productive estuaries to reduced risk from storms and rising sea levels.”