Employee Spotlight: 4 Team Members Earn New Professional Certifications

Here at Princeton Hydro, we are dedicated to protecting our natural resources and changing our ecosystems, quality of life and communities for the better. As part of that, our team members are committed to continuing to learn new technologies, staying ahead of regulatory changes, and expanding their knowledge.

Today, we are proud to put the spotlight on four team members who recently achieved new professional certifications.

Senior Ecologist Michael Rehman PWS and Fluvial Geomorphologist Paul Woodworth are now Certified Ecological Restoration Practitioners (CERP) through the Society for Ecological Restoration (SER).

SER’s CERP program encourages a high professional standard for those who are designing, implementing, overseeing, and monitoring restoration projects. Only senior level practitioners who have achieved the knowledge requirements and have greater than five years of full-time experience with restoration can be certified. Michael is one of 15 people to hold a CERP certification in New Jersey, and  Paul is one of two people to be CERP certified in Connecticut.

Since he began working with Princeton Hydro in 2008, Paul has supported over 50 river restoration projects involving the removal of over 35 dams and barriers along the east coast. As a fluvial geomorphologist, he assesses streams to determine channel evolution processes and predict geomorphic responses to restoration actions.

This certification is a culmination of 25 years of hard work from undergrad, early professional jobs, grad school, and over 10 years of restoration work at Princeton Hydro. I had little idea that the course work I chose in undergrad was steering me toward a career in restoration that I didn’t even know existed at the time. SER has emerged as a top-notch organization with a global perspective on the proactive restoration of ecosystems and the sustenance of human communities. I’m excited about applying SER measures to our projects.

Michael has worked with Princeton Hydro since 2006. He is an expert in wetland permitting and delineations for USACE, NJDEP, and PADEP projects; wetland mitigation projects; habitat assessments; threatened and endangered species investigations; analysis of terrestrial/wetland ecosystems; municipal EIS/reviews and water quality/land use issues.

“Earning the CERP is a big achievement, and I’m proud to join the international network of credentialed professionals. I’m passionate about the restoration and enhancement of natural resources, and I have seen the transformation of brownfields to greenfields firsthand. Through the design and implementation of creative, nature-based solutions, my work will help advance the mission of SER and the field of ecological restoration.”

CERP is designed to ensure that certified practitioners are up to date on the new and important developments in the field of ecological restoration – both from the scientific and the practical perspectives. The certification is valid for 5 years after approval, and recertification requires that CERPs earn a minimum of 50 continuing education credits within the five-year period since they were last certified.


Both Emily Bjorhus and Robert George earned the Professional Wetland Scientist (PWS) certification through the Society of Wetland Scientists program.

The certification program was developed to meet the needs of professional ecologists, hydrologists, soil scientists, educators, agency professionals, consultants, and others who practice wetland science. This program is aimed at serving the public’s need to identify qualified individuals to assess and manage wetland resources around the world.

The PWS certification is awarded to those meeting specific educational and experience requirements: Minimum degree requirements are BA/BS, with course distribution of 15 semester hours each in biological and physical sciences and 6 hours in quantitative areas plus an additional 15 semester hours in wetland-related courses. In addition to comprehensive training in wetland science, a PWS is expected to have professional experience of at least five years as a wetland scientist, demonstrating the application of current technical knowledge dealing with wetland resources and activities.

As an Environmental Scientist, Emily Bjorhus works on a wide range of projects from flood risk management to wetland mitigation to stream restoration. She specializes in wetland and stream ecology and environmental permitting and compliance. Emily joined the Princeton Hydro team in 2016.

“I’m very proud of my Professional Wetland Scientist certification. I’ve been working in wetlands for the past six years and have a deep love of botany that makes my job a joy. I know this certificate will allow me to better serve the public’s need to have qualified individuals assess and manage wetland resources.”

Robert is a Project Manager in the Natural Resources Practice Area who provides technical expertise in environmental toxicology, wetland ecology, wildlife surveys, permitting and compliance for a variety of federal, state, and municipal ecological restoration projects. Robert has over twelve years of experience as a natural scientist.

“Certification as a Professional Wetland Scientist was important for me because this credential demonstrates to clients and local, state, and federal regulatory agencies that I am an experienced practitioner of wetland science with an educational and professional background that satisfied the rigorous standards of the Society of Wetland Scientists.”

Congratulations to Emily, Michael, Paul and Robert! 

For more information about SER and the CERP program, visit ser.org. To learn more about the Society of Wetland Scientists’ PWS program, visit sws.org. If you’re interested in learning more about the wide variety of engineering and environmental services Princeton Hydro offers, go here: princetonhydro.com/services.

Volunteer Spotlight: Monitoring Baby Bird Boxes & Counting Shorebirds

We’re excited to put the spotlight on Princeton Hydro Environmental Scientist Emily Bjorhus and her admirable volunteer work.

As an Environmental Scientist, Emily Bjorhus works on a wide range of projects from flood risk management to wetland mitigation to stream restoration. She specializes in wetland and stream ecology and environmental permitting and compliance. Outside of the office, Emily is an active volunteer with Natural Lands and the Delaware Shorebird Project, working to protect natural resources, promote biodiversity, and protect important species. Emily also volunteers at Franklin Delano Roosevelt High School in Brooklyn, NY teaching Environmental Science students about wetlands. We’ve put together a snapshot of Emily’s volunteer activities:

Natural Lands – Force of Nature Volunteer

Natural Lands is a nonprofit organization that saves open space, cares for nature, and connects people to the outdoors in eastern Pennsylvania and southern New Jersey. Founded in the early 1950s, today nearly five million people live within five miles of lands under Natural Lands’ permanent protection.

As a Force of Nature volunteer with Natural Lands, Emily has been monitoring ~20 nest boxes located in meadow and forest edge habitat at Gwynedd Preserve since 2018. From April through mid-August, Emily and another volunteer visit the sites every 5-7 days to monitor the nest boxes for the types of species using the boxes, nest condition, nest materials, number of eggs laid, number of eggs that hatch, and number of chicks that fledge. Chickadees, wrens, blue birds, and tree swallows are the primary species that nest in the boxes Emily monitors.

When asked what she loves most about this volunteer work, Emily said, “I love watching how the birds build their nest week after week, seeing the eggs multiply and tracking the chicks’ growth. I even enjoy dodging dive-bombing tree swallows.”

Delaware Shorebird Project – Data Collection Volunteer

Delaware Shorebird Project is led by DNREC’s Division of Fish & Wildlife in partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Delaware Museum of Natural History, British Trust for Ornithology and Wash Wader Ringing Group, with the help of experienced and dedicated volunteers like Emily.

The project monitors the health and status of migratory shorebird populations to collect data that can be applied to the conservation of these birds. The research has resulted in better understanding of the ecology of shorebirds migrating through Delaware Bay, management of the horseshoe crab harvest to sustain the shorebirds’ population, and protection of key shorebird habitat.

Emily participated in a 3-day shorebird monitoring initiative, which included counting the number of shorebirds on the beach, re-sighting birds previously marked with leg flags, participating in bird catches, and weighing and measuring birds from the catches. The data collected helps monitor trends in shorebird abundance, migratory routes, condition and other important biological data.

“It’s such a pleasure working with the amazing people that come from all over the world to run and participate in this ambitious study,” said Emily. “The data collected from this program will hopefully aid researchers and policy makers to develop strategies to better protect shorebird habitat in the future.”

Franklin Delano Roosevelt High School Environmental Studies – Guest Speaker

Ms. Hannah Goldstein and her Environmental Science students at Franklin Delano Roosevelt High School in Brooklyn, NY welcome Emily as a volunteer guest speaker to teach all about wetlands. The instruction also includes a hands-on session where students collect soil samples to determine if hydric soils are present and identify surrounding trees using a dichotomous key.

“Science is such an important subject matter for kids to be learning for a variety of reasons. Environmental science education in particular encourages thought patterns, which get kids engaged in real-world environmental protection activities,” said Emily. “I really enjoy working with Ms. Goldstein and her students. I hope my presentation inspires the students to learn more about wetlands and become ambassadors of wetland conservation.”

 

Emily earned her M.S. in Sustainable Engineering at Villanova University and holds a B.S. in Environmental Science from University of Colorado at Boulder. As an Environmental Scientist for Princeton Hydro, she coordinates, leads and assists with state environmental permitting programs and NEPA compliance and documentation, including preparation of Federal and state permit applications, Endangered Species Act 7 consultations, and Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) environmental review processes. In addition, she conducts a variety of environmental field investigations such as wetland and waterbody delineations.

We’re so proud to have Emily on our team and truly value the work she does inside and outside the office.

Teaching NYC High Schoolers About Wetlands

Ms. Hannah Goldstein and her Environmental Science students at Franklin Delano Roosevelt High School in Brooklyn, NY welcomed Emily Bjorhus, Princeton Hydro Environmental Scientist, to be a guest speaker on the topic of wetlands. The students, 10th, 11th, and 12th graders, learned what defines a wetland, how wetlands function, and why wetland ecosystems are important to our communities. Emily also taught the students how to identify wetlands in the field.

The presentation also involved hands-on instruction, which included a trip outside to the school courtyard where students learned how to collect soil samples using an auger and how to determine if hydric soils are present. To identify surrounding trees, students used a dichotomous key, a tool that allows users to make a series of choices based on characteristics such as leaf and fruit shape. Using the skills and information they learned, Emily helped each classroom determine whether a wetland was present. As it turns out, the courtyard in the middle of Franklin Delano Roosevelt High School does not contain a wetland!

“Science is such an important subject matter for kids to be learning for a variety of reasons. Environmental science education in particular encourages thought patterns, which get kids engaged in real-world environmental protection activities,”  said Emily. “I really enjoyed working with Ms. Goldstein and her students. I hope my presentation inspires the students to learn more about wetlands and become ambassadors of wetland conservation.”

To learn more about Princeton Hydro’s tidal and freshwater wetland services, visit: bit.ly/PHwetland