Restoration Awards


Restoration Project Award: Eel River Headwaters Restoration

Award for Excellence in Restoration: Alex Hackman

Lifetime Achievement in Restoration: Tim Simmons and John Banks

Best Student Talk: Alexandra Evans

Best Student Poster, 1st Place: Jessica Nekowitsch

Best Student Poster, 2nd Place Tie: Aidan Barry/Sean Ooi, and Benjamin Hoekstra


Lifetime Achievement in Restoration: James G. MacBroom

Best Student Talk: Sara Wigginton

Best Student Poster, People’s Choice: Cuihong Song


Lifetime Achievement in Restoration: Ed Garbisch

2018 Restoration Project Award

Eel River Headwaters Restoration, in Plymouth, Massachusetts, has been a signature effort for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts environmental restoration efforts since its completion in 2010. This $2 million project included channel reconstruction, dam removals, culvert replacements, grading, and extensive plantings across a 60-acre site. Benefits of the project include: fish passage and habitat for diadromous and resident fish; improved water quality; establishment of rare Atlantic White Cedar swamp habitat; public education; and enhanced recreation along an existing trail system. The Town of Plymouth benefits from saving on costly infrastructure replacement, and the project aids in compliance with the requirements of the town’s groundwater discharge permit through nutrient reduction. Finally, the Eel River Sanctuary has functioned as a living observatory since 2010. It offers insights into ecological restoration, greatly benefiting other similar restoration efforts. It is truly the “project that keeps on giving.”

2018 Award for Excellence in Restoration

Alex Hackman is a restoration ecologist employed by the Massachusetts Department of Fish and Game, Division of Ecological Restoration (DER). His contributions to the field of ecological restoration are many and growing. A passionate and practicing advocate for process-based restoration, Alex displays a consistent and inspiring ecological vision and strong management skills. These characteristics have allowed him to marshal public and private support for numerous restoration projects, including removal of derelict dams and restoration of old cranberry bogs to functioning wetlands. Restoration of cranberry bogs is a relatively new opportunity, and Alex is one of the pioneers in the field. Based on his past success, he is launching a new Cranberry Bog Restoration Program out of DER. His passion for nature’s way and commitment to the ecological approach to restoration has and will continue to benefit the people in the northeastern U.S. for years to come.

2018 Lifetime Achievement in Restoration

Tim Simmons retired in 2016 as restoration ecologist with the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program, where he managed a multitude of projects related to special status species of plants and animals. He is known by his colleagues as a skillful land manager, conservation biologist, naturalist, entomologist, fire ecologist and fire practitioner. Tim is also widely known and credited as a pioneer in restoring fire to the pyrophilic natural communities of New England. He is particularly experienced with the pine barrens of southern New England and has been involved with efforts to restore fire to the Montague Plains Wildlife Management Area in Montague, MA. Previously, Tim was Director of Science and Stewardship for the Massachusetts Chapter of the Nature Conservancy (TNC) and their fire manager for the New England region. Tim’s willingness to share knowledge is fundamental to who he is as a person. Tim has given countless presentations throughout his career and has empowered planning boards, fire departments, students, and conservation-minded citizens with an increased understanding of the importance of ecological restoration within the communities and ecosystems he has worked.

John Banks is the first head of the Department of Natural Resources for the Penobscot Nation. Mr. Banks has led the scientific thinking and practice for a group of people deeply affected by modern ecological damages, particularly of aquatic systems, and especially of the Penobscot River. Mr. Banks’ career began well before river restoration was “a thing”; yet, the long view of the need for restoration enabled him to lay the foundation for the restoration of the Penobscot River, one of the largest restoration projects in New England. The people of the Penobscot Nation have always been intertwined with their environment and, particularly, the river. Their creation myths start there, and, to this day, they remain highly dependent on the life of the river, continuing to eat fish and turtles at a rate far greater than the typical person of Maine. To serve those needs, John Banks has built a Department of Natural Resources for the Penobscot Nation that brings modern scientific tools and understanding to their highly river-dependent culture. Not only has he provided an essential foundation for ecological restoration in New England, he has also truly pioneered the restoration of the human relationship with the land and rivers. Given the theme of this year’s conference, we are delighted to recognize Mr. Banks for his long career of contributions to ecological restoration.

2018 Student Awards

Best Student Talk: Alexandra Evans

Best Student Poster, 1st Place: Jessica Nekowitsch: Dissolved Oxygen in Beaver Ponds

Best Student Poster, 2nd Place Tie: Aidan Barry and Sean Ooi: Effects of Salt Marsh Tidal Restoration on Soil Microbial Process Rates, Benjamin Hoekstra: Development Trajectory of Retired Agricultural Wetlands Probed Through Soil Characterization in an 88-Year Chronosequence

2016 Lifetime Achievement in the Practice of Ecological Restoration

James G. MacBroom, P.E., Milone & MacBroom, has been a practicing water resources engineer since 1973 and is a founding partner of Milone & MacBroom, Inc. He received his B.S. and M.S. in civil engineering from the University of Connecticut, and his master’s thesis on Applied Fluvial Geomorphology was so relevant that it was subsequently published by the Connecticut Institute of Water Resources; it currently ranks as one of the top three documents they ever published. His contributions to the profession have continued with The River Book—awarded the “Tom Lee Award for Excellence”—numerous technical papers, and a chapter on salt marsh hydrology in the recent SER publication of Tidal Marsh Restoration. He has led dozens of restoration projects and has received at least four separate awards for his leadership in dam removal. In addition to his engineering practice, Mr. MacBroom teaches graduate classes at Yale University, short courses at the University of Wisconsin, and he regularly serves on state, regional, and national advisory boards.

2016 Student Awards

Best Student Talk: Sara Wigginton

Best Student Poster, People’s Choice: Cuihong Song

2014 Lifetime Achievement in the Practice of Ecological Restoration

Ed Garbisch (posthumous)