MAD Scientist Associates, LLC

January 11, 2022

Welcome Julius Duncan, E.I.T., Water Resources Engineer, and Courtney Brownlee, Office Manager!

We want to introduce you to AND give a warm (and overdue) welcome to our new staff members Julius Duncan, Water Resource Engineer, and Courtney Brownlee, Office Manager! We look forward to the great things we can accomplish with these terrific additions to our team. Check out our Team page to read about their journeys to MAD.
January 11, 2022

Sandhill Crane Wetlands Project- Our Largest Construction Project to Date

Our largest wetland restoration to date is the Sandhill Crane Wetlands in the Oak Openings Region near Toledo, Ohio. Construction on this project was substantially complete by the end of 2021. We worked with The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and B Hill’z Excavating to achieve this restoration on 280 acres of former farmland. For decades, this massive field has been used for conventional row crop agriculture. To be successful, these farming operations along the northern edge of the former Great Black Swamp required intensive water management. The land is flanked by deep ditches on three sides that help to lower the water table and improve drainage, and in the winter and spring, the former farmer would run multiple pumps to pull water from the field’s drainage […]
January 11, 2022

Fall Volunteer Events & Invasive Species Removal

Fall is a great time to tackle woody invasive plants, as they are preparing for dormancy and most susceptible to systemic herbicide applications. We regularly participate in, and lead habitat improvement projects in the Central Ohio area, and this year we were pleased to make some substantial headway! In September we had a crew at Hoff Woods (Westerville) working with volunteers to remove honeysuckle and a crew in Genoa Township working a community fishing event. We had several volunteers and cleared about 2-3 acres of the invasive bush honeysuckle (Lonicera maackii). Thanks to all who came out out to participate! In October, Jenny, Alexys, Cody, and Mark worked alongside Friends of Alum Creek and Tributaries, and many community volunteers at Boyer Nature Preserve. They removed […]
January 7, 2022

Mussels & Mudpuppies

2021 brought several aquatic survey opportunities to MAD. Jenna Roller-Knapp, our Water Quality and Aquatic Ecology Specialist, led mussel surveys across Ohio and in Iowa. She is state certified to perform freshwater mussel surveys in Group 1 and 3 streams. Nick Smeenk, Wildlife Biologist and Approved Herpetologist for the Eastern Hellbender, Blanding’s Turtle, and Eastern Massasauga in addition to holding a federal recovery permit for the Eastern Massasauga. If those credentials didn’t impress you, they are both SCUBA certified as well, which comes in handy given most of the animals they study live underwater! This dynamic duo led surveys for mussels (family Unionidae) and mudpuppies (Necturus maculosus) in the Des Moines River, and mussels in Mercer, Cuyahoga, Summit, and Delaware Counties. No listed species were […]
January 7, 2022

Ecological Surveys- We Can’t Get Enough of Em!

Some of our favorite work to do at MAD are ecological surveys. They often involve all staff members, who each specialize in collecting a certain type of data: aquatic biota, terrestrial insects, herptiles, wetland delineation, stream characterization, plant inventory, bird identification, cover mapping, etc. Basically, we get to be happy ecologists in the field, making lists, taking photographs, and mapping habitats. More than that though, we get to use this information to help clients determine what they have and what they can do with their properties. Oftentimes clients need this information for a baseline survey if the property is being put under easement or covenant. Other times, land managers wan to know where opportunities lie for restoration or where to avoid disturbance if rare species […]
January 7, 2022

Botanical Adventures- Floristic Quality Assessment in Hamilton County, Ohio

This year brought another opportunity to study plant communities in Hamilton County (Cincinnati area), Ohio. Jenny Adkins led the effort, visiting over 75 plots twice throughout the growing season in order to catch fleeting species that are season-specific, such as spring beauty (Claytonia virginica). While identifying plants seems like a carefree, Victorian-era study, depending on the terrain and habitat, it can be anything but. This year’s survey area had our team on an adventure that sounded like a Mark Twain story- constructing bridges out of beaver-chewed logs, climbing trees to see the extent of plots, scaling riverbanks, crossing acres and acres of eight-foot-tall corn, sweating through clothes (many times over), and covering every square inch of skin to ward off the insatiable mosquitos. It rained, […]
January 7, 2022

Invasive Species Management- Rocky Fork Metro Park

Between April 14 and November 4, 2021, our skilled team of technicians removed woody invasive species on a roughly 45-acre area within Rocky Fork Metro Park. Targeted species included Callery Pear (Pyrus calleryana), Autumn Olive (Elaeagnus umbellata), Bush Honeysuckle (Lonicera maackii), Multiflora Rose (Rosa multiflora), Privet (Ligustrum spp.), and Tree-of-Heaven (Ailanthus altissima). Initial site management was completed in the spring using a cut-stump method to fell the largest trees and shrubs in the project area. Chainsaws were utilized for larger specimens, and a brush-cutter was employed to efficiently raze small and medium sized vegetation in dense clumps. Cut stems were treated using a mix of the aquatic-approved triclopyr product, Garlon 3A, as well as an aquatic-safe, non-ionic surfactant and blue tracker dye. This herbicide mix […]
January 7, 2022

Green “Girls” in STEM

A few of the awesome women in science at MAD discussing wetland science and the environmental career field with Cincinnati-area students as part of the Green Girls in STEM program. “…an immersive hands-on program for young women in high school to explore STEM careers, sustainability, and leadership development. Green Girls in STEM provides experiences that leave students feeling more connected to nature, their communities, and the wider world.” What a great program! We’re so grateful to share our experiences with young women and aspiring scientists. We would have loved to see the girls in person, but we were happy to have the option to present virtually and get to show them around one of our favorite wetland projects at Highlands Park. Thanks to the Civic […]
January 7, 2022

Ohio Biological Survey’s “Reptiles of Ohio” Includes MAD Teammate Contribution

For numerous reasons, we are thrilled to announce the release of the new, two-volume Reptiles of Ohio published by the Ohio Biological Survey (OBS)! Our very own Nick Smeenk was one of many accomplished and knowledgeable herpetologists who contributed to this effort – serving not only as an author but also helping the OBS staff shlep hundreds of copies of this robust tome into their storage area! Mark is the current board chair for OBS, and he and his colleagues are hoping for brisk sales of these exceptionally thorough and well-written, and illustrated texts. They are loaded with information and the current science on our state’s turtles, snakes, and lizards – a “must-have” reference for amateur and professional biologists, ecologists, and nature enthusiasts. You can […]