"There is a growing need to reverse the trends of air and water quality degradation, as well as species loss, throughout the D.C. area."
Urban Ecosystem Restorations, Inc.
Urban Ecosystem Restorations is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit urban land trust (or conservancy) created to work with landowners and communities across the Washington, D.C. area to preserve or develop value-enhancing green spaces that serve integrated ecosystem functions — spaces we call Eco-Functioning Spaces® — and then to protect these spaces, and functions, over time.
UER believes in the fundamental importance of developing Eco-Functioning Spaces (EFS) within real-estate developments and allowing them to flourish over time.
There is a growing need to reverse the trends of air and water quality degradation, as well as species loss, throughout the D.C. area. The region’s ecosystems continue to deteriorate as natural areas continue to be converted to buildings and hardscapes.
The magnitude of the problem requires a coordinated, private sector response beyond what the public sector alone can accomplish. UER believes that land conversion processes must become bi-directional, and under-utilized hardscapes and open spaces must be returned to natural function in order to restore the many and varied ecosystem services that nature once provided at no cost to our region.
UER offers a variety of services to landowners, tenants, tenant associations, homeowners associations, and communities. Take a look at what we do.
"Helping landowners, tenants, and communities transform underperforming landscapes and degraded urban areas into drivers of a healthy and environmentally sustainable future is an essential ingredient for solving the environmental challenges of the 21st Century."
"In order for us to succeed, we must change our traditional measures of landscape performance."
UER is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit urban land trust that was formed to work with landowners and communities to preserve or develop Eco-Functioning Spaces® for the sake of our region's environment and life-giving earth systems.
We are dedicated to finding mutually beneficial ways of working with landowner-partners to place Eco-Functioning Spaces (EFS) on their lands and then protecting and enhancing those EFS (and their functions) over time. Where there are opportunities to expand Eco-Functioning Spaces (EFS), or aggregate them with other EFS, in order to increase the scale of the ecosystem services they can offer, UER will pursue them.
UER’s mission is to support the development of Eco-Functioning Spaces, design them to enhance value, protect them over time, engage site users and local communities in their care and appreciation, and ultimately, connect them into protected greenways that promote regional environmental and public health benefits.
Teaching people about the many ways Eco-Functioning Spaces benefit their lives, how to enjoy and respect these spaces for long-term individual and community benefit, and building STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) skills through an understanding of the science that makes EFS work are all also part of UER’s role.
As used here, the term “ecosystem functions” refers to ecological functions that occur within normal, undisturbed ecosystems and that provide some of the basic necessities for human survival, such as: stormwater and flood surge capture and infiltration, climate change mitigation, living soils, decomposition/composting, native habitats that support naturally-occurring food webs, and land and water temperature modulation that enables the growth of native plant and animal communities.
Vision and Theory of Change
By 2025, we envision a re-greening of the D.C. metropolitan region, where thousands of privately-owned green areas (designed as Eco-Functioning Spaces®) provide critical ecosystem services to the region and stretch across the urban and suburban landscape. In this vision, these Eco-Functioning Spaces not only restore our regional environment, but they create social and economic value for those with the vision to work with UER to install and protect them.
We also see a future in which the nation looks to the D.C. region as an example of the capacity of cities -- and the private markets within them -- to be a critical component of our society’s response to the gravest environmental challenges of this century.
UER seeks to achieve this vision by working with landowners who are planning for new construction or rehabilitation projects, landscape retrofits, or who may be trying to preserve natural areas of their sites in the cities and suburbs of the Washington, D.C. area. Because of strong demand for urban land in this region, UER believes it is essential to restore and protect numerous Eco-Functioning Spaces (EFS) of various sizes – ranging anywhere from 200 square feet to 3 acres (or more). Eco-Functioning Spaces use landscape designs and plant selections to clean the air, reduce heat island effects, provide habitat for birds and pollinators, and retain and filter rainwater -- all at the same time. This is how we make every square foot count.
UER then stays involved in caring for, and engaging people with, the Eco-Functioning Spaces. This not only ensures that the EFS perform their functions optimally over time, but also ensures that the EFS are adding value to the developments in which they operate.
UER has adopted the Land Trust Alliance’s Land Trust Standards and Practices and is a member in good standing of the LTA. UER holds itself to the highest standards of ethics in the conduct of its business and in the pursuit of establishing a new economically-viable model of private-sector driven ecological conservation and restoration efforts – efforts designed to benefit not only today’s urban communities but those of future generations.