Environmental Effects

Hickory Creek services include:

  • Conservation easement evaluation and inspections
  • Watershed management plans
  • Natural resource inventories
  • Wetland characterization

Effective management and protection of natural resources is based on an understanding of science. Ecosystems like wetlands, streams and forests are comprised of interconnected physical, chemical and biological characteristics that affect how well the system works.


Healthy ecosystems provide a range of services that benefit human communities.

These include:

Services that make life on earth possible and are necessary for the production of all other ecosystem services:

  • Soil formation
  • Primary productivity; photosynthesis
  • Nutrient cycling
  • Water cycling


  • Food
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Biomedicine
  • Fresh water

Benefits from the regulation or balancing of ecosystem processes:

  • Disease control
  • Biological pest control
  • Pollination
  • Protection from natural hazards (e.g. flooding)
  • Water purification and waste treatment
  • Erosion control
  • Climate regulation

Nonphysical benefits for human communities:

  • Education and research
  • Protection of property values
  • Recreation and nature-based tourism
  • Quality of life

By identifying and describing natural resources in the context of ecosystems and how they work, we improve the effectiveness of our protection efforts. This includes the accurate identification of natural features, plants and animals of conservation concern, and ecosystem interconnections across the landscape.

Watersheds contain ecosystems, which determine how well a watershed can work to provide communities with benefits including flood protection, water supply, groundwater replenishment, and water quality protection.

Hickory Creek focuses on these systems as a solid basis for (1) evaluating environmental impacts, and (2) developing plans, ordinances, educational materials and strategies for protecting significant natural resources for future generations.


Land use includes a range of activities, some of which have negative effects on specific watersheds, ecosystems, and their benefits. They include cumulative impacts over time.

Hickory Creek helps you identify these impacts, evaluate their effects, and develop local strategies for action–  whether you’re protecting a natural area, figuring out how to reduce flooding, or evaluating the effects of a subdivision, drilling rig or pipeline on water quality.

Services provided by Hickory Creek include:

  • Review environmental impact statements or assessments, project plans;
  • Evaluate impacts (including cumulative impacts) on natural resources, and identify how they will affect natural systems (ecosystems, watersheds) and the services  they provide for your community;
  • Develop and implement local water resource protection ordinances;
  • Identify locally ‘significant’ impacts; develop criteria for evaluating impact significance;
  • Incorporate ‘true costs’ into environmental impact review.