Trail Ecology, Restoration, and Green Infrastructure

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Historically, much of the work on trails has focused on providing better mobility and recreational opportunities to people living near them. Not enough has been done to maximize opportunities to improve environmental systems as an integrated part of trail work. This session specifically highlights the work of The Trail Foundation in Austin, Texas, and their work on the Ann and Roy Butler Hike-and-Bike Trail. Located in the heart of Austin, Butler Trail at Lady Bird Lake is a lush, urban path that meanders along the water’s edge and passes by skyscrapers, neighborhoods, ball fields and cultural attractions. With more than 2.6 million visits a year, the 10-mile hike-and-bike trail is Austin’s most recognized and popular recreational area. The recent formation of the Trail Foundation’s Ecological Restoration Committee has solidified ecology as a core tenet of TTF’s work. This session will explore best practices for integrating ecological restoration and green infrastructure into trail projects including a debrief on TTFs Urban Forestry Plan and Ecological Restoration Guidelines, how this work has furthered City of Austin Environmental goals, and what the future of TTF’s project work looks like with both people and the environment in mind.

31997933_katie_headshotKatie Coyne, AICP, Certified Ecologist – ESA, SITES AP, co-leads the Urban Ecology Studio at Asakura Robinson where she works on planning and design projects specifically targeting increased resiliency from urban to rural areas, restoring ecosystem function on small-sites and across regions, conserving open space and facilitating sustainable public access, leveraging the protection of natural resources toward equity goals, and using data and research to drive the design of multi-functional green infrastructure sites and networks. Katie’s traditional training in ecology allows her to understand the ecological imperative and technical nuances in the Urban Ecology Studio’s work while her training in community planning and design has armed her with the tools to understand how economic, cultural, social, and ecological goals must be balanced across scales for a resilient future.

58976578_062_heidicohn_brendaladdphoto_5x5lrHeidi Anderson came to TTF with 24 years experience in non-profits joining the team as executive director in June 2017. Most recently her time was focused on protecting green space and building additional trails for Central Texans with Hill Country Conservancy and The Violet Crown Trail. As part of that work she completed a $13,000,000 capital campaign in three years. Heidi and her family regularly enjoy the Trail for its urban access to nature and connectivity to community. Heidi’s commitment to the Trail lies in the belief that this treasured asset, within Austin’s core, is at the heart of what makes our city great and our people healthy.

31997965_ttf-beth-carroll-headshot-1-400x380Beth Carroll is the Project and Creative Director for The Trail Foundation, an Austin nonprofit focused on protecting and enhancing the Trail at Lady Bird Lake. She graduated Manga Cum Laude from Texas A&M University with a BLA in Landscape Architecture in 2006. She has worked in a wide range of practice areas and project types, including master planned communities, urban streetscapes, and intimate healing gardens. Beth joined The Trail Foundation team in the fall of 2010 and currently specializes in sustainable design techniques, native planting design, ecological restoration, graphic design, marketing, project management, social media, technology, and volunteer coordination.


Mateo Scoggins has worked in stream ecology for the City of Austin Watershed Protection Department for over 20 years. He helped develop a robust biological monitoring program and has focused the latter part of his career on solutions to water quality problems in central Texas streams, including a ban on coal tar sealants and a riparian restoration program. Mateo grew up in California, attending the University of California at San Diego and then joined the Peace Corps in Honduras before moving to Austin, Texas in 1992. He has an MS in Aquatic Biology from Texas State and is a certified senior ecologist with the Ecological Society of America.


Jonathan Ogren is a Conservation and Environmental Planner who runs Siglo Group, a planning and GIS firm focused on helping clients integrate natural systems into land planning and design. He specializes in environmental assessment, regional analysis, natural area management, cartography, conservation planning, and land use feasibility studies. His work combines rich data in a geographic information framework to create compelling and informative products. Representative projects include Land for Water Conservation Planning for the Texas Land Conservancy, Laguna Gloria Site Assessment, Land Conservation Prioritization for the San Antonio Edwards Aquifer Protection Program, the Pease Park Master Plan, the Strategic Conservation Plan for the Hill Country Conservancy, the Sustainable Places Project, and the Urban Forest and Natural Area Management Guidelines for Lady Bird Lake and the Butler Trail. He is the co-author of the Texas Landscape Project: Nature and People, a collaboration with David Todd published by Texas A&M University Press. The book documents environmental issues throughout Texas through narratives and maps. In addition, Jonathan is on the faculty at the University of Texas at Austin, School of Architecture, where he teaches graduate students to integrate geographic analysis into their research.

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