Project Description

Colin MacLaren, PWS

Wetland Ecologist

Growing up in an Air Force family that moved around the US, it wasn’t until visiting a massive old growth forest on the Oregon Coast in 1991 that Colin found a place he wanted to call home. After graduating from Claremont-McKenna College with a degree in biology, Colin moved to Portland where he’s lived for the last 20 years working as a wetland ecologist, performing wetland delineations, designs, permitting, and rare plant surveys.

Initially, Colin was drawn to studying wetlands while performing a benthic invertebrate study at a former oil field and mitigation site south of Manhattan Beach, California. “Even though it had been damaged for years, the speed at which the diversity and complexity of the area returned was amazing,” he says. A part of his early career was spent working for state and regional permitting agencies. “It was a great opportunity to get a glimpse of the regulatory side.” Colin explains, “but I was happy to get back to consulting.”

Inter-Fluve was lucky to bring him onto our team in 2014 to work on inventories, conservation plans, as well as federal, state, and local permitting.

What keeps him drawn to the work? “I love being able to see a restoration project come to fruition – the point where we are actually improving habitat,” Colin explains. Humbly, Colin is also drawn to the continual learning process of his field. “It’s really rewarding to watch succession in nature,” Colin explains. “But every mitigation project is different and mother nature doesn’t read our plans. Sometimes it’s drought that impacts our projects – and sometimes it’s floods. Whatever it is, I strive to learn from the challenges that each project brings.”

Outside work, Colin can be found sailing his 11-foot, gaff-rigged wooden dingy, spending time with his wife and son, or playing music (he played mandolin in a Pogues cover band).

“I love being able to see a restoration project come to fruition – the point where we are actually improving habitat.”