Chesapeake Bay Research Wins National Award

Collaboration Between Landscape Architects and State Agencies Wins Honor Award in Research from the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA).

Baltimore, MD September 4, 2020Seeding Specificity: Materials and Methods for Novel Ecosystems designed by Mahan Rykiel Associates for the Maryland Port Administration received the prestigious HONOR AWARD in RESEARCH from the American Society of Landscape Architects.

“Working collaboratively with a diverse team of experts to understand and address complex issues is what drives innovation. Our efforts to develop a site-specific seed mix for the continued restoration of the North Cell of Hart-Miller Island is a case in point. The team explored the island’s existing conditions, reviewed results of past research, and ran a germination study with on-site dredged material to design a high-performance seed mix to aid in optimizing restoration efforts, enhancing habitat, and educating the public about the beneficial use of dredged material. The undertaking was successful because it involved field ecologists, horticulturalists, operations managers, community outreach professionals, landscape architects, and state-level program managers,” said Mahan Rykiel Research Director Isaac Hametz.

The findings of the study, which show significant variance between published germination rates under controlled conditions and experimentally derived seedling emergence in site soil from Hart-Miller Island, highlight the importance of aligning research methods, restoration goals, and design intent. As climate change and human impacts continue to alter landscapes throughout the Chesapeake Bay region and beyond, collaboration between allied professionals will become increasingly important in  calibrating restoration strategies and design outcomes to the specificities of a project sites including their soils, plant species, and management practices.

In recognition of this, “ASLA Professional Awards acknowledge exceptional projects that define and move the profession of landscape architecture forward,” said Curt Millay, Executive Secretary of the American Society of Landscape Architects. “We congratulate Mahan Rykiel Associates Research Director Isaac Hametz on this incredible achievement.”

The award will be presented during a virtual Professional Awards Ceremony later in the fall.


The prestige of the ASLA Professional Awards program relies in large part on the high caliber of the juries convened each year to review submissions. Juries represent the breadth of the profession, including private, public, institutional, and academic practice, and exemplify diversity in professional experience, geography, gender, and ethnicity.

This year, 31 projects were recognized in seven categories: general design, residential design, urban design, analysis & planning, communications, research, and The Landmark Award.

Visit Project Page: Seeding Novel Ecosystems

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