Rick Howard, Senior Ecologist and Project Manager in SWCA’s Houston office, has been named the Lawrence S. Semo Scientific Achievement Award winner for the second quarter of 2020.
Rick joined SWCA in May of 2012, immediately establishing himself as a consummate botanist, water quality specialist, wetland scientist, and mammalogist. During his tenure at SWCA, Rick has provided field and technical leadership in establishing multiple wetland restoration sites that have provided habitat and functional mitigation for wetland impacts. He has led numerous multi-year studies of lotic and lentic systems to evaluate community structure, water chemistry, invasive species, trophic state, and other factors.
After receiving his Professional Wetlands Scientist certification in 2017, Rick established himself as one of SWCA’s leaders in the wetland mitigation and mitigation banking field. His primary areas of expertise are in wetland restoration and re-establishment for mitigation, Clean Water Act permitting, invasive species control, habitat assessment, wetland sciences, and the use of a wide range of field and laboratory techniques for evaluating biological and chemical constituents.
The quarterly Lawrence S. Semo Scientific Achievement Award rewards individuals for demonstrating passion, creativity, and scientific excellence in a manner that advances SWCA’s purpose, mission, vision, and values. The award is in honor of Larry Semo, who began working as a biologist for SWCA in Austin in 1993 and transferred to Denver in 1999. A respected and widely published ornithologist and all-around naturalist, Larry had an insatiable desire to learn and a great love for the outdoors until his untimely passing in 2011.
Rick is a highly accomplished scientist, and a prime example of SWCA’s tagline: Sound Science. Creative Solutions. His working knowledge of natural systems, field and research methods, statistics, data analysis, aquatic ecology, limnology, and wetlands science applied to solving complicated environmental problems perfectly qualifies him for the Larry Semo Award.