BY PETER DORFMAN
Spencer Goehl has spent many years restoring forests and prairies, but he’s also interested in the great potential he sees in the smaller patches of green in cities such as Bloomington. Goehl, executive director of Bloomington-based Eco Logic, is an advocate for rain gardens, shallow landscaped areas designed to soak up and filter rainwater and return it to the aquifer.
“The dirtiest water on your property is on the asphalt and roof,” he says. “After a heavy rain in August, the water can go up four degrees in temperature and then it flows into a stream, where it reduces the oxygen. The aquatic organisms that clean the water for us can’t deal with that.”
Goehl built Eco Logic, his environmental landscaping and consulting company, through multiyear government contracts for ecological restoration and invasive species management. Eco Logic has restored native habitats in the Hoosier National Forest, Pioneer Mothers Memorial Forest, Meltzer Woods, Crane Naval Surface Warfare Center, and other landmark forests in Indiana and beyond, under contracts with the government and the Nature Conservancy.
The company also does work in urban areas, including Indianapolis, Louisville, and Bloomington. Goehl says he hopes his latest venture, a native plant nursery at Eco Logic’s 40-acre facility on Vernal Pike, will give the company an even stronger local presence.
The nursery offers native perennials, trees, and shrubs — plants adapted to southern Indiana’s ecosystem — as opposed to the Asian exotics more often seen in urban landscaping. Progressive cities such as Bloomington have policies that promote native plantings and green infrastructure, including urban rain gardens that infiltrate and dispose of sewage and storm water overflow.
“We have a new crew that does that kind of design, and we do native landscaping projects, including some residential work,” Goehl says.
Eco Logic has done remediation at the Miller Showers Park and managed invasive plants at Latimer Woods, Griffy Lake, Cascades Park, and other sites. Eco Logic landscaped EverGreen Village, a progressive city project focused on low-income sustainable housing, located off Rockport Road.
Goehl, 45, moved to Bloomington when he was 8 years old, and has lived in the area most of his life. His staff of 17 includes several Indiana University graduates. Phil Oser, assistant director, is an IU alumnus who started as a $12-an-hour seasonal worker and is now a part owner. Goehl was a founding member of Monroe County’s Identify and Reduce Invasive Species (MC IRIS) coalition. Eco Logic has been involved in multiple local educational programs.
“We want to reconnect the broken parts of Indiana’s native landscape,” he says. “Native plants have been pushed to the edge of our fields and cities. But our wildlife needs them. We need to reinvigorate the biodiversity of our neighborhoods. Each of us has the power to do that.”
Eco Logic is located at 8685 W. Vernal Pike. For more information, visit ecologicindiana.com or call 812-876-7711.