Donald W. Seriff, B.A.
Conservation Scientist


  • B.A., Earth Science, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, 1984
  • Science Education Program - 27 semester hours, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, 1989
  • Master of Science Biology Program – 25 semester hours, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, 1999

Professional Employment:

  • Mecklenburg County, N.C.  Government – Division of Natural Resources
    • Natural Resources Coordinator – Supervisor (2009- present)
    • Natural Resources Program Manager (2001-2009) - Served as Interim Division Director (July 2005-January 2006)
    • Conservation Science Specialist (1997-2001)
    • EE Specialist (1994-1996)
  • Habitat Assessment and Restoration Program, Inc. (HARP)
    • Environmental Consultant (1996 – present)
  • South Carolina State Government – State Park Service
    • Interpreter – Resource Management (1990-1993)
  • Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Commission
    • Engineering and Planning Aide (1986-1987) – Jug Bay Wetlands Project (Chesapeake Bay)
  • Mecklenburg County, N.C.  Government – Department of Environmental Protection
    • Environmental Health Specialist (1984-1985)

Additional Endeavors:

  • Mercy Corps – Volunteer - (1987-1989)
  • University of North Carolina at Charlotte – Center for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics – Instructor (since 1995)
  • University of North Carolina at Charlotte and University of Georgia - Honors Geology Field Camps (1984, 1985, 1989)
  • Faculty – Research Assistant, Teaching Assistant, Staff (primary focus: tectonic geomorphology of the Colorado Plateau)
  • Wildacres Naturalist Program (Science Museums of Charlotte) – Faculty – 1994 – 2000
  • National Wildlife Federation – Blue Ridge Environmental Summits – Faculty – 1991, 1992, and 1995
  • National Outdoor Environmental Education Conference – Faculty - 1993

Professional Affiliations:

  • The Wildlife Society – current member and Past President of the North Carolina Chapter (NCTWS) which represents professional wildlife biologists throughout the state.
  • Member of the Natural Areas Association since 2000
  • Member of the "CBC", the Ornithological Society of the Carolinas, since 1989 
  • Member of the North Carolina Herpetological Society, since 1993 
  • Founding and continuing member of the Carolina Butterfly Society, since 1996  
  • Cofounder of CCARI, the Central Carolina Amphibian and Reptile Initiative, in 2000 with Dr. Michael Dorcas of Davidson College
  • Past member of: the North Carolina Academy of Sciences, the Society of Conservation Biology, the Southern Appalachian Botanical Society, the Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles, and the Eastern Bird Banders Association
  • Past member and regional director of the South Carolina Association of Naturalists (SCAN)

Awards and Certifications: 

  • Wildlife Conservation Award. 2008. The Wildlife Society – N.C. Chapter.   Presented "in recognition of outstanding leadership and achievement for the benefit of wildlife and natural resources in the greater Mecklenburg County region".
  • Honorary Warden Award. 2007. North Carolina Audubon State Office.  Accepted as Program Manager "for exemplary service in protection of our state’s most important bird habitats and sanctuaries".
  • Unit of Government Award. 2005. Soil and Water Conservation Society – Hugh Hammond Bennett Chapter.  Accepted as Program Manager "for outstanding achievement and contribution to resource-related programs".
  • Extra Effort Award . 2004. North Carolina Partners in Flight (N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission). Awarded for extra initiative in bird conservation projects and activities.
  • Chapter Award . 2004. The Wildlife Society – N.C. Chapter.  Presented "in recognition of outstanding service as a wildlife professional".
    Achievement Award. 2002.  National Association of Counties.  Accepted as Program Manager for the Mountain Island Lake Important Bird Area Research and Monitoring Program "in recognition of an innovative program which contributes to and enhances county government in the United States".
  • State Certified - North Carolina Environmental Educator (current)
  • Green Growth Toolbox Trainer - North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission (2010)
  • Certified - Tactics for Effective Leadership – human resources management (2001)
  • Certified – Bird Bander - Institute for Bird Populations  (1999)
  • Certified – Master Forest Manager – N.C. Cooperative Extension Service (1994)
  • State Certified – Environmental Specialist - North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources (multiple authorizations) (lapsed)
  • State Commissioned - South Carolina State Law Enforcement Officer (graduated basic training from the S.C. State Criminal Justice Academy in 1991) (lapsed)
  • Certified – Search and Rescue (SARTECH III and FUNSAR) and "Man- tracking" – National Association of Search and Rescue (1991)(lapsed)
  • Certified – Wilderness First Responder – Wilderness Medical Associates  (1996 / recertified - 1999) (lapsed)

Specialized Training:

Completed over 400 hours of professional specialized training in environmental assessment and natural community inventory, monitoring, and management - among which included: Non-game Wildlife Survey Techniques – USFWS National Conservation Training Center,  Conservation Biology – Highlands Biological Field Station, Conservation Development (edaw / AECOM),  Herpetology – Dr. George Zug – Zoologist Emeritus Smithsonian,  Fern Identification – Dr. A.J. Sharp – UT Prof. Emeritus,  Moss Identification – Dr. A.J. Sharp – UT Prof. Emeritus,  Wildlife Ecology – Dr. Al Manville – Defenders of Wildlife,  Bird Banding and MAPSProg Training -IBP, Water Quality Assessment - NCDENR,  Dam Maintenance and Inspection - NCDENR, Wildland Fire Suppression S130 / S190 / L 180 - N.C. Forest Service, Isolated Wetlands Assessment - NCTWS,  Air Photo Interpretation - USGS, ESRI ArcMap Training (graduate level course) – UNC Charlotte Geography,  Environmental Health Field Training (CIT) - NCDEHNR,  Salamanders and Air Quality – EPA, 10/30 hour Industry Safety Training  - OSHA; and completed 3 additional university courses with field training in woody and herbaceous plant identification (plant taxonomy).

Administrative Experience:

Created the Conservation Science Program and established the Conservation Science Office for Mecklenburg County Government.  Managed it and the Natural Resources Management program for nine years.  Responsible for managing an annual operating budget of almost $1 million.  Prepared budget submissions, balanced scorecard and program review reports, and strategic planning, capital development and operational needs assessments.  Planned and implemented conservation and resource management initiatives designed to insure the long-term viability of the county’s native flora, fauna, and natural communities.  Provided technical assistance to a wide variety of federal, state, local, and non-profit agencies and private companies. Managed 11 professional staff and 6 part-time staff responsible for the collection of data, preparation of reports and implementation of planned management initiatives.  Reviewed and critiqued technical reports to insure quality control.  Disseminated findings of biological assessments and other projects to advisory councils, partner agencies, and other government departments and officials.  Managed a variety of contract scientists and land management firms as well as an assortment of federal, state, and local grants and contracts for inventory, monitoring, and management.  Insured proper archiving of all supporting project data.  Responsible for assessment and prioritization of land parcels for potential acquisition utilizing bond appropriations or through the use of conservation easements.  Interviewed more than 60 times by newspaper, radio, and television news staff regarding all aspects of natural resource issues in the Greater Charlotte region.

Project Experience:

Environmental Assessment

  • Performed field inventories for county natural heritage surveys for the N.C. Natural Heritage Program in Mecklenburg, Cabarrus, Gaston, and Lincoln counties.
  • Skilled and experienced in the identification and mapping of natural community types in N.C. and S.C.  
  • Performed multiple surveys for rare, threatened and endangered plant and animal species and rare natural community types in the Piedmont of the Carolinas. (See Flora and Fauna below.)
  • Performed multiple Environmental Assessments (EA’s) or provided technical data and reports for a variety of engineering firms including: Black and Veatch, Brown and Caldwell, HDR, Law, SM&E, Haden-Stanziale, Devine and Tarbell, Crosland Land Company, the City of Charlotte, NC DOT, Duke Energy, and more.
  • Managed NC DOT and Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS) projects involving the relocation of federally listed species under the auspices of the USFWS.
  • Reviewed plans at 25%, 50%, 75% and 100% levels of more than 50 park and greenway development projects.  Provided detailed comments and signature upon final review.  
  • Conducted field inventories and provided data for several greenway project applications successful in receiving federal stimulus funding through the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment  Act.
  • Performed terrestrial wildlife assessments for a variety of firms contracted by the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Utilities Department working on projects including: Beaverdam Creek Pump Station, Briar Creek Force Main, Catawba River Pump Station, Long Creek Pump Station, McDowell Creek Force Main, etc.
  • Prepared baseline environmental reports for multiple CDOT - CMAQ Project grant applications for the Mecklenburg-Union MPO.

Conservation Planning

  • Trained and experienced in integrating conservation science and local planning through the application of conservation data with the principles of "conservation development" and "wildlife-friendly" development.
  • Core team member responsible for the research, development, and writing of the Mecklenburg County Nature Preserve Master Plan in 1997 and the plan update adopted by the Board of County Commissioners in 2007.  This 157-page update was a significant component of the Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation 10-Year Master Plan, which was used as the basis for a successful $250 million public bond campaign for parks and nature preserves.
  • Performed an environmental assessment of "The Woodlands" development in Davidson, N.C.  After review, this development was certified as the first official "Wildlife Friendly Development" in North Carolina under the program established by the NC Wildlife Resources Commission, the NC Wildlife Federation, and the American Society of Landscape Architects.
  • Developed the Mecklenburg County Natural Areas Needs Assessment, a planning tool used to identify, assess and prioritize land parcels for acquisition in order to protect or buffer exemplary natural habitat. 
  • Provided technical guidance for the preparation of multiple Charlotte-Mecklenburg Planning Commission "Area Plans".
  • Provided input at more than 100 public meetings, commission meetings or advisory council meetings involving land development projects and natural resource issues .
  • Invited member of the technical guidance committee advising the City of Charlotte and the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Planning Commission during the creation of their General Development Policies on the Environment.  
  • Invited member of the technical team charged with the development of a computer model for local natural area protection: "The Mecklenburg County Greenprint" – "a smart growth strategy".

Habitat Restoration and Natural Resource Management

  • Developed and supervised the implementation of a long-term, comprehensive adaptive management project designed to convert over 400 acres of agriculture fields into functional early successional, native warm-season grassland communities.  Applied for and managed federal, state, and local grant monies to fund the project.
  • Provided contract and project management oversight of multiple federal habitat improvement contracts implemented on county government land (e.g. W.H.I.P.). 
  • Managed multiple timber removal contracts as part of several natural community restoration projects including the conversion of pine plantation to natural forest community.
  • Provided consultation on several NC Ecosystem Enhancement Projects, Mecklenburg County Stormwater and City of Charlotte Stormwater stream restoration projects including: Meridale, McIntyre Creek, Clarks Creek, Little Sugar Creek, etc. 
  • Developed a recommended list of native plants for planting in SWIM buffers for the Mecklenburg County Stormwater - Water Quality BMP.
    Supervised the creation of the "Mecklenburg County Invasive Plant / Native Plant Species Recommended Purchasing Guide" for the county's Environmentally Preferable Purchasing Guide.
  • Assisted with several bioengineering projects conducted for Charlotte City Stormwater.  Sourced native materials, planted live stakes, constructed and installed fascines, planted floodplain benches, installed and seeded biodegradable fabrics, etc.  Adhered to established riparian BMP's.
  • Project manager for Mecklenburg County's Canada goose control program in city parks and nature preserves.
  • Managed the implementation of 33 prescribed burns designed to mimic the natural fire regime in local disturbance dependent habitats.

Flora Inventory and Monitoring

  • Developed a formal protocol used for more than 160 natural community surveys conducted in the greater Charlotte region and either supervised or personally conducted these surveys.
  • Conducted surveys for federal, state, and locally designated rare, threatened, or endangered plant species including: Helianthus schweinitzii, Echinacea laevigata, Symphyotrichum georgianum, Hexastylis naniflora, Rhus michauxii, Lotus helleri, Isoetes virginica, Anemone caroliniana, Ceratiola ericoides, Senecio millefolium, Parnassia grandifolia, Acontium uncinatum, Helonias bullata, Habernaria intergrilabia, Sarracenia jonesii var. rubra, Baptisia albescens, and more.  
  • Developed management plans and conducted annual population monitoring and management of several populations of federally listed species including: Helianthus schweinitzii, Symphiotrichum georgianum, and Echinacea laevigata.  Provided population data and input to USFWS utilized in their species assessment and recovery plans. 
  • Adapted a quantitative Forest Assessment protocol and supervised the use of it in sampling hundreds of 11.3 m radius plots on over 5000 acres of forest lands. 
  • Supervised the collection, preparation, and deposition of herbarium voucher specimens according to established herbarium protocols.

Fauna Inventory and Monitoring

  • Provided consultation, technical data, or conducted surveys for a variety of federal, state, and locally designated rare, threatened, or endangered animal species including: red-cockaded woodpecker, bog turtle, green salamander, northern flying squirrel, bald eagle, old-field mouse, loggerhead shrike, barn owl, gulf coast spiny softshell turtle, timber rattlesnake, rusty blackbird, American kestrel, checkered white butterfly, northern oak hairstreak, and more.
  • Conducted baseline avian survey research at two National Park Service units: Cowpens National Battlefield and Ninety-Six National Historic Site under contract with the National Park Service – Cumberland Piedmont Inventory and Monitoring Network .
  • Developed and implemented numerous faunal survey projects that provided data on species presence, richness and abundance in the Greater Charlotte region including: aquatic turtle mark-recapture program, salamander drift fence study, avian point count surveys, winter waterfowl surveys, small mammal monitoring, and a local butterfly inventory; among others.
  • Provided management oversight of multiple deer hunts conducted annually on public properties for nine consecutive years with approximately 600 hunters and a perfect safety record.
  • Conducted a variety of general fauna surveys for other agencies including: black bear bait line survey (SC DNR), hawk watch survey (HMANA), breeding bird surveys (USGS), Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship – bird banding station (IBP), amphibian drift fence monitoring (CLC), and more.

Publications and Scientific Reports:

Seriff, D.W. 1992. Razorbill Record for Huntington Beach State Park, S.C. The Chat, Vol. 56, No. 3. p. 62.

Seriff, D.W. 1997. Initial Field Survey Report: Cabarrus County Natural Heritage Survey.  58 pp. Submitted to the Cabarrus County Soil and Water District, the Cabarrus Natural Heritage Advisory Committee, and the North Carolina Natural Heritage Program.

Seriff, D.W. 2000. Wildlife of Gaston County and Appendices 2, 3, and 4. 77 pp.  In A. May. Gaston County Natural Heritage Inventory. North Carolina Natural Heritage Program and the Gaston County Quality of Natural Resources Commission – North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service.

Seriff, D. W. 2000. Crowder’s Mountain State Park and Appendices 5, 6, and 7. 23 pp.  In A. May. Gaston County Natural Heritage Inventory. North Carolina Natural Heritage Program and the Gaston County Quality of Natural Resources Commission – North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service.

Seriff, D.W. 2002. Wildlife Species – Rare Fauna – Wildlife Conservation Recommendations and Appendices 1-5. 50 pp. In Lincoln County, North Carolina Natural Heritage Inventory. North Carolina Natural Heritage Program.

Daves, S. and D. Seriff. 2003. Piedmont Prairie Report: Restoration, Management, and Monitoring. 61 pp. Mecklenburg County Government – Natural Resources Program.

Seriff, D.W. 2004. Cane Creek Park Piedmont Prairie Restoration Area – Management Plan. Submitted to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Final draft approved and adopted by the USFWS in 2009 for the management of transplanted populations of the federally endangered sunflower - Helianthus schweinitzii.

Esely, J. and D. Seriff, S.E. Daves, T. Piephoff, and L. Barden. 2005. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Area. Pp. 107-110, In M. Brooks and M. Johns (Eds.). Birding North Carolina. Falcon Press, Guilford, CT. 209 pp.   

Seriff, D.W.  2006. Avifauna Inventory of Cowpens National Battlefield 2004-2005.  67 pp.  Submitted to the National Park Service - Cumberland Piedmont Inventory and Monitoring Network.     

Seriff, D.W.  2006. Avifauna Inventory of Ninety-Six National Historic Site 2004-2005.  71 pp.  Submitted to the National Park Service - Cumberland Piedmont Inventory and Monitoring Network.    

Seriff, D.W. and M.K. Smith. 2006.  Mecklenburg County’s Natural Heritage.  Pp. 34-40, In 2006 State of the Environment Report for Mecklenburg County, N.C.  Mecklenburg County Government Land Use and Environmental Services Agency.

Seriff, D.W. 2007. State of the Birds, Mecklenburg County, N.C. 26 pp. Mecklenburg County Government – Natural Resources Program. Submitted to the Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation Commission, Mecklenburg Audubon Society, and the Board of County Commissioners.

Seriff, D.W. 2007. Checklist of the Birds of Cowpens National Battlefield. National Park Service, Cowpens, S.C.

Seriff, D.W. 2008. Greater Charlotte East Group. Pp. 159-169. In The North Carolina Birding Trail: Piedmont Trail Guide. UNC-Press, Chapel Hill, N.C.

Seriff, D.W. 2008. Mecklenburg County’s Biodiversity.  Pp. 101-104, In 2008 State of the Environment Report for Mecklenburg County, N.C.  Mecklenburg County Government Land Use and Environmental Services Agency.

Seriff, D.W. 2008.  Nature Preserves: Islands of Nature in a Sea of Urban Sprawl.  Pp. 105-107, In 2008 State of the Environment Report for Mecklenburg County, N.C.  Mecklenburg County Government Land Use and Environmental Services Agency.

Kneidel, S. and S. Kneidel. 2008. "A Man with Answers". Pp. 97-103, In Going Green. Fulcrum Publishing, Golden Colorado. (Profiled in Chapter Three – Land Use.)

Seriff, D.W. 2009. Greater Charlotte West Group. Pp. 95-102, In The North Carolina Birding Trail: Mountain Trail Guide. UNC-Press, Chapel Hill, N.C.

Division of Nature Preserves and Natural Resources. 2010. Gateway Nature Preserve – Natural Resources Management Plan. 118 pp. Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation Department, Division of Nature Preserves and Natural Resources  - Natural Resources Section. Charlotte, N.C. Available on-line here

Inter-Agency and Internal Reports:

Prepared, assisted in the preparation of, or provided technical guidance during the preparation of over 100 additional inter-agency or internal environmental assessments and baseline environmental reports, a few examples of which are presented below:

  • Baseline environmental surveys for facility development  (e.g. U.S. National Whitewater Center, Queens University Sportsplex, Elon School, Friendship Park, etc.)
  • Charlotte-Mecklenburg Planning Commission Area Plans (e.g. Rocky River, Newell, Northeast, Catawba, Northlake, etc.)
  • Greenway Trail and Blueway Trail Environmental Assessments (e.g. Torrence Creek, Rocky River, Toby Creek, South Fork River, West Branch, etc.)
  • Initial Biodiversity Assessments – "IBA’s" (e.g. Allison Farm, Mallard Creek Greenway - Copper Beach, Bradford Park, Davis Farm, Cowan’s Ford Wildlife Refuge, etc.)
  • Charlotte-Mecklenburg Utilities Department – EA wildlife assessments (e.g. Beaverdam Creek Pump Station, Wildwood Pump Station, Catawba Pump Station, McAlpine Force Main, etc.)


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