Michael Simpson, MS, MALS

Antioch University
Home Faculty Directory Michael Simpson, MS, MALS

I believe that an effective resource manager needs to combine theory, skills and reflection to achieve any sustainable solution for the environmental problems that they must face.

A necessary component of my teaching is to show by example. To be an effective teacher, I must be an effective practitioner. I then can use my ongoing working experience to temper and ground the theory.

Such a dose of reality in my courses spans the spectrum from identifying and framing an environmental problem to developing a viable solution. Not only does such a solution need to be technically feasible, but it also must be environmentally sound, economically wise, and politically acceptable.



Michael Simpson headshot

Core Faculty

Environmental Studies & Sustainability

Concentration Director

Leadership and Management of Sustainable Systems

  • MS, Resource Management, Antioch University New England
  • MA, Liberal Studies: Science Emphasis, Dartmouth College
  • BA, Biology and Philosophy, Denison University

With over 35 years in both academics and consulting, I can bring to the classroom both an in-depth scholarly view of the resource
management field, tempered by on-the-ground experience of the realities of implementing sustainable solutions on the landscape.

I have held leadership and management positions in both the public and private sectors, in positions as a director, senior environmental
scientist, chair, and business owner. As such I have hands-on experience as a planner, regulator, field researcher, project manager, and administrator.

I am also a licensed Wetlands Scientist and hold a Level-IV Solid Waste Facility Operator certification, along with certificates for
HAZWoper 40-hour hazardous material response and Phase-1 ASTM Site Assessment.

For additional detail about Resource Management activities in the Water Resources domain, go to: michaelhsimpson.weebly.com

For additional detail about Resource Management activities in the Materials Management & Waste Minimization domain, go to: michaelhsimpsonwm.weebly.com

My research in the water resources domain has spanned assessing impacts to wetlands from the extraction of large volumes of bedrock-well groundwater to documenting the impact to riparian corridors and related infrastructure from the projected changes in climate in the context of a changing landscape.

In the materials and energy sustainability domain, my research has ranged from testing the biological breakdown of multiple feedstocks going to municipal and agricultural compost operations to modelling the release of greenhouse gases associated with alternative waste management strategies.

Finally, for the developing countries in the South, I have tested innovative approaches to incorporate materials management strategies in order to maximize the labor-rich resources and to create robust micro-enterprises that address complex resource extraction and pollution impacts associated with urban environments.

Current Awarded Grants

  • NOAA, Washington, D.C., Assessing the Risk of 100-year Floods in the Lamprey River Watershed Resulting from Changes in Climate and Land Use, with UNH Earth, Oceans and Space Institute Center, Durham, NH, $281,500
  • NOAA, Washington, D.C., Design and Implementation of a Stakeholder-Engaged Decision-Support Program for Adapting Civil Water Infrastructures for Climate and Land-Use Change, $224,000
  • NOAA, Washington D.C., Long term Climate Information and Forecasts Supporting Stakeholder-Driven Adaptation decisions for Urban Water Resources, $ 406,292

Climate Change Research

Michael Simpson interviewed on public radio about climate change adaptation: read and listen.

Radio Interview: Keene, NH’s Climate Preparedness

  • A Model City: Resilient, Circular, Equitable and Regenerative (2021)
  • Circularity and Resource Efficiency: Methods and metrics to assess circularity in materials management systems in cities (2020)
  • Food Waste Diversion Hierarchy (2019)
  • Peatlands in a Changing Climate: Vulnerability and Resilience (2019)
  • The System is Changing: Take Note Wetland Scientists (2018)
  • Enhancing climate change adaptation: strategies for community engagement and university-community partnerships (2017)
  • Local Solutions Report: Identifying and meeting the needs of local communities adapting to climate change (2016)
  • Stormwater management and climate change: vulnerability and capacity for adaptation in urban and suburban contexts (2016)
  • Enhancing climate change adaptation: strategies for community engagement and university-community partnerships (2015)
  • Sending a Signal for Change: leading by example through individual and institutional commitments to fossil fuel divestment (2015)
  • A Tale of Five Cities: Frameworks for Inclusive, High-Performance Recycling in Low- and Middle-income Countries (2015)
  • Long-term climate information and forecasts supporting stakeholder-driven adaptation decisions for urban water resources: Response to climate change and population growth (2014)
  • Impact of Climate Change on Drainage Infrastructure in the Twin Cities Metros (2014)
  • Assessing the Risk of 100-year Freshwater Floods in the Lamprey River Watershed of New Hampshire Resulting from Changes in Climate and Land Use (2013)
  • Stormwater drainage system vulnerability, capacity, and cost: response to climate change and population growth (2012)
  • Assessing urban recycling in low- and middle-income countries: Building on modernized mixtures (2011)
  • Forging the Link: Linking Economic Benefits of Low Impact Development and Community Decisions (2011)
  • Cost effective Low Impact Development in Commercial and Residential Development (2011)
  • Economical CSO Management (2011)
  • Economic and Adaptation Benefits of Low Impact Development (2011)
  • Chapter 4: Profiling the Reference Cities in Solid Waste Management in the World’s Cities (2010)
  • Oyster River Culvert Analysis (2010)
  • Reconstructing Waste Management in Monrovia, Liberia (2008)
  • Economic Aspects of the Informal sector in Solid Waste (2007)
  • Cycles of Carbon and Nitrogen & Interaction with Waste Management Practices (2005)
  • Total Cost Accounting for Solid Waste Management (1996)
  • Lapaks and Bandars Covert MSW In Indonesia (1993)
  • Flow Strategy for Leaves and Yard Waste (1990)
  • Integrating leaf and yard waste composting with waste-to-energy facilities (1990)
  • Leaf and Yard Waste Composting: Economic Overview (1989)

Select Presentations

Impacts of a Changing Climate on Wetland Ecosystems – Center for Climate Preparedness & Community Resilience national webinar – April 27, 2020

Vulnerability of High-elevation Waters to a Changing Climate – NH Water and Watershed Conference – Plymouth NH – March 13, 2020

The Lifecycle Assessment and Embedded Materials and Energy in a Circular Economy – Circular and Low Carbon Initiative, International Solid Waste Association, Rotterdam, NL, January 29, 2020

The Perfect Storm: The Collapse of the US Recycling Industry – International Solid Waste Association meeting, Rotterdam, NL, November 28, 2019

Response to The Threat of Extreme Heat – Security and Sustainability Forum & Union of Concerned Scientists national webinar – September 9, 2019

Glass/Trash /Recycling in Crisis: The China National Sword – NH Department of Environmental Services, Concord, NH, May 2, 2019

Best Management Practices for Static Aerated-Pile Composting of Food Waste. The 38th Northeast Resource Recovery Association Conference, Manchester, NH, May 21 & 22, 2018

Where to Put the Water: Assessing the Vulnerability of Urban Stormwater Systems to a Changing Climate, National Webinar, Center for Climate Preparedness and Community Resilience, September 20, 2017

Innovative Strategies for Organizing, Implementing and Funding Climate Adaptation, National Adaptation Forum, St Paul MN, May 9-11, 2017

The Urban Tree: An Elegant Response to Climate Challenges, Climate March and Rally, Keene NH, April 29, 2017

A Review of Climate Trends That Impact Forested Watersheds, USDA -Adapting Forest Watersheds to Climate Change Workshop, Keene, NH, April 4-5, 2017

A Changing Climate: Some Implications for Riparian Corridors, NH Water and Watershed Conference, Plymouth NH, March 24, 2017

Building Local Capacity to respond to the Impacts of Climate Change, 17th National Conference and Global Forum on Science, Policy, and the Environmental: Integrating Environment and Health, Washington DC, January 24-26, 2017

Cooperative Marketing: A Business Model for the Right Reasons, Keynote Speaker, Summit for Recycling, Grand Junction CO, June 14, 2016.

Learning from Past Mistakes: Composting for the Future, The 36th Northeast Resource Recovery Association Conference, Manchester, NH, June 8 & 9, 2016

Adapting to a Changing Landscape in the Context of a Changing Climate, Association for Environmental Studies and Science Annual Meeting, Washington DC, June 8-11, 2016

A Changing Climate: Some Implications for Wetlands Restoration, Keynote Speaker, Society of Wetland Scientists Annual Meeting, Plymouth MA, April 16, 2016

Innovations in Urban Adaptation, National Adaptation Forum, St Louis MO, May 12-14, 2015

Foundation Principals of Adaptation Planning, Local Solutions: The Northeast Climate Preparedness Conference, Manchester NH, May 19-21, 2014

Recent and current practical work within the environmental consulting field includes:

  • For the US Forest Service, conducting Phase I (ASTM) Environmental Site Assessments in the Green Mountain National Forest of Vermont.
  • For New York City’s Economic Development Corporation and the New York City Dept. of Sanitation, completing a feasibility study to establish a composting or anaerobic digestion facility for the food waste from the NYC’s Hunt’s Point Produce Market and the Fulton Fish Market.
  • For the City of Concord, NH, mapping and classifying (USFWS classification system) the wetlands so to inform their master planning process.
  • For the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, completion of an environmental, historical and natural resource assessment of a proposed composting facility at a former Nike Missile Launcher site in the Blue Hills Reservation.
  • For a private client, wetland jurisdictional delineation and associated wetland mitigation plan for a pond installation utilizing the hydrology of an on-site forested wetland.
  • For the German Ministry for Economic Development (GTZ), assessment of the economic impacts to both the waste management system and regional economy of recycling by urban and dump scavengers in Lima,Peru; Cairo Eygpt and Pune, India.

Professional Experience

I am presently principal of MHS and Associates LLC where I continue to do environmental consulting, both nationally and internationally. Presently, I am on the boards of both the New Hampshire Association of Natural Resource Scientists and the Corporate Wetlands Restoration Initiative. I am also currently the chair of the NH Wetland Scientists.

Watershed and Wetlands Professional Work include:

Ecological Assessment of Wetlands Mitigation Site For the Rindge, NH Conservation Commission collection of baseline wetlands, vegetation zonation, stream sediment transects and water quality parameters, as the result of the siting of proposed Home Depot superstore within the same micro-watershed.

Wetlands Mitigation and Restoration, For a private client in Marlow, NH, due to an order from state regulators to restore, providing a private client regulator interface, design, construction oversight, and post-construction monitoring at an ongoing commercial gravel extraction operation. Hydrologic Assessment and Jurisdictional Wetlands

Delineation, For a private client in Acworth, NH, establishment of surface and sub-surface monitoring points to ascertain wetlands hydrology for a shrub/emergent palustrian wetland in which the landowner wants to site a pond. Includes correlation of water levels amongst monitoring points as well as against precipitation events during the monitoring period. Analysis of historical precipitation data compared to the current year will be used to help determine probable pond level fluctuations over time. As part of this project, and in preparation for a permit application, a jurisdictional wetlands delineation using the US Army Corps methodology is being completed. Delineation.

The following projects are representative of jurisdictional delineations utilizing the 1987 Army Corps Methodology in combination with the New England Hydric Soil Manual Criteria and referencing the Fish and Wildlife Wetlands Plant Indicator list.

Wetlands Delineation and Field Mapping:

  • For Construction of Regional Landfill, For Upper Valley Regional Solid Waste District, Hartland, VT. Wetlands Delineation and Field Mapping for a Proposed Construction and Demolition Regional Landfill, Shaftsbury VT.
  • For Private Client Wetland Delineation for Parking Lot and Associated Drainage System Improvement: Grantham, NH.
  • For Grantham Elementary School. Delineation for Road and Pipeline Corridor: All wetlands delineated on a 500 care parcel so to determine access road and pipeline corridors for large-scale groundwater extraction project.
  • For Sunapee Springs Water Company, Sunapee, NH. Wetlands Delineation and Application for Stream Crossing: For Osgood Welding, Claremont, NH.

Assessment and Classification:

The following projects focused upon assessing wetlands for functional value and/or the classification of wetlands reflecting the US Fish and Wildlife classification systems (Cowardin, et. al).

  • Tidal Wetland Assessment Methodology: Developed for Normandeau Associates and utilized to determine comparative health of tidal and freshwater tidal wetland systems within the NH Coastal Zone;  For NH CZM Program, Subcontracted to Normandeau Associates, Bedford, NH.
  • Classification of a Community’s Wetland Systems:
    • For the Planning Dept., conducted a city-wide survey of all wetlands. With a combination of photo-interpretation and ground-truthing, classifying all wetlands down to class level, utilizing the US Fish and Wildlife classification system.
    • For Concord, NH Wetlands and Soils Assessment for Factory Expansion: Included determination of potential wetlands and analysis of soils for disturbance and indicators of hydric conditions.
    • For DoorCrafters, Inc., Ludlow, VT. ASTM Phase 1 Site assessment
    • For 39 acres of Wetland: For a parcel transferred From the Trust of Public Land to US Fish and Wildlife Service, Swanton, VT.
    • For Trust for Public Lands,Montpelier, VT Pond Site Assessment: Included delineation all wetlands on property and choosing a site that would location that could utilize site hydrology while minimizing impacts to existing wetlands. Private Client, Lyme, NH

Mitigation and Restoration.

The following projects reflect projects with significant efforts that focused upon mitigation or restoration of wetlands and associate upland buffers. Aspects of the projects often required jurisdictional delineations and/or functional assessments.

  • Wetland and Wetland Buffer Planting Plan: In conjunction with a major stream crossing and bank disturbance. Lamb property, Andover, NH.
  • Wetland Buffer Mitigation Design: Included a jurisdictional delineation in conjunction with pond establishment for Shepard Butler Landscape Architect project in Orford, NH
  • Creation and Implementation of a Restoration Plan: To address wetlands impacts resulting from logging and grubbing operation and included a vernal pool restoration. Private Client, Bath, NH
  • Wetlands Assessment and Mitigation Plan to Restore a Dredged and Filled Wetland: Private Client, Grantham, NH.
  • Stream Restoration: This project included the creation and submittal of all regulatory documentation and performance of site monitoring for 2 subsequent years. Private Client, Canaan, NH

Watershed Scale Analysis.

These projects reflect analysis of potential impact on water quality, run-off potential or groundwater impact due to changes in land use within micro-watersheds. Assessment of Causal Agents Contributing to Phosphorus Loading: in Jobs Creek Micro-watershed.

  • Antioch Project For Lake Sunapee Protective Association, Sunapee, NH Upper Montane Watershed Assessment: This project looked specifically at forestry, high elevation subsistence husbandry and agriculture and low-elevation banana plantation activities and their impact on water quality within the Los Novellos River watershed.
  • For EARTH University, Guacimo, Costa Rica. Seven Micro-Watershed Rapid Assessments: Conducted within the Lake Sunapee Watershed.
  • For the Lake Sunapee Protective Association Potential Contaminant Source Survey Associated With Establishment of Bedrock Wells: Include an ASTM Phase 1 assessment of 500-acre property as well as a watershed- scale survey of land use and potential contaminant sources. A land use management and education plan was also developed.
  • For Sunapee Springs Water Company, Georges Mills, NH. Wildlife Habitat Analysis and Vernal Pool Inventory, for the expansion of the Crotched Mountain Ski Resort , Francestown, NH: Along with Jeff Littleton, of Moosewood Ecological, this project also required meeting with federal, state and local regulatory agencies as well as providing information to local land trusts regarding protection of critical wildlife habitat and travel corridors. Client contact Covell & Associates, Lyndeborough, NH. Project Manager
  • President of Board, New Hampshire Association of Natural Resource Scientists
  • Chair of New Hampshire Wetlands Scientists Discipline
  • Board Member and Chair Technical Advisory Committee, NH Corporate Wetlands Restoration Partnership
  • Massachusetts DEP’s Technical Advisory Committee, Development of MSW Composting Regulations
  • New Hampshire Technical Advisory Committee, Land application of Septage
  • The Composting Council
  • The Agricultural Composting Association
  • New Hampshire Resource Recovery Association, Board Member and President
  • New Hampshire DES’s Technical Advisory Committee on Institution of ISO 14001 Standards
  • Agricultural Advisory Board, New Alchemy Institute
  • North American Recycling Coalition
  • Principles of Sustainable Systems
  • Political Economy & Sustainability
  • Materials Management & Waste Minimization
  • Watershed Science & Management
  • Wetlands Ecology
  • Climate Change: The Science
  • Climate Vulnerability
  • Climate Costs & Financing
  • Climate Communication
  • Environmental Dispute Resolution
  • Consulting Skills
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