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Corie Ereth, Ulteig’s Resident Butterfly Expert and Beacon for Environmental Balance

woman smiling with a photo of a butterfly behind her. TEXT Employee Spotlight: Corie Ereth
May 16, 2024

Corie Ereth’s journey with the natural world started in the lush landscapes of South Central North Dakota, where her initial fascination with cows on her family’s ranch evolved into a deep passion for the intricacies of grasslands and their ecosystems. Today, as a vital member of Ulteig’s Environmental Team, Ereth brings a nuanced expertise and a commitment to sustainability that is vital to our projects, especially in areas rich in biodiversity like Western North Dakota.  

From Grasslands to Butterflies: A Path of Discovery 

Ereth’s academic and professional path reflects a profound connection with the environment. Her career took flight during an internship at a USDA research laboratory in Mandan, ND. Here, interactions with rangeland scientists sparked her interest in plant ecology, leading to a master’s degree centered on vegetation studies. Ereth’s transition to butterfly conservation was a natural extension of her expertise as the existence of the species is highly dependent on vegetation-specific, high-quality native rangeland. 

Corie received her permit from the US Fish and Wildlife Service in 2021, allowing her to complete presence/absence surveys for the Dakota skipper, a threatened species. With this permit, she is responsible for determining the presence/absence and distribution of the Dakota skipper and other butterflies during their flight on projects that may impact the species’ habitat. 

The Dakota Skipper: Indicator of Ecological Health 

Ereth’s work with the Dakota skipper is particularly illustrative of her impact. Once common across several states, this butterfly’s dramatic decline in places like Iowa and Minnesota signals broader environmental shifts. Ereth’s efforts in monitoring and conserving this species offer insights into ecosystem health and help guide sustainable practices in infrastructure engineering and construction.

Expertise and Impact at Ulteig 

Ereth joined Ulteig’s environmental team in 2023. With a background spanning over nine years in consulting and eight years in natural resource conservation, Ereth now serves as a client manager. Her role involves a dynamic mix of hands-on environmental assessment and strategic client management, ensuring that project planning respects and preserves ecological balance. Her skills in plant identification and ecological consulting are crucial when projects demand a deep understanding of the local biosphere. 

A Commitment to Sustainability and Team Collaboration 

Ereth emphasizes the importance of balancing construction needs and environmental preservation, a principle that underscores every project at Ulteig. “Finding that balance is the most rewarding,” she notes, highlighting the synergy between team expertise and project execution. This collaborative environment not only enhances project outcomes but also aligns with Ulteig’s overarching commitment to sustainability and minimal ecological impact. 

Centering Sustainability in Future-Focused Infrastructure Development 

Through continuous learning and fieldwork, Corie Ereth contributes to Ulteig’s projects with informed, science-based strategies. Her advice to aspiring environmental scientists is to embrace the complexity of ecosystems and the interdisciplinary nature of environmental work. 

Ereth’s approach to environmental stewardship—meticulous yet passionately engaged with living ecosystems—exemplifies Ulteig’s dedication to responsible and sustainable infrastructure engineering solutions. Her work not only protects delicate ecosystems like those of the Dakota skipper but also ensures that development projects can coexist harmoniously with nature, preserving our planet for future generations. 

Learn more about Ulteig’s environmental team and how we can support your next project.  

  • Environmental Planning & Services


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