Joe Arrowsmith, PE

Director, Ecosystem Restoration


Joe Arrowsmith, PE is Deputy Director of the Water Resources Engineering department, responsible for oversight of the ecological restoration team. Mr. Arrowsmith is passionate about the protection, enhancement, and restoration of natural resources. His experience includes the design and construction of stream restoration, wetland restoration, and living shorelines. He holds special expertise with the implementation of restoration projects as part of approved TMDL Action Plans for MS4 Compliance. He is a “beaver-believer” and advocates for restoration approaches based on natural systems and methods. Joe specializes in:

  • Ecosystem restoration
  • Stream restoration
  • Outfall stabilization
  • Wetland restoration
  • Living shorelines
  • Step-pool stormwater conveyance (SPSC/RSC)
  • MS4/TMDL compliance
  • Hydraulic modeling

“I am emboldened that not only are our natural resources worth saving, but our research, tools, and motivation to improve them grows stronger every day. Straughan gives my team the support to do the right thing at each site. We use the latest research and technology, and collaborate with the top experts in our field, with the shared pursuit of making a measurable positive impact with our work.”

Tell us about your most exciting or rewarding project at Straughan.

Our Branch Avenue Stream Restoration in Washington, DC was a particularly challenging and rewarding project. This small site was identified by the District as a deeply incised drainageway to Oxon Run, hidden inside an isolated island of forest surrounded by roads and sewer infrastructure. We accepted the challenge to harness this water resource to establish stable shallow aquatic habitat and create wetlands, without compromising the existing forest canopy. We also addressed existing and future sources of erosion to prevent the discharge of sediment and nutrients downstream. The project included outreach and engagement with a variety of stakeholders and challenging permitting on a short timeline. I am very pleased that we were able to deliver on our promise to the District with a project that now delivers tangible improvements to habitat.

What do you like about working at Straughan?

I have always felt that Straughan trusts me and values the work that I do. They have always put me in a position to be successful and surrounded me with the best possible team and pool of resources.

What does sustainability mean to you?

A lot of people like to put sustainability into the context of our future, but to me, sustainability is about RIGHT NOW. It’s about applying a critical eye to everything we do in the present to identify opportunities to make things better for ourselves and our world.