Desert Ecosystems
Analysis & Restoration

Our Mission:

D.E.A.R.'s mission is to improve the environmental integrity of high desert ecosystems, in collaboration with public and private agencies, through restoration, education, and research.

Bighorn crop

How it all got started

Princess Plume in Devils Canyon

ERIC RECHEL is the founder of Desert Ecosystems Analysis and Restoration. Eric was raised in Wheatridge, Colorado, a city on the west side of Denver. One of the most character-building aspects of his childhood was playing in and exploring a small creek running 100 yards from his home, called Clear Creek.

Eric spent 4 or 5 summers down at the creek when he was in elementary school. He was fascinated by the natural elements of plants and water. Continuing his quest for nature he went to Fort Lewis College and got a Bachelor of Science degree in Natural History.

After Fort Lewis Eric went on to Utah State University in Logan, Utah attaining both a Masters Degree in Science and a PhD in Plant Anatomy.

After working for the USDA Agricultural Research Service, part of the USDA, for 10 years in California, friends urged him to move to Grand Junction. In the fall of 1992, he took the position of Adjunct Professor in the Biology Department at Colorado Mesa University, where a friend also worked. 

Eric taught in the Biology laboratory and lectured classes as well as working on several research projects. His current research involves the local Prairie dogs and relocating the Colorado Hookless cactus and alfalfa growth.

I was born one morning when the sun didn't shine. I picked up my shovel and walked to the mine. I loaded 16 tons of number 9 coal and the straw boss said well bless my soul.
                 –  Sixteen Tons, song by Tennessee Ernie Ford

What started a personal aptitude and love for research and projects involving science, biology, environment, led to a desire to expand his involvement further.

Eric formed Desert Ecosystems Analysis and Restorations using his background knowledge and experiences. He saw that there were community groups that had projects involving plants, animals, water and environmental issues. They could not always get them done with limited funds. He liked the idea of combining education and grants for that purpose.

You can reach Eric at or