I came to the International Erosion Control Association as a vendor 15 years ago to help sell a solution to an industry I didn’t know much about at the time. Here’s the beauty of the last 15 years of being in that same association: I received an education on the entire treatment train that should occur during construction and then into a maintenance program for that same site. From site visits, sediment barriers, slope interrupters, curb and grate protection, flocculants, sediment basins, skimmers, grate inserts, vaults, bioswales, vaults, and underground detention, just to name a few. This education made me a better stormwater professional, and I can now see the industry as a whole rather than just where I fit in.
One major benefit to being a member of this association is the networking and close colleagues I’ve gained from being involved. I’ve met engineers, contractors, installers, inspectors, vendors, maintenance providers, educators, and researchers all of whom have a role to play. These people have become friends and acquaintances I look forward to seeing at a conference or a board meeting; the networking opportunities through these relationships allow me to know who I can call on for a solution. I learn from my fellow members all the time: a new BMP to solve a problem for a client, a better understanding of a new regulation, or what the universities are studying to give the industry better standards of practice. The objective being we all have to be willing to learn.
This association also gave me so much more than what I’ve already listed. Mentors who have helped shape my career and push me outside my comfort zone. Leaders who saw leadership qualities in me and pushed me to strengthen them. Friendships that extend well past conferences and into life itself; I can call on any of those friends for anything and they’re always willing to lend a hand, an ear, or advise me on any situation. I am immensely grateful for it all.
IECA has given me more than just what the standard association gives which is why I give back so intensely and talk so highly of it. So as a stormwater professional I will continue to be a member of the International Erosion Control Association. I admire their mission to “advance the standards of practice and connect the erosion control and stormwater management community”. This year marks the 50th Anniversary of the IECA, the International Erosion Control Association, an organization I am not only a proud member of for 15 years but also involved in two boards and a newly forming committee. I’ve been asked recently why I as a stormwater professional would be so active in an organization meant for sediment and erosion control and I have many answers to this question:
Isn’t sediment and erosion control a construction best management practice in stormwater management? Without preconstruction erosion and sediment control practices post construction management would not exist. Without stormwater, why do you have erosion and sediment control issues?
Sediment and turbidity are always an issue post-construction because the number one contaminant in stormwater is sediment. While most the industry puts sediment and erosion control and stormwater management in two separate categories, I will stand firm in the belief you cannot have one without the other.
If we as professionals do not recognize that stormwater is the issue that causes sediment and erosion control concerns, then we are not seeing the entire stormwater system pre and post-construction in a holistic point of view.