Friday, March 14, 2014

What you Missed at MECA

Don Shelby speaking on climate change implications for erosion prevention in Minnesota

March 5-6, 2014 marked the annual Minnesota Erosion Control Association (MECA) conference. The conference was held in Plymouth, MN this year and was attended by two District staff members. MECA is an organization comprised of people involved in various construction and stormwater industries: state regulators, local government units, contractors, engineers, and more. Since its creation 25 years ago, MECA has worked to communicate the importance of erosion prevention and sediment control practices. The organization assists in educating members and citizens about innovative construction techniques and materials. The overall goal of these activities is to prevent pollution and protect water resources throughout the state of Minnesota.

The MECA conference is an exciting annual event in which the organization updates attendees on the year’s projects including workshops, tours, demonstrations, trainings, and publications. MECA has a member-elected Board of Managers and represents various industries in the erosion/sediment field. MECA also uses its annual conference to host a trade show in order for members to learn about new and innovative methods/technologies concerning slope stabilization, vegetation reinforcement, and inlet protection (to name a few). The trade show is also an opportunity for local landscaping and restoration providers to advertise their services.

Investigative journalist, author, and former WCCO news anchor Don Shelby was this year’s keynote speaker at the MECA conference. He provided thoughtful remarks and opinions regarding climate change and the importance of erosion prevention in preserving the nation’s topsoil and preventing pollution. It is the opinion of this author (if I may) that Mr. Shelby is an incredible public speaker and accomplished the near-impossible task of keeping a large room of people awake and engaged at 8:00 in the morning!

This year’s presenters spoke on a variety of interesting topics including: streambank restoration, construction oversight programs, large-scale BMP maintenance, slope stabilization, dewatering challenges, land use ordinances, and compliance/enforcement. RWMWD’s very own Paige Ahlborg gave a presentation on the District’s BMP maintenance pilot program. Check the Ripple Effect’s previous publications from 2013 to gain some more insight on this innovative program looking at the annual cost of BMP maintenance! (The True Costs of Maintenance, and Pilot Program Recap: Year 1)

District staff enjoyed attending this year’s MECA conference and will be able to use the information they've learned to apply to the District’s construction permit program and future restoration projects. Visit to learn more about MECA’s history, ongoing activities, and resources available.


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