Erosion Control for Construction Sites - Education Program
St. Joseph Co.,
St. Joseph County Conservation District
Basin Program Funds:
The cumulative effect of sediment from construction sites is polluting our lakes, streams and wetlands. Much of this sediment makes its way into the St. Joseph River and eventually into Lake Michigan. There is a lack of organized training for builders and other associated contractors in the controlling of erosion and sediment. Many builders do not know how to put together a site plan to include an erosion control component. They donít know what Best Management Practices (BMPís) are, much less how or when to properly use them.
The St. Joseph County Conservation District has recently taken over the Soil Erosion and Sedimentation Control Program for St. Joseph County, Michigan. Currently, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality trains Erosion Control Officers in enforcement and best management practices (BMP) use but there is no local training for contractors in how to minimize erosion. This has lead to widespread confusion, high numbers of violations, and abundant sedimentation in our lakes and streams.
The St. Joseph County Conservation District has developed an educational program aimed at contractors and homebuilders who work near lakes and streams. This program is PowerPoint based so that it is portable and can be easily duplicated. It will use real world examples.
The program will be presented at two one-day workshops during the first year and additional workshops on an annual basis. Additional workshops for local officials will be added as needed. The workshops will be held in November and December of 2003 due to the usual slowdown in building during that time of year.
The workshop format will consist of PowerPoint presentations, featured speakers, a luncheon and hands-on examples of erosion control products. There will be an evaluation after each workshop in order to collect information to help improve future workshops.
Invitations to the workshops will be extended to all building contractors we have worked with (currently 161) and any other builders that may work in this area and also local officials. We will also target the area Lake Associations, the conservation clubs and watershed groups such as Friends of the St. Joseph River. The general public will also be invited through our newsletter, press releases and paid advertisements.
Two contractor training sessions were held in, one in Three Rivers on February 18, 2004 and one in Sturgis on February 25, 2004. These were free informational sessions with contrators, builders, excavators, and government building officials to discuss soil erosion regulations and problems in St. Joseph County. . Presentations were on project design, permit applications, what to expect from inspections, why to use BMPs, and practices to use to prevent erosion and to control sediment. Janelle Holm from Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) presented a program along with our local soil erosion presentation in the first meeting. There was a question-and-answer session and a survey was completed by most participants. At the second training session, DEQ staff made a presentation as part of the local program. A survey was also completed by participants.
Contact: Mr. Jon Eggen, (269) 467-6336 ext. 5