As one of the leading stream restoration contractors in the United States, we are constantly evaluating our quality of work and pushing ourselves to become better with each project we complete. We want and expect our competitors to excel as well. EQR is a for profit company, however, we do this work because of our passion for the natural world and want to support it with our blood sweat and tears.
Recently, while on a tour of one of a competitor’s projects, a question was asked by their client. “How do you feel about seeing your competitor’s project?”, our reply, “I am happy to see successful projects, I want them to be successful also, as any failures affect us all negatively and I don’t want that.” We need to be supportive of each other and learn from each other. It is not only about making money, but also it is about leaving the world better for the next generation. We are doing some valuable work, regarding arguably earth’s most valuable resource, water.
As a growing industry, there is always more to learn. With that in mind, we often take stream designers out to look at our work to teach them cost-saving techniques for their designs. This not only benefits the designers because they have a better understanding of the time and materials that are needed for a stream design, but it will benefit their clients and their contractors as well. More and more engineering firms are being asked to design streams. Studies have shown stream restoration to be an effective best management practice for removing nitrogen, phosphorous and sediment (TMDL’s, Total Maximum Daily Loads) from our waterways. We believe the best projects are a teaming effort between design and construction both putting the clients best interest forefront.
Two recent examples:
Ruppert’s Ravine, a storm water management retrofit project has a drainage area of 121.4 acres was completed in 2013. Recently, EQR took a Baltimore based engineering firm out to this site to address the design parameters which cut costs and drove cost up. A few things we shared about this project are: 1. the type of stone on the plans should be readily available and locally sourced. 2. the soil must be suitable for grass seed to germinate and then stabilize the slope. The better the designer understand those factors the better they can communicate with their client. Also, the contractor should understand the design intent as well for the project to be successful for the environment and the client.
A project in Montgomery County, MD funded to protect a utility asset is a notable example of how the contractors input can influence the outcome and overall success of a project. A storm water outfall had severely cut away an embankment exposing and destroying pipes carrying sediment to the stream below. The initial design could not be constructed as designed, so EQR’s project manager, who happens to have a background in design, designed a solution which could be built and functional. It was approved, stamped by the engineer and then installed.
By no means do we have all the answers, nor does anyone. However, if the stream design and construction community can communicate well, the projects and the clients will all benefit. Sharing ideas, concepts and suggestions with each other is a great start. Bright folks in our industry should implement the best philosophies, monitor the results, then share those experiences.
The world has water issues, let’s work together to solve them!