Aug. 19, 2015

Texas-Size (and Style) Event at Environmental Connection 2016

IECA wants to encourage its valued members and any other industry professionals looking to attend the world’s largest soil and water event to start planning for Environmental Connection 2016, which will be held February 16–19, 2016, in San Antonio, Texas.

Ample Education Sessions
Learn from a vast round-up of innovative technical sessions, including these hot topics:

  • Accounting for Pollutant Sources in Watersheds/Where Are They Coming From?
  • Green Infrastructure Practices
  • Rainwater Harvesting for Flood Control and Water Table Replenishment
  • EPA Waters of the US Rule Making
  • Stormwater Compliance and Meeting Project Budgets
  • Innovative Training Approaches/State and Local
  • Certification Programs—Are They Effective?
  • The Challenges and Strategies for Transportation Agency MS4s
  • MS4 Compliance Strategies for Municipal
  • Good Housekeeping
  • Meeting MS4 Permit Requirements With Limited Resources
  • Use of Drones for Inspections/Surveys and Associated Legal Issues
  • Successful Implementation of Systems for Electronically Tracking Environmental Commitment
Socializing, Networking, and More We know connecting with friends and business contacts is a highlight of every conference, so there will be plenty of opportunities to mix and mingle with the industry’s finest erosion and sediment control and stormwater crowd. You won’t want to miss the Expo Hall Opening Reception where you can meet the industry’s best manufacturers, distributers, and consultants while getting hands-on experience with the latest equipment and more.

The Closing Bash has always been an attendee favorite. In 2016, you will be blown away by the party we have planned to close out another successful conference. You won’t want to miss our Texas-style send off!

The Alamo

Visitor Attractions
We all know San Antonio as the home of the River Walk, the infamous Alamo, and the Spurs, but we bet you didn’t know these neat things about the seventh largest city in the US. This brightly cultured city has a ton to offer visitors.

  • Remember the Alamo! You won’t want to miss your free Alamo tour on your visit. Nearly 2.5 million people visit each year. This 4.2-acre historic complex is sure to impress and help paint a picture of the courage and sacrifice its defenders had over a century ago. Information provided by
  • River Walking: Also known as Paseo del Río, this River Walk is a network of walkways along the banks of the San Antonio River. It’s one story beneath the streets of the downtown area. It is lined by bars, shops, and restaurants. For more information, visit
  • A Pearl in its Own Right: Find a true cultural and culinary neighborhood in San Antonio’s Pearl area. The Pearl’s past footprint hails from Pearl Brewing Company, which was established in 1883. But in 1985, Pearl’s parent company purchased the Pabst Brewing Company, and then it later was placed under the Miller Brewing umbrella. Today, visit The Pearl located along the Museum Reach, and you can use it as a great jumping-off point for seeing the public art along River Walk, jogging, or exploring the many museums and parks along the river. Information provided by
Menger Hotel

Register for Environmental Connection 2016
For registration information and pricing, visit
Environmental Connection will be located at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio, Texas: 200 East Market St., San Antonio, TX 78205.

Book Your Hotel and Travel
IECA has arranged for special pricing at our four host hotels. The special pricing is valid until January 25, 2016. You may cancel your reservation until January 5, 2016, without penalty. After January 5, 2016, a $50 charge will apply. After January 25, 2016, you must cancel within 72 hours of your check-in date to avoid a one-night cancellation charge.

Visit for further details and hotel options.

Conference Blog
Don’t miss a beat! Check out our weekly Conference Blog so you can learn all about San Antonio and this year’s conference features and highlights!

Visit to read our latest blog post about San Antonio attractions!

A huge thank you to our conference sponsors!

It’s not too late to be a 2016 sponsor! Contact Nikki Strong for more information: [email protected].

IECA Searching for New Executive Director

IECA Region One has begun a search for a new Executive Director to lead IECA through the implementation of our organization’s new Strategic Plan. The Strategic Plan focuses on key areas such as membership growth and benefits, delving more deeply into new educational opportunities, and forging new and expanded organizational partnerships.

IECA is deeply grateful to Russ Adsit, who has led IECA since 2007. Russ was instrumental in moving the IECA office from Steamboat Springs to Denver, making us more accessible to members. He was a key asset to IECA as we implemented the regionalization plan that resulted in Regions One and Two, as well as the development of the International Regional Council. During his tenure, he assisted in modifying the annual conference model to better meet our members needs, and developed online training and national CEU accreditation.

IECA thanks Mr. Russ Adsit for sharing his leadership ability with us.

Upcoming Events

AugustAug. 19: Webinar— Are You Prepared for Sea Level Rise? Shoreline Protection: The First Line of Defense

Aug. 27: Bella Vista, Arkansas Roadshow—
A Stormwater Workshop

Sept. 2: Webinar—Biotic Soil Media—Engineering Soils for Sustainable Vegetation—Sponsored by Profile Products (free for members)
Sept. 18: Last day for Board of Directors Nominations

Early Oct.: Environmental Connection 2016 Registration Opens—Register early for discounted pricing!
Oct. 7: WebinarHow to Make Your Hydraulic Mulch Work Harder for You—Sponsored by Tensar (free for members)
Oct. 21: Webinar—It’s a Bird, it’s a Plane, it’s a Drone: The Future of Erosion and Sediment Control Site Inspections

Nov. 2: Webinar—IECA Vendor Webinar Sponsored by GeoHay (free for members)

IECA Members Get Free PDHs for Reading and Taking
Environmental Connection Magazine Quizzes

How to Earn Extra Credit PDHs
IECA is now offering extra PDH credits for members that complete a Magazine Content Quiz. With each Environmental Connection magazine issue, members can go to and complete a content quiz and earn their credit. This means you have four extra credit PDHs to earn in any given year.

What Does This Mean for IECA Members?

  • Free PDHs with membership (four per year)—making your membership more valuable. Keep in mind this is in addition to the PDH credits you receive at no additional cost for vendor webinars (we have a total of six this year). That’s 10 PDHs in 2014 just for being an IECA member!
  • You are getting a PDH for something you were already doing—reading the magazine.

How Does It Work?

  • Members can earn only one PDH per issue and they must receive a minimum score of 70% to pass, but they can retake the quiz as needed. For more information about how to earn your extra credits, visit
  • Non-members: If you’d like to take advantage of this opportunity and would like to join a community of 2,500 erosion and sediment control professionals, visit to learn more and/or join.
Earth Mulch, a hydraulic erosion control product
designed for poor quality soils. It contains 25% compost.

New Cornerstone Member: Phoenix Paper Products

IECA is proud to announce its newest Cornerstone Member, Phoenix Paper Products. This Lostant, Illinois-based company manufactures a complete line of erosion control products, specialty horticultural products, industrial absorbents, and animal bedding products from waste paper, natural fibers, and additives. They convert waste materials and renewable resources into value-added products for a wide range of industries. Their specialty is customizing and tailoring their products to the specific needs of their customers, which can change dramatically from job site to job site and project to project. Their bonded fiber matrix products for the tropics are substantively different than those that are used in Montana or Pennsylvania.

The Early Years
Phoenix Paper Products started nearly 25 years ago as an idea to divert waste materials from the landfills and close the recycling loop. The founders of the company developed a business plan, pitched their idea to the Illinois Department of Economic Opportunity and some local banks, and came up with the funding to start a small business in the middle of a corn field. In 1993, they were the recipient of a Waste Technology Demonstration Grant from the Illinois Bureau of Energy and Recycling, and that provided the spark they needed to begin their journey.

EZ Spray product, a patented blend of corn fiber and post consumer newsprint, being used in southern California

Building a National Manufacturing Company
After spending several years developing paper based alternatives for peat moss, they incorporated in December 1993. For the first two to three years, they spent most of their time and money building and modifying their manufacturing facility and performing university and commercial trials on peat moss replacement products. As with most small startup companies, they were underfunded and lucky that they survived the first couple years. They knew that they had to diversify their product offering an expansion into new markets. During the company’s first 10 years, they applied for and received four different grants based upon utilization of waste materials and new job creation in economically depressed areas. These grants were funded by tipping fees assessed to every load of waste dumped in an Illinois landfill.

“We had a saying when we started our business many years ago,” says Sam Morris, president of Phoenix Paper Products. “We are too stupid to know what we cannot do!” While they were struggling to survive, they created new ways to use their equipment and use out-of-the-box thinking methods to ­generate needed revenue.

“We offered our pelleting expertise to people that were ­looking to densify Styrofoam, dewater paper mill sludge, granulate bat guano, and even extrude chicken litter pellets for soil conditioners,” says Morris.

“All of these projects added to our depth of knowledge when it came to processing fibers and manufacturing technologies. Our biggest breakthrough came through our development of industrial absorbents that could be incinerated with very little ash content. This product category generated the revenue necessary to support our research efforts in erosion control and vegetation products that led to our dramatic growth in the late ’90s and ’00s. Our product diversification was the only thing that helped us survive the economic collapse of 2008. We lost over 30% of our sales between 2008 and 2009, but we added new products and increased our productivity to make up the difference.”

EZ Mulch Plus with plantago is a pellet mulch product that can be used to hold a short slope for short-term revegetation projects

A Passion for the Industry
“I grew up, and still live, in a very rural farming community in central Illinois,” says Morris. “Soil conservation and improved productivity have always been a part of my life. Our brand is Green Choice and we have built our business upon utilizing waste products and renewable materials for everything we do. “What ‘greener’ industry is there than the erosion control industry?” he asks. “This industry is a perfect fit with our company’s mission, and we are proud to be involved with the IECA, ASTM, and other organizations that share our core beliefs.”

Company’s Mission
Phoenix Paper Products has built a reputation for quality products, customized solutions, and personal service. They value the relationships that they build with their distributors and work hard to provide them with the tools they need to be successful in a very competitive marketplace. They are a small, family-owned company that focuses on service. “We have never aspired to be the biggest hydraulic and granular erosion control supplier in the industry, just the best,” says Morris.

Their size makes them nimble and able to react quickly to customers’ needs. “At our heart, we are a product development company,” says Morris. “It is easy for us to modify our manufacturing process and products for specific projects.”

EZ Mulch Plus application
after grow out

Goals and Future Endeavors
Phoenix Paper Products’ goal is to continue to offer innovative erosion control solutions for their customers’ ever-changing needs. They are committed to helping our industry develop and implement performance-based

“Our industry has seen a lot of innovation and technological advances over the past 15+ years, but the development of standards, test methods, and even terminology has not kept up with those innovations and as a result, regulatory bodies have had to improvise. This led to test methods, performance results, and specifications that have become confusing, muddled, and in some cases contradictory. We need to be part of the solution,” says Morris.

This grounded company has some new and exciting technology in development. “We expect to have a larger footprint, both domestically and internationally, within five years. The last 22+ years have been a lot of fun and we look forward to the next 22,” finishes Morris.

Free Webinars for Our Members

Did you know that IECA members get up to eight free webinars a year? All Professional Plus members receive six complimentary vendor webinars PLUS two IECA Webinars. Professional members receive six complimentary vendor webinars and a discount of $15 on all IECA webinars.

What Are IECA Webinars?
Webinars are an effective way to educate your staff while further reducing the cost of training by eliminating instructor travel expenses. Often, the lead time for arranging this type of training is shorter than a traditional course. All IECA webinars are peer-reviewed to be sure you’re getting the best education around. To learn more or to register for an upcoming webinar, visit

Upcoming Webinars
Are You Prepared for Sea Level Rise? Shoreline Protection: The First Line of Defense
Instructor: Craig S. Benson
Date: August 19, 12:00 p.m. Central Time
PDH: One certificate is issued (to the registered participant), per paid registration.
Pricing: $50 for members/$65 for non-members
Learning Objectives:

  • Participants will learn about the theory and fundamentals of climate change and sea level rise
  • Participants will be able to describe the basic process of sea level rise adaption planning
  • Participants will be able to list several strategies for enhancing local resilience to sea level rise

This will be a case study describing local sea level rise prediction and adaptive planning in Humboldt Bay in northern California. Sea level rise, along with ocean acidification and seismic hazards, especially tsunamis, is already impacting communities, agriculture, and industries around the Humboldt Bay, and climate change adaption is no longer theoretical. Learn about how the first lines of defense, featuring natural area buffers and shoreline protection, are being implemented.

Biotic Soil Media—Engineering Soils for Sustainable Vegetation—Sponsored by Profile Products
Instructor: Marc S. Theisen, M.S., CPESC, CPSWQ, CESSW
Date: September 2, 12:00 p.m. Central Time
PDH: One certificate is issued (to the registered participant), per paid registration.
Pricing: Free for members/$15 for non-members
Learning Objectives:
On challenging and hard-to-access sites, engineered soils are proving to be a cost-effective topsoil alternative. By testing existing soil and selecting the right growing media, it is possible to increase the biological activity and add necessary organic materials for biotic components to thrive in. Creating and developing these micro ecosystems is now feasible where topsoil, compost, and other sources of organic matter were formerly the standards.

How to Make your Hydraulic Mulch Work Harder for You—Sponsored by Tensar
Instructor: Jill Pack, CPESC
Date: October 7, 12:00 p.m. Central Time
PDH: One certificate is issued (to the registered participant), per paid registration.
Pricing: Free for members/$15 for non-members
Learning Objectives:

  • Understand the basic components of hydraulic mulch products and how these components can work together to build effective hydraulic erosion control products (HECPs)
  • How to properly mix and apply hydraulic erosion control products to increase the efficiency of your projects
  • Understand when and how to select hydraulic erosion control products for different applications based on the physical and the performance properties of HECPs

Join us to learn how to properly apply your hydraulic mulch products to achieve the most effective erosion control. We will discuss how to analyze the basic components of hydraulic mulch to ensure that you get the most from your HECP applications. Discover what physical and performance properties to look for when selecting products for different erosion applications. We know you work hard, so make sure your hydraulic mulch works harder for you.

“It’s a Bird, it’s a Plane, it’s a Drone!”: The Future of Erosion and Sediment Control Site Inspections
Instructor: Michael (Mike) Perez, EI
Date: October 21, 12:00 p.m. Central Time
PDH: One certificate is issued (to the registered participant), per paid registration.
Pricing: $50 for members/$65 for non-members
Learning Objectives:

  • Gain insight on the role unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) have in assisting in various inspection applications.
  • Learn about preliminary findings in UAV erosion and sediment control inspections and field assessments.
  • Attain an understanding of current regulations on the use of UAVs for commercial applications.
  • Exposure to current UAV research being performed by Auburn University.

This webinar will showcase current ongoing research focused on using UAVs for conducting site inspections. The study, being conducted by Auburn University researchers, focuses on erosion and sediment control applications in construction. Participants will be exposed to UAV technologies to develop project progression documentation, photogrammetric site visualization, highly detailed digital elevation models, and assessment of vegetation and crop health. Developed inspection methods, case study site assessments, and preliminary research findings and results will be discussed. The webinar will cover topics geared toward conducting inspections for construction, infrastructure, environmental, and agricultural applications.


IECA’s Annual Photo Contest Begins October 1

IECA’s Annual Photo Contest is an opportunity to gain visibility and share your accomplishments with the erosion and sediment control community. Entries will be displayed on our website and enlarged to be showcased at Environmental Connection, IECA’s annual conference and expo.

The contest is FREE—so send in your photos!

Preliminary voting will take place on IECA’s Facebook page by liking or commenting on your favorite images.

Final voting of the top six in each category will take place at Environmental Connection 2016 in San Antonio, Texas. Ribbons will be awarded to the first, second, and third place winners of each categories. The photo with the most votes in each category (first place) will receive $50 in cash. The winner must be present to obtain the prize. If the first place winner is not present at the time of the award (announced in the Environmental Connection 2016 conference program), the prize will be given to the second place winner if present. If the second place winner is not present, the third place winner may obtain the prize if present. If they are not present, the cash will be donated to IECA’s foundation, the SOIL Fund.

Rules and Guidelines

  1. Entries are due on or before December 31, 2015.
  2. Photo resolution must be 300 dpi or higher. The higher the resolution, the better your image will appear.
  3. Photos will be accepted only in .jpg, .tif, .gif, or bitmap formats.
  4. You must include a brief description for each submittal. See the entry form for details.
  5. Entries will be screened for eligibility. IECA has the right of refusal for any or no cause.
  6. Photos may be submitted for entry to the Annual Photo Content only once. Re-entries will be discarded.
  7. Individual image files may not exceed 10 MB in size.
  8. Photos must be submitted electronically to

Note: We are looking for high-quality photos. This means your photo(s) should be sharp and well-focused with proper lighting. Photos that are out of focus, too dark, too light, grainy, or otherwise unclear will not be competitive.

The 2015 Photo Contest is Sponsored By
IECA Is Proud of Its Members

In the July issue of Storm Water Solutions, you may have seen some familiar names and faces as the magazine featured the industry’s “Movers & Shakers” and “Rising Stars.” IECA is proud that 12 of its members were featured!

Movers & Shakers
Congratulations to some of our exceptional members who made the list. Of the 20 listed, eight are IECA members. We’re honored to call them members and thank them for being some of the best: Barry Fagan, JP Johns, Diane Hitt, Jonathan Koepke, Lanae Raymond, Gustavo Osvaldo Salerno, Mark Theisen, and Steve Trinkaus.

Rising Stars
We would like to recognize and congratulate some of our outstanding members who made the list of next generation industry leaders. Of the 14 listed, four are IECA members. Congratulations to Carrie Powers,
Adam Dibble, Jason Dorney, and Brad Flack.

You may visit to view the entire list.