Mark August on Your Calendar

Nov. 1, 2001
There’s something new on the horizon, and come next August, if you plan now, you can be right in the middle of it. StormCon, the North American Surface Water Quality Conference & Exposition, is the first comprehensive, nationwide event of its kind dedicated exclusively to stormwater and surface-water quality – the technologies, the regulations, and the funding issues. Even if stormwater management per se isn’t the main focus of your job, there are some compelling reasons to be there.How Phase II Is Changing the Municipal LandscapeThroughout the country, the impending NPDES Phase II stormwater rule has caused thousands of smaller communities to take a first hard look at surface-water quality. Where before they might have been concerned primarily with flood-control issues, now they are also dealing with water-quality issues to a greater extent than they did before. Emerging from a variety of municipal departments – engineering, public works, public utilities, environmental protection – and sometimes forced to quickly constitute themselves virtually out of thin air, a multitude of brand-new stormwater departments are struggling with the political issues of funding and jurisdiction at the same time as they’re getting up to speed on the technical issues. Personnel for these new entities – the GIS analysts, engineers, technicians, inspectors – have in a few cases been recruited from private companies, more commonly have been transferred from other municipal departments, or very often have been assigned stormwater and nonpoint-source tasks as collateral duties. The need for a high level of expertise is urgent, but funding in many cases lags behind. In order to meet permit deadlines and get their plans in place, some fledgling departments face the immense task of assembling comprehensive programs with some of the puzzle pieces – staff, expertise, data on the performance of best management practices – missing. Share What You KnowThis is where you come in. At StormCon, people who work in both new and well-established stormwater programs around the country will come together to share their hard-won knowledge: what works, what doesn’t, what’s still needed. ESC professionals have a vital, but often quite different, perspective on stormwater issues than some of those who are working exclusively in the stormwater arena. While many ESC professionals are, in fact, an integral part of the municipal stormwater structure, many others are accustomed to working on a project-by-project basis. Most cities, after all, have no Department of Erosion Control, but ESC practices permeate activities throughout the watersheds where those cities sit. Whatever your “ESC” job title or specialization, at StormCon you can share your expertise where it’s desperately needed and at the same time find out what resources the “stormwater camp” is seeking. What techniques and BMPs are various stormwater programs using to meet their goals? What do they still need to learn? Separating the two fields is, of course, an arbitrary distinction. Although some ESC professionals might consider stormwater to be just one component of their jobs, and vice versa, the two fields are inextricably linked, and the current regulatory environment ensures they will become even more so. If you’re involved in selecting, testing, and implementing erosion and sediment control BMPs; putting together stormwater pollution prevention plans; or, especially, finding ways to convince the public that these efforts are important, you should attend this conference. Consider giving a presentation. And come listen to the concerns of your stormwater counterparts – which are the same as yours, in slightly different guises. StormCon will take place August 12-15 at the Marco Island Marriott on Marco Island, FL. You can find more information – including the call for papers-on-line at See you there!