The Ground Beneath Our Feet

Ec Editor Blog

I grew up on an island off the west coast of Canada, three blocks from the beach, nestled among the evergreen-covered sand dunes. Thousands of years ago, the ocean and the wind built the huge sand dunes and, as the ocean receded, a temperate rainforest took over. All around us, walking trails wound through the trees, up and over the dunes, and down to the shoreline. My mom was always irate at the mountain bikers who liked to abandon the trails in favor of going up and over the dunes. She pointed out how their tires shredded the undergrowth, shrank the trail by dragging sand and soil onto the path, and eroded the ancient dunes.  

Once we reached the beach, we would admire the large windows and sunny patios of the beachfront properties, almost always bounded in by retaining walls to protect the soil under the decks and lawns from being washed away by the eroding force of winter storms. Huge boulders and cement shapes that looked like 3D asterisks fascinated me. What might be hiding in those crevices? 

We didn’t have to look far to see the consequences of a lack of protection, however. On a sandy cliff above one of our favorite beaches, a portion of ragged wire-and-wood fence sagged precariously over the edge. My mom told me she knew the family that owned that property. They lost several inches of land to the wind and the sea every year. I can recall the anxiety I felt as a child at the idea that the earth around me was slowly being washed away—how long until my island was gone completely? 

I mention all of this just to say I was familiar with the importance of stabilizing soil before I began working on Erosion Control magazine. Since those childhood days walking on the beach, I have learned how important the work of controlling erosion truly is, not just in stabilizing shorelines, but in preventing deadly mudslides, keeping sediment from water bodies, and managing vegetation growth. Now, as the new editor of Erosion Control, I look forward to continuing to share and highlight the why and the how of controlling sediment and erosion. 

Controlling and reducing erosion and sedimentation is about much more than just protecting the beautiful beaches of my childhood. It’s about protecting human life and property after a devastating fire and in coastal communities, keeping sediment and pollutants out of our water systems, and controlling vegetation. Erosion Control magazine has always promoted the value of this work, and it will continue to do so. What do you see as the most important part of this industry? Send your comments to 

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