STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, Colo.—The International Erosion Control Association (IECA) recently issued position statements regarding stormwater management and the distinction between natural and human-accelerated erosion. IECA’s official policy on stormwater management "recognizes the importance of protecting watersheds as the basis of action for natural resources and water quality management, and promotes development of comprehensive watershed plans that encompass environmental, economic, and social issues." The group said it supports its members, working together with conservation districts, in taking the lead in facilitating comprehensive plans.

Additionally, the IECA supports its members working with local, county, and state governments to make stormwater and watershed management an integral part of erosion and sediment control programs. "Conservation districts are encouraged to develop the capability or to assist other agencies to provide the technical assistance and training of CPESCs, CPSWQs, and P.E.s needed to implement local stormwater management programs," the IECA said.

In a separate position statement, the IECA distinguished between major causes of erosion. "Human-accelerated erosion," the association said, "is defined as any erosion increase over historical levels from an area following any human activity or event measurable by: increased sediment load in runoff, down-gradient wind or water cutting or deposition, reduced air quality or visibility due to wind erosion, rill or gully erosion due to water flow, or any other means of measurement." In contrast, the IECA defines natural erosion as "any wind or water erosion caused by natural or non-human controlled events or activities."

In making the distinction between erosion causes, the IECA said that it does not advocate changing or influencing natural erosion of the scale that created natural wonders such as the Grand Canyon. However, the group stated that it does advocate erosion and sediment controls to protect developed land—"such as homes, parks, or businesses constructed along shorelines, stream banks, or on hillsides"—from natural as well as human-accelerated erosion.