Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Erosion/Filtration System Perfect For Sensitive Watersheds, Builds Pollinator Habitat

Sometimes the best partnerships come from a serendipitous encounter.
In March, I attended a PATU executive committee meeting.  No expectations on my part. I just planned to give my Youth Ed. report and hear what the committee was doing.
A man named Joe Greco was there to give a National Leadership Council report regarding Trout Unlimited’s Great Lakes Working Group. He also brought along information on his company’s nationally-certified USDA Biopreferred product trade named Phalanx Bio Switch® Erosion/Filtration Medium.
This product is 100 percent hydrocarbon free, non-toxic and filled with specially manicured switchgrass supercharged with seed used to help build pollinator habitat. 
Phalanx Bio Switch® is designated as a highly qualified-exceptionally valued Department of Environmental Protection Statewide Approved Alternative Best Management Practice authorized to be placed in sensitive watersheds.
The product doesn’t require trenching, is lightweight, has a wide ground contact surface and does not need to be removed because it decomposes naturally.
I sat up and paid attention. At the end of the meeting I got some more information and went home.
A few weeks later, I was having a breakfast meeting to talk about a pollinator plot on College Township property that Spring Creek TU is working on with the help of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 
During the meeting, I brought out the brochure from Greco’s company BEG Group, LLC, which describes, in detail, the advantages of their switch family of products.
The pollinator plot we are working is on a hillside and the worry was keeping the seed from washing down before it can take hold. Light bulbs came on and yes, you guessed it, I sent out an email to Greco, who is the President of BEG Group, LLC.
“Dear Joe,” I said, “Our chapter is planting a pollinator plot on the Gordon D. Kissinger Meadow in State College, and we think your switchgrass filled silt sock would be perfect.” (Did I mention the switchgrass can be infused with pollinator seeds?)
We scheduled a site visit and Joe drove to State College from Ohio and brought along Austin Kirk, owner of AK Environmental Consulting, to walk the property. Austin had a mobile application that could measure the meadow and determine the slope, etc.
The three-acre plot has varied steepness. Austin also supplies a variety of seed mixes for these types of projects.
Long story short, Joe and Austin showed up on May 30 with six pallets of Bio Switch® erosion/filtration sock to guard the project’s lower perimeter, one pallet of unvegetated Phalanx Bio Switch® sock to be used in the most sensitive area of the project and one pallet of 4-inch Phalanx Bio Switch® sock supercharged with pollinator mix. 
Austin’s company designed the pollinator seed mix inside the Phalanx Bio Switch®.
BEG Group, LLC, AK Environmental Consulting and ETube, BEG Group’s sock supplier, sponsored the product for the G.D.K. Meadow Pollinator Habitat Project and Kirk supervised the placement and installation of the erosion/filtration sock. The installation was a breeze.
Why should we care about pollinators?
Pollinators provide pollination services for wild plants and many of our crop species – one in three bites of food is due to cross-pollination by pollinators.
Pollination is important for maintaining genetic diversity in plants and ensuring adequate fruit and seed production for crops, wildflowers, shrubs and trees. Our forests, prairies, meadows and gardens would look much different without the help of our pollinators. 
The intricacies of pollinator-environment interactions mean that we must take a broad approach to conserve pollinators.
The above project is one modest campaign to weigh in on this very important topic.
For information on professional consultation and supplies aimed at building your own chapter’s pollinator habitat project please feel free to reach out to BEG Group, LLC through its website contact page.
Visit the Spring Creek Chapter Trout Unlimited website for information on their initiatives and upcoming events in Centre County.
For more information on programs, initiatives, upcoming events and how you can get involved is available at the PA Council of Trout Unlimited website.
(Reprinted from the PA Council of Trout Unlimited Summer 2019 PA Trout newsletter.  Click Here to sign up for your own copy.)

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