Geosynthetica opens its 2017 series of GeoTalk podcasts with a conversation about sedimentation, dams, and watershed health. Our guest is Craig Benson, an International Erosion Control Association Board Member and a division director for the private, non-profit Natural Resources Services in Eureka, California. NRS is a division of the Redwood Community Action Agency. There are more than 1000 community action agencies in the United States, but only two of them have environmental divisions.
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GeoTalk Podcast episodes are published each Tuesday on Geosynthetica. Downloads and free subscription are also available in the iTunes Store and on Google Play.
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Benson brings a unique perspective, and in his opening comments he notes that as an IECA Board Member he has the opportunity to deliver a larger view of things rather than individual case studies. An example is in how he turns one of the most common environmental discussions on sedimentation around. Instead of focusing on how a suffocating sedimentation issue was cleaned up a site here or a site there, Benson asks people to think about where sediment may be needed for proper watershed health.
“Dams provide us a huge amount of service, in terms of flood attenuation and energy generation and so on,” he says. “In fact, a lot of dams hold sediment, so many watersheds below dams are sediment starved. So, the management of the sediment is more about how do we not starve a watershed for 100 or 200 years behind a dam of sediment and then release is all at once when the dam come down?”

Photo by NOAA of Russian River Valley Watershed Health
Photo of Russian River Valley watershed by NOAA

Benson also talks about personal experience with situations in which breaking up dams is necessary, such as the enormous number of small dams that have cropped up in California’s “Emerald Triangle” and which have negatively impacted fish, waterway, and watershed health.
Geosynthetica’s editor Chris Kelsey sat down with Benson at the IECA 2017 Conference and Exhibition in Atlanta, Georgia.


Natural Resources Services is a division of the Redwood Community Action Agency. Learn more about NRS’s watershed and community work at
Craig Benson also welcomes direct communication. Call +1 707 269 2065.
For information about the International Erosion Control Association (IECA) Region One, its annual conference, and other event , education, and membership opportunities, visit
See also: IECA Iberoamerican Chapter,
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