I’d like to share two remarkable quotes from this week.
The first was written by a regulatory inspector on his inspection report. He was simply making an observation and likely doesn’t have a clue that anyone would be impressed by his mention.
His note was simply, “Creative BMP design and implementation appeared to be very effective.”
It’s remarkable (worthy of remark) for a few reasons. First, we have been working hard to encourage creativity in design and implementation for years. Creativity and innovation aren’t exactly calling cards of large governmental agencies, but effective construction stormwater management is simply not possible without them. I have seen glimpses over the past 15 years of thinking beyond mere compliance and “the handbook,” and I always get excited to experience it accidentally.
The second reason the quote struck me was the source. Again, it is a reasonable thing to say but it is unusual. Regulators have a tough job. They are criticized for enforcing regulation to the letter, and they are punished when they don’t. So, for an inspector to recognize effectiveness, regardless of whether or not the BMP was in the handbook, the plan, or even the modified plan, it gets my attention. Regulatory credit for things not prescribed is hard to come by in my opinion and is worthy of remark.
The fact that innovation happened and that it was accepted and acknowledged are two positive indicators of the future of water quality in Alabama.
My second quote of the week came from a discussion with a pretty extreme environmental advocate. He is known for and is proud of his over-the-top passion and antics when he sees what he feels to be environmental injustice, impact, or inaction. He does what he feels he needs to do and says what he feels he needs to say to set things right in his mind and in his world.
This week he called, not to berate, but to congratulate. He has been watching one of our projects in his home watershed for about two years now and has decided that we have done a good job. He saw that we have made good on a commitment to him and to the environment and he sees that this project isn’t an anomaly. He also knows that it required a change in culture that has been evolving for about fourteen years.
Among several remarkable statements, my favorite quote was, “If it’s getting better, I feel like it needs to be told.”
I agree completely. He understands (like we understand) that we will never be perfect, but he also sees that we do actually care. And that seems good enough for now.