In May, experts from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicted that the 2017 hurricane season (which started in June and ends in November), would be one for the record books. Then Harvey, Irma, Jose and Maria came along and proved them right.
Those four powerful hurricanes have devastated coastal areas. In fact, 2017 has seen 13 named storms so far (a designation tropical storms get when their winds exceed 39 mph—storms are classified as hurricanes when their winds surpass 74 mph). That makes 2017 an “extremely active” year by National Hurricane Center standards.
Congress earmarked $15 billion to help Texas and Louisiana communities clean up following Hurricane Harvey, which hit in August, and was the first major hurricane to make landfall in the United States in 12 years. That may sound like a lot of money, but damage estimates for Harvey are expected to be more in the $200 billion range. That makes it the most expensive natural disaster in American history.
What We’re Doing
“Nobody wants to go through a flood, but when you do, our equipment can rescue you and clean your property up when the damage has been done,” says company president Liz Todd.
Our amphibious equipment is ideal for gathering and hauling debris after a major storm. It’s also useful in rebuilding levees after a storm surge and flooding. Personnel carriers can be most helpful in rescue efforts. This specialty equipment can remove the debris resulting from the devastation of a major storm and move it to a landfill or recycling center.
We have Bobcat excavators (buggies) that are modified for swamp conditions so that they won’t sink or stall in the mud. We outfit our hydraulically-driven excavators with amphibious pontoon undercarriages. We can also equip them with storm clean-up attachments, including brush grapples, backhoes, dozer blades, brush mowers and whatever else we may need for the tough work in the marsh.
Over the years our fleet has been a vital part of rescue efforts including restoring power, providing flood protection and conducting clean-up operations. Stan’s has also worked in downed aircraft recovery in marsh and swamp lands.
Because of our capabilities, the Coast Guard awarded us a Basic Ordering Agreement (BOA) that identifies personnel, equipment and supplies we provide in the event of a federal response. We can bring in the equipment that can get to these hard-to-reach locations when an emergency happens. If needed, we can disassemble these machines to easily move them over the highways to the job site, where they can be quickly reassembled.
Best Practices for Disaster Clean-Up
Storms have an enormous impact on coastal ecosystems. Harvey pushed seawater into wetlands, bays and estuaries. That’s in addition to the trillions of gallons of water the storm dumped on Texas and Louisiana.
The Office of Wetlands, Oceans and Watersheds at the Environmental Protection Agency has a list of principles that guide aquatic resource restoration projects and disaster recovery in events like this. Here at Stan’s, we adhere to these best practices. These “Restoration Guiding Principles” include the following:
- Preserve and protect aquatic resources
- Restore ecological integrity
- Restore natural structure
- Restore natural function
- Work within the watershed/landscape context
- Use passive restoration, when appropriate
- Restore native species, avoid non-native species
Tropical storms and other severe weather events often leave a trail of man-made debris. Best Management Practices (BMPs) cover removal of large debris and damaged structures from sensitive wetland and marsh habitats.
Projects in coastal environments often have unique permitting and consultation requirements. That’s why Stan’s is prepared to work with all the necessary state and federal regulatory agencies, landowners and other stakeholders.
It’s crucial that cleanup operations not disturb the marsh soil or damage wetland vegetation. Our equipment has a small footprint. Not only can we get to hard-to-reach areas and conduct the work but we also won’t cause further harm to the surrounding environment.
If you need help dealing with the aftermath of the recent storms, get in touch today, and we’ll be happy to help you find solutions to your problem.