Biomimicry and the Foundation of Filtrexx Sustainable Management Practices (SMPs)

What would nature do? This is the driving force in how we approach problem solving, product innovation, and site design solutions. If you look close enough nature often provides a perfect blueprint for efficiency, performance, and sustainability, and you can find this guiding principle in each of our major product lines from SiltSoxx and EnviroSoxx - relying on natural materials and principles of water biofiltration, to our Living Shoreline and Bank Stabilization technologies - relying on natural materials and native plants to restore natural water cycles and protect biological diversity – all while restoring natural carbon cycles as a fundamental design feature. It is no coincidence that organic matter is the foundational material for all Filtrexx products, just as it is for all soil ecosystems worldwide. This essential material maintains local and global water and carbon cycles, filters pollutants, minimizes stormwater and soil erosion, and is the foundation material for plants and the soil food web.

Preservation of organic matter (often referred to as natural capital) at the landscape and watershed scale is where each of us can have the greatest impact. However, preservation is not always feasible due to economic, land area, and land development constraints. Designing or reestablishing organic matter, back into the landscape, can be just as important. Selecting native plant materials and native sources of organic matter will help to ensure maximum performance and health of above and below ground ecosystems; and when designed appropriately will help restore and sustain ecosystem services. This type of design also builds stability and resilience within the system to protect against future, unforeseen disturbances and disasters, both human and environmental.

The basis for this type of innovation and design is rooted in Biomimicry. Biomimicry is the imitation of the models, systems, and elements of nature for the purpose of solving complex human problems – it is innovation inspired by nature, according to Janine Benyus, founder of the Biomimicry Institute. Adoption of this approach to problem solving at Filtrexx has moved beyond product development, innovation, and design, and has now become ingrained in our culture.We have developed principles of Biomimicry to move beyond the idea of solely creating best management practices (BMPs) for our industry, to challenging and leading our industry with truly sustainable management practices (SMPs) – the next level of BMP.

By adopting and utilizing sustainable management practices we surpass simply reducing environmental footprint, and into restoring ecosystems, rebuilding natural capital, and enhancing ecosystem services, locally and globally.We define a sustainable management practice as: made from natural, biologically-based/organic materials; recycled and easily recycled for future use; locally manufactured from locally available materials; carbon neutral; made with minimal embodied energy, and has a low life cycle cost.Creating truly sustainable management practices is our commitment to our customers, our industry, and the sites and watersheds in which we deploy our products and services. “The biggest innovations of the 21st century will be at the intersection of biology and technology. A new era is beginning.” – Steve Jobs

Dr. Britt Faucette, Ph.D., is an Ecosystem Scientist, CPESC, and LEED AP. He earned his Ph.D. from the Odom School of Ecology at the University of Georgia where he researched soil-water-plant performances of various BMPs used in soil erosion and stormwater management applications; served as a state specialist in storm water management, organics recycling, and pollution prevention programs; and served as an adjunct professor. Britt coordinates research, design, and training services for the stormwater and organic materials management industries and serves on technical committees and boards with ASTM, GRHC, CCREF, and IECA. In 2008 he was awarded the annual USCC Clean Water Award. Britt has authored numerous peer-reviewed and popular press publications and popular press articles, two books, federal and state specifications, and has been awarded nearly $500,000 in research grants.

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