Coexistence Based Beaver Management. Never heard of it? It’s what sets Ecotone apart from other environmental construction companies. Ecotone’s philosophy is “Think Like a Mountain,” in that every person has an impact on the environment, big or small. They tackle projects – stormwater management, reforestation, wetland restoration, beaver management – in a holistic way with a positive impact.
And they use STACK to get it done!
Better Bids and Beaver Management
It is illegal to relocate beavers in many states without a lengthy permit process. The only other solution is to trap and kill the species. Ecotone is changing that by looking into the future of environmental restoration and using beavers as engineers – with the help of STACK. Whether it’s to restore a watershed or change high-velocity flows, a family of beavers can do the work instead of mobilizing an entire construction operation – with zero impact and at a fraction of the cost.
However, if beavers are creating a problem like flooding, Ecotone provides a service to regulate water levels with a flow device. That’s one of the places where STACK shines. Art Garcia, an estimator at Ecotone, says, “I do GIS mapping on-site, and when I get back to the office, I use that and my field observations in STACK to take measurements for where we’re going to put in the control device, get quantities, and submit the proposal.”
The STACK Impact
Before STACK, Ecotone was doing manual takeoffs and only submitting a few bids per year, not only because of the time-consuming component of using pen and paper, but also the economic impact of printing large plan sets. STACK has allowed Ecotone’s estimating department to handle multiple bids at once while cutting down on the time needed for each. They can verify provided quantities and compute their own when the data doesn’t exist. Ecotone also uses STACK throughout their design process to ensure they’re staying within construction budget parameters.
Precision & Simplicity
Art has been with Ecotone for six years, starting as a laborer, moving up to foreman, and now an estimator. As a foreman, he used STACK in an estimating capacity to provide a budget to the county for projects. He needed to measure for installation of gabion sandwich filters at stormwater facilities, but counties rarely have exact measurements, only site maps. Art would upload the site maps into STACK, figure out where he’d want to install the sandwich filter, and submit dimensions alongside cost.
As a foreman, Art would also use STACK in an as-built capacity to double-check the dimensions in the field confirming everything lined up with the drawings. “As soon as I realized I could take hyper-precise measurements on my computer versus a thumb and squint in the field, I always went out of my way to use STACK as much as possible. It’s a modern tool which simplifies and improves things.”
Instant Area Calculation
Art does a lot of area and volume-based measurements in STACK. “To do areas of irregular shapes by hand is something I don’t have time for. Doing one measurement by clicking on the screen and having the area of a complex polygon already calculated for me is such a time saver. I could not do my job without that.” He also uses STACK’s arc tool when he needs precise measurements doing competitive bids.
STACK has helped Art be more confident in his measurements, which in turn reduces mistakes ordering excess materials and keeps Ecotone sustainable. “I don’t have to guess between ticks on a scale mark. Our scales are much larger: one inch equals 50 feet. Even the width of the printed tick mark on my scale could amount to hundreds of dollars in material difference. The margin of error is a lot higher. If you’re half an inch off at that scale that could be tons of rock. That cost starts to compound on itself.”
Digital Plans > Paper Plans
STACK has also helped Ecotone be more sustainable by eliminating the need to print full sets of plans. “When I’m looking at five or six different plan sets at 60-70 pages each, that’s significant. One job was over 100 pages, and two-thirds of those pages only existed in STACK. To think of the amount of paper I would have to print and measure by hand is kind of horrifying.”
Significant Time Savings
Using STACK has been a huge time saver for ecotone when estimating. “I barely have enough time in the week, so if I had to remove STACK I would be half as fast,” says Art. “I have STACK open every day, anything I touch in the company, STACK is involved. Working at home, I have no room for printed plans. Not having to pivot to a different workplace helps productivity. STACK is a massive tool for us and a critical tool in my toolbelt.”
Sustainability Outweighs Old Industry Standards
Ecotone’s design philosophy of less is more is starting to influence the industry. Using what’s on the site versus importing, they are avoiding supply-chain issues and using sustainable, available materials that self-stabilize. The design doesn’t need to be super engineered. Industry-standard has been to import quarry rock, install that in the stream, add erosion control matting, and try to control the water. Ecotone’s designs keep the site rough by using trees and brush cleared on-site to stabilize streams. This avoids the need to haul and dispose of natural resources, lessening their carbon footprint even further.
“Nature is messy and chaotic, we need to embrace that more,” says Art. “The younger generation who was brought up with sustainability and conservation as a value will help this be more widely accepted.”