The enormous problem of uncontrolled soil movement by water and wind has created the erosion control industry. The magnitude of the problem is often overlooked by those unfamiliar with the impact of erosion. As a single example, sediment the by-product of erosion) accounts for more than two-thirds of all pollutants entering U.S. waterways. Annual spending in the U.S. for mitigation of erosion and sedimentation is estimated at $13 billion.The erosion control industry consists of a broad range of diverse professions and specialties, including hydroseeders, mat and blanket manufacturers, consulting engineers, landscapers and even earth moving contractors. All stake claims to separate or interrelated segments of this market. This army of professionals has two objectives in mind; the prevention of soil erosion, and the trapping of sediment before it enters the waterways.
One of the most rapidly growing and "high tech" segments within the industry has been the erosion control mat and blanket market. Erosion control products (i.e. mats and blankets) were first used in the form of jute mattings imported from Asia, but have quickly evolved to include organic fiber-filled and geosynthetic products. As the demand for mats and blankets grew, several different products were developed utilizing varying compositions and structures. Most of these products work in conjunction with vegetation to form a biocomposite solution to erosion control problems. The mat and blanket industry is unique in that it requires blending the professional disciplines of engineering (mat and blanket products, channel hydraulics, etc.), agronomics, and landscaping (i.e. vegetation). The wide variety of product types together with the blending of professional disciplines has led this segment of the industry to "self-regulate" it's activities to improve the use of erosion control products. -NTPEP-