The Willow Creek DVD is finished and Released!

It’s available at the WatchYourDirtStore.  Click Here to purchase.

What is the Willow Creek Project?

Over a 3 month period last year, John McCullah worked with Alberta Infrastructure and Transportation to save a massively failing slope that threatened to crater Highway # 2 – a very important highway in South Alberta.  It was a huge undertaking and our cameras were there for the whole process.

The main problem was the erosive flows from the rather deceptive Willow Creek (it looks more picturesque than viciously erosive).These currents were eating at the toe of the slope, causing some really fascinating block failures.  In addition there was a large gully on site also plagued with problems.

To save this site, John and crew reached deep his erosion and sediment control bag of tricks.  Over the course of this episode, you’ll see the following techniques, explained, installed and reviewed…

 Rock Vanes

Longitudinal Peak Stone Toe Protection

Fiber Roll Installation & Theory

Scourstop Energy Dissipators

Hydromuclhing with FGMs

Soil Nailing

Live Siltation

Soil Flapping

Trackwalking & more!

It’s the closet you can get to on site training without actually being there.

We are really proud of this one, we think it turned out great! So we encourage you to go over to the Watchyourdirtstore and purchase a.  And if you’d like to see Dirt Time in more seminars/classrooms, ask your instructor to get a hold of us and enroll in our Dirt Time Classroom Clip program (more on that later!).  As long as you guys keep using Dirt Time, we’ll keep on making it.

Special thanks must go out to the fine people at Alberta Infrastructure & Transportation.  Without their support, their project … their everything – we wouldn’t have had this great opportunity to film.  So thank you Roger Skirrow, Fred Cheng, Ross Dickson and the great team over in Alberta!

Here is some snippets of some of the stuff you’ll see on the DVD…

In Alberta, whenever you plan somethings outdoors during November, you can’t rely on the forecast.  Here is an excerpt for our Willow Creek Video (available May 28th at the WatchYourDirtStore).  It is the start of the first day of the AIT workshop.  It was a little chilly in the morning, but nothing too too bad – we’ve seen worse.

More footage and news from this video is right around the corner, so stay tuned!

Here’s a quick little piece.  It’s the end-credit sequence to the latest episode of Dirt Time.  Very simple idea and not too complicated to execute. In this little sequence, we took the original blueprint of the construction site and added various credits throughout the plan. Took the altered plan into our graphics program and whipped the camera around the page from one credit to the next. A fun little tecnique that (we think) is quite cool…

The PBS documentary: Poisoned Waters is now fully online and available to watch front to back. Click right here.

Here’s the synopsis:

More than three decades after the Clean Water Act, two iconic waterways—the great coastal estuaries Puget Sound and the Chesapeake Bay—are in perilous condition. With polluted runoff still flowing in from industry, agriculture, and massive suburban development, scientists fear contamination to the food chain and drinking water for millions of people. A growing list of endangered species is also threatened in both estuaries. As a new president, Congress, and states set new agendas and spending priorities, FRONTLINE correspondent Hedrick Smith examines the rising hazards to human health and the ecosystem, and why it’s so hard to keep our waters clean.

Thanks to the IECA-Great Rivers Blog for the Head’s Up!

Home Stretch!!!!  

We are putting the finishing touches on the Willow Creek project DVD.  It will up for sale at the WatchYourDirt Store by week’s end.

This is what the DVD Cover is going to look like:


And it has a back…

We’ll definitely be posting more info, video and whatnot as the week goes on, so stay tuned….

Go to our new file download section for this nice little freebie (click Here).

Available for download is a FULL, recently produced BMP manual that John created for California State Parks Off-Highway Vehicle Department.  Don’t let he OHV-ness of it fool you, there is A LOT of great, universal erosion and sediment control information in here.  And all for free!

Click here to download.

Here is a full description of the manual:


This manual is intended to provide the necessary guidance for selecting and implementing BMPs at Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) Parks.  OHV trail construction projects, the construction and maintenance of low-volume access roads, the creation of new buildings, campgrounds and other user facilities, special OHV events, and routine park maintenance can all impact water quality.  This BMP Manual was specially compiled and written to be “SVRA-specific” (SVRA=State Vehicle Recreation Area) for use by the Carnegie SVRA, in Livermore, CA, but it should also prove useful to all of California State Parks staff, and well as other land managers.

The manual is not just a “cut and paste” from old and often outdated BMP manuals.  The erosion and sediment control industry has been rapidly adapting and changing – new and better innovations are constantly being developed and assimilated.  At the same time old and new BMPs are being scientifically tested and empirically evaluated.  The San Diego State University Erosion Control Laboratory, California State University at San Luis Obispo (CalPoly), and the Shasta College Erosion Control Training Facility are locations where development and testing of new BMPs is occurring.

This OHV BMP Manual provides the methods necessary for SVRA managers and staff to minimize the impacts of erosion, sedimentation, and other non-stormwater pollutants on water quality.  The manual includes all of the new, appropriate, and state-of-the-art BMPs.  It also excludes the BMPs that experience and science have proven ineffective.  This BMP guide is intended be used by SVRA staff in selecting appropriate BMPs for SWPPPs.  The special section on Road and Trail Drainage will be helpful when designing and building future trails and roadways in a manner that will minimize watershed and water quality impacts. 

The California State Parks Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Division (OHMVRD) of California Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) desire to comply with the CWA and NPDES requirements.  Compliance with these laws and regulations will help ensure future OHV opportunities, and the implementation of the BMPs will protect the park, park users, trails, and natural resource values of the Park by: 

      1. Minimizing soil erosion and compaction of soils resulting in loss of soil productivity and sedimentation to waterways.
      2. Minimizing disturbance and sedimentation to riparian areas, wetlands, and waterways adversely impacting amphibians and wildlife.
      3. Minimizing spread of invasive, non-native, and noxious weeds along travel routes, and minimize disturbance to botanical resources.
      4. Preventing the creation of additional routes in environmentally sensitive areas.


Courtesy of our good friend David Derrick, we have some really great pictures available in the photo (or ‘Pics’) section of our website.

All the photos are 1920-30’s era attempts at Riverbank stabilization, using techniques such as Board Mattresses,  Gabion Burrs and Timber Pile Dikes…  

Huh?  You might be saying.  Yeah, me too.  But once you see the pictures, you’ll notice that these techniques aren’t too far off from current day riprap, gabion baskets, brush mattresses, etc.

Check them out here.  They’re quite neat.




Hey All, James Here!

As some of you may or may not know, my production company BlinkWorks Media, which produces Dirt Time, does a variety of other projects as well. Many of them within the Erosion and Sediment Control Industry, many of them outside of it.  (Shameless plug:  If you need an industry-savvy video, we’re always available!  Give us a call!)  

It seems that the good people at the IECA-Great Rivers Blog wrote a nice little piece complimenting the work we did for Minnesota State Parks.  Check it out here!

If you haven’t come across the blog just yet.  I would put it on your regular reading list.  Maintained by J.B. Dixon, the blog keeps its regional members in the know, but also has a fair bit of general industry news.

Many thanks to J.B. and IECA-Great Rivers for the mention!


In case you haven’t seen it yet, here are the videos that caught the IECA’s eye: 

I think it’s a pseudo-goal of any filmmaker/television producer to ultimately make it to the Smithsonian. Doing so, means that you’ve established a place for yourself in the canon of popular cultural.

…Well, Dirt Time has done it! We made it!  We’re in the Smithsonian! …just in a slightly different wing from the TV sciences stuff…

The Smithsonian currently has a very neat exhibit going on called: Dig it! The Secrets of Soil. It is all about Soil – virtually every facet of it.

Though skewed towards a younger audience, if you are in the Washington area, it definitely seems worthy of checking out. You can read all about it here.

And we are very proud to say that Dirt Time plays some small part in the exhibit. In preparation for the exhibition, the Smithsonian contacted Dirt Time, talked to John and asked for some video footage – which we were more than happy to provide. In fact, John is featured as one of the exhibits ‘Explorers of Soil’.

In what capacity, Dirt Time appears in the exhibit, we’re not too sure. We hope to check it out ourselves one day soon. But if any one happens to visit the museum themselves and catches a glimpse of us – shoot us a mail, we would love to find out more.

Here’s a news piece on the exhibit:

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