Rain, wind and fire!
It’s been a long time since I’ve seen these events all occurring in one season. Mother Nature is really playing havoc with us this year. I’m amazed at the number of fires that are burning all at one time in one region of the country, while others have encountered tremendous amounts of rain.
Those heavy rains have led to destructive floods. As I watched the images on television, I was stunned at the power of those storms, and the amount of rain that fell in just a short period of time. With all this going on, we still have 27 states that are in abnormally dry or drought conditions.
All this is cause for major concern. Regions that were flooded had their soil washed away. Now the job will be to rebuild the nutrients in the soil again; in some cases, to bring in new topsoil. Areas that were ravaged by fires will need careful attention, especially as we get into the rainy season. The denuded soils cannot absorb much water, which will cause runoff and eventually, stormwater contamination.
As for the drought—which is definitely still with us—new areas of the country are going through the experiences that Texas and California have been dealing with. The eastern part of Georgia is now under strict watering restrictions; California is still in severe drought conditions; the eastern part Massachusetts is suffering, and portions of New York are experiencing extreme drought conditions, as are the High Plains, Washington, and Oregon.
I believe that a lot of new work will come from these disasters, and with that new work comes another problem: labor, or should I say the shortage of it. If you’re in the contracting end of the business, you know how difficult it’s been to hire new labor over the past few years. Some contractors have even resorted to using the Department of Labor’s H-2B program.
Without going into a lot of detail (I will discuss this in greater depth at a later date), I think that the labor situation will become a major factor to us in this industry. It is something for us to think about.
There will always be opportunities and with these opportunities will come challenges that we will have to overcome, and we will.