- STORMWATER MANAGEMENT
- Watersheds 101
- Why Transportation & Watersheds
- Watershed Approach
- Stormwater Technologies
- Low Impact Development
- Stormwater Wetlands
- Wetland Restoration
- Riparian Forest Buffers
- Stream Restoration
- Porous Pavements
- Environmentally Friendly Concrete
- Soil Amendments
- Stormwater Research
- GHP BMP Assessment
WATERSHED BASED STORMWATER MANAGMENT GROUP
The mission of the GHP Stormwater Management Group is to integrate public and private stakeholder interests in the restoration and sustainable usage of natural resources, centered on a “Watershed Based Approach.” Such an approach—as detailed below— will serve as a model for watershed-management in the Mid-Atlantic and, eventually, throughout the country.
The objectives of this group are to implement a collaborative, watershed based approach to stormwater management focused on results. Recognizing that highways coexist with other land uses and that cost effective approaches to stormwater management can yield watershed protection, even improvement if we integrate planning, maintain flexibility, and focus on results.
Moving Policy to Practice
A prototype for GHP transforming this objective into practice is the “From Main Streets to Green Streets!: "Collaboration for Prosperity and Sustainability" campaign with the town of Edmonston, Maryland’s Green Street the premier example. Utilizing ARRA funding the Town of Edmonston’s Decatur Street is a model for sustainable, green land use planning for low income communities in the Anacostia Watershed of the Chesapeake Bay.
The Green Street design for Decatur Street demonstrates a multi-benefit infrastructure approach which provides a Top to Bottom Plan (Tree Canopy to Water Quality). This comprehensive Plan includes replacing the native tree canopies, installing energy efficient lighting and using clean energy, integrating placement of stormwater management features with walkways and bikeways while adding traffic calming techniques. All these features are included while maintaining the existing two travel lanes and without taking property from residents. These green practices include rain gardens, permeable concrete and native trees which will treat rain where it falls and reduce the flow of stormwater pollution to the Anacostia. The new green infrastructure practices are sized to treat 90 percent of the annual total rainfall and provide improved air quality and other environmental benefits. The social, economic and environmental benefits also include:
• Reduction in urban heat island effect
• Provides “green jobs’/”green business” opportunities
• Educational information provided through street kiosks
• Crime reduction
• Health benefits through walking, biking, running trails
• Energy cost reduction using wind powered LED lighting
• Water conservation
• Green Enterprise Business Opportunities
• Carbon sequestration
• Improved water quality through 90% capture of stormwater
• Carbon footprint reduction
• Recycling and beneficial use.
GREEN STREET DESIGN
More information on the Town of Edmonston, Maryland’s Green Street can be found at: http://edmonstonmd.gov/GoingGreen.html
Another way GHP has been helping to translate policy into practice is through continuing education. GHP through the GHP Training and Development Center in partnership with the American Society for Civil Engineers developed the Green Highways and Green Streets for 21st Century Infrastructure: Strategies, Technologies, and Funding webinar training for planners and engineers involved in infrastructure planning at the federal, state, municipal and local levels. This training was first offered in October 2009 and provided an introduction to the GHP Green Infrastructure/Watershed Approach design concepts and applications. The content also shows how engineers are actively using this program to help communities meet their 21st century infrastructure, jobs, and community development needs, while providing for improved stormwater management and environmental protection. The first webinar had participation from 64 sites representing federal, state and local governments, educational institutions, and private consulting firms.
Watersheds are areas of land that drain water, sediment and dissolved materials to a common receiving body or outlet, and they are critical to environmental, financial, and social health. Regardless of a watershed's size (they can range from a few acres to thousands of square miles), each plays an essential eco-system role. They support innumerable interrelated ecological processes and even a slight change to just a single factor (be it climate, geology, hydrology, soil, or vegetation) could result in profound impact. Therefore, the concept of watershed management is vital to the Green Highways Partnership.
The Environmental Protection Agency has outlined four core principles of watershed management http://www.epa.gov/watertrain/watershedmgt/principlea.html
Watersheds are dynamic ecosystems; in other words, natural change is inevitable and necessary. Natural change comes in the form of floods, fire, drought, glacial movement, and tectonic shifts, among other agents. On the other hand, human-made change can yield different (often negative) results. Watershed management focuses heavily on measures to avoid, minimize or otherwise remediate human-made changes. According to the Center for Watershed Protection, there are eight tools to protect or restore aquatic resources in an urbanized or developing watershed:
Tool 1. Land Use Planning
Tool 2. Land Conservation
Tool 3. Aquatic Buffers
Tool 4. Better Site Design
Tool 5. Erosion and Sediment Control
Tool 6. Stormwater Best Management Practices
Tool 7. Non-Stormwater Discharges
Tool 8. Watershed Stewardship Programs
Watershed management entails utilizing different aspects of each tool to yield the most powerful strategy possible. Effective management provides local communities with a realistic approach for maintaining a quality environment for future generations.
The EPA's online Watershed Academy Web is the premier resource for detailed watershed management information. Each training module provides expert insight into all aspects of the watershed management field. Click here to explore the site.
Watershed Management Links:
• EPA Priority Watersheds Tool - See a map of priority watersheds based on watershed resources and stressors
• EPA Region 3 Water - Information regarding watersheds management within the Mid-Atlantic states
• Nonpoint Source Pollution - Learn about nonpoint source pollution managment programs in the Mid-Atlantic region
• Targeted Watershed Grants - How to get money from the EPA to implement your own watershed management projects
• FHWA Exemplary Ecosystem Initiatives - FHWA recognized projects for excellence in addressing the needs of the ecosystem
Transportation planning is undergoing significant changes due in part to a growing awareness in the scientific and government communities of the need for more integrated ecosystem approaches and transportation regulation that requires more ecologically sensitive transportation planning and design. (venner, september 2005)
The Green Highways Watershed Approach to stormwater management, recognizes that highways coexist with other land uses within watersheds, and a collaborative approach provides an opportunity for highway agencies to plan and deliver the most cost-effective protection, even improvement, to watersheds. To aid in watershed recovery, address watershed impairments, and to be prepared to address future potential water quality standard requirements, designers must begin thinking outside of the right-of-way.
The following principals outline the framework for the GHP Watershed Approach.
Keys to Achieving the GHP Watershed Approach
Innovative BMP’s for Stormwater Management
GHP has been working to compile an innovative stormwater “Best Management Practices” system. In order to surpass the current standard, researchers have had to think outside the box--while maintaining a focus on feasibility. So far the results have been very promising.
LID's goal is to mimic a site's predevelopment hydrology by using design techniques that infiltrate, filter, store, evaporate, and detain runoff close to its source. Techniques are based on the premise that stormwater management should not be seen as stormwater disposal. Instead of conveying and managing / treating stormwater in large, costly end-of-pipe facilities located at the bottom of drainage areas, LID addresses stormwater through small, cost-effective landscape features located at the lot level. These landscape features, known as Integrated Management Practices (IMPs), are the building blocks of LID. Almost all components of the urban environment have the potential to serve as an IMP. This includes not only open space, but also rooftops, streetscapes, parking lots, sidewalks, and medians. LID is a versatile approach that can be applied equally well to new development, urban retrofits, and redevelopment / revitalization projects.
The Low Impact Development Center has been a valuable partner in the compiling and dissemination of LID technology and practice.
The bioretention area is graded to divert excess runoff away from itself. Stored water in the bioretention area planting soil exfiltrates over a period of days into the underlying soils.
This text was obtained from the US EPA. For more information on bioretention see, http://www.epa.gov/owm/mtb/biortn.pdf
This text was obtained from the Stormwater Manager's Resource Center. For more information on stormwater wetlands, see the fact sheets section of http://www.stormwatercenter.net/
This method is often called the passive approach. For example, if wetland vegetation and water quality are degraded primarily as a result of cattle grazing, then removing the cows may be the only activity needed to restore the wetland system. Passive methods allow natural regeneration of wetland plant communities, natural re-colonization by animals, and re-establishment of wetland hydrology and soils. Passive approaches are most appropriate when the degraded site still retains basic wetland characteristics and the source of the degradation is an action that can be stopped. The success of passive methods usually depends on an accessible source of water, the close proximity of wetland plants and animals, and a mechanism for bringing species to the restoration site. The benefits of passive methods include low cost and a high degree of certainty that the resulting wetland will be compatible with the surrounding landscape.
This text was obtained from the US EPA. For more information on wetland restoration, see http://www.epa.gov/owow/wetlands/restore/finalinfo.html.
RIPARIAN FOREST BUFFERS
The type, size and effectiveness of riparian buffers vary based on the location, environmental management needs and landowner needs. The width of each zone is determined by specific site conditions and landowner objectives.
Partial intervention for assisted recovery: where a stream corridor is attempting to recover, but is doing so slowly or uncertainly. In such a case, action may facilitate natural processes already occurring.
Substantial intervention for managed recovery: where recovery of desired functions is beyond the repair capacity of the ecosystem and active restoration measures are needed.
This text was obtained from the Federal Interagency Stream Corridor Restoration Working Group. For more information on stream restoration, see: http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/technical/stream_restoration/newgra.html.
This text was obtained from the Stormwater Manager's Resource Center. For more information on porous pavement, see the fact sheets section of http://www.stormwatercenter.net/.
EPA has recently added new resource pages addressing porous pavement types and practices, including: Permeable Interlocking Concrete Pavement, Pervious Concrete Pavement, Porous Asphalt Pavement
ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY CONCRETE
This information comes directly from Dr. Mohammad S. Khan's insightful presentation, Environment-Friendly Concrete (EFC) for Green Highways. Dr. Khan, Senior Vice President of Professional Service Industries, Inc., delivered this at the GHP Forum.
Relationship between GHP Watershed Approach and Green Infrastructure (GI)
The EPA’s Office of Water defines green infrastructure as essentially encouraging infiltration, evapotranspiration or reuse of stormwater, with significant utilization of soils and vegetation rather than traditional hardscape collection, conveyance and storage structures.
GI has also been defined as a strategically planned and managed interconnected network of natural areas and other open spaces that conserves natural ecosystem values and functions, sustains clean air and water, and provides a wide array of benefits to people and nature. It Incorporates principles of: landscape ecology, conservation biology, restoration ecology, and watershed management.
Common green infrastructure approaches include green roofs, trees and tree boxes, rain gardens, vegetated swales, pocket wetlands, infiltration planters, vegetated median strips, reforestation, and protection and enhancement of riparian buffers and floodplains.
The GHP approach utilizes both definitions of GI in the design and implementation of stormwater BMP’s along with watershed restoration and protection, including ecosystem management. The Conservation Ecosystem Protection Group focuses on integrating the natural landscape GI approach into planning, designing and operating transportation systems.