Great Ways to Grow Greener

Bioswales, rain gardens, tree filters and permeable paving will enhance neighborhoods and downtown areas.  These practices can also renew the health of brooks and ponds, as well as reduce community costs for polluted runoff.

EPA GI OppsA January 2015 EPA report on “Green Infrastructure Opportunities …” offers exciting examples and case studies of low impact designs with multiple community benefits.  Green infrastructure applies natural processes to cleanup stormwater and improve the vitality of cities and towns.

This report has many photos and illustrations showing how local officials, civic groups and businesses can utilize green infrastructure in small and mid-sized communities.

Additionally, the report clearly explains the costs and benefits of diverse techniques, as well as advantages and disadvantages of green infrastructure funding sources.  This guide also describes ways that projects can be easily modified to reduce costs, recognizing the community resources are limited.

The helpful guide is available at http://www.epa.gov/owow/OCPD/green_infrastructure_roadshow.pdf

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Celebrate Water!

With the return of balmy weather, it’s a perfect time to appreciate local waters.  Visit your favorite brook, stream, river, pond or lake.    Wonder at the intricate web of aquatic life – are mayflies hatching? are fish feeding on these nutritious tidbits?  And look for the aerobatics of bank swallows (Riparia riparia) – often the first sign of a hatch are swallows swooping above the water catching insects as they fly.  If you like, send a photo to runoffremedies@gmail.com and we’ll try to post your special place on this blog.view  Swift arch

Also celebrate water as part of Drinking Water Week.  Since 1988, the American Water Works Association and its members have celebrated drinking water during the first week in May.  An annual opportunity to recognize the vital benefits that safe healthy water provides for our communities.  For more info about your drinking water you can visit http://www.drinktap.org/

How does your town keep local waters healthy?

Most likely, the answer is complex.  Varied town boards carefully review proposed land uses and road improvement projects.  Often there are separate reviews by different boards to consider local zoning, state wetland regulations, federal stormwater permits and other criteria.

heron[1]Clean water is important to everyone, yet all is not well.  As we build on the land, the source of water that feeds brooks and ponds shifts more and more to polluted storm water.

Municipal officials are diligent in helping their communities to prevent and fix dirty runoff. Stormwater control is spread across multiple departments, boards, and officials – all need to know stormwater basics, the job to be done, and their part in it.

Most towns have a Master Plan to guide land use decisions.  But very few towns have data and maps that show stormwater sources and the amount of pollutants released to local waters.  This detailed  information can enable town boards to know the best places to capture pollutants and the most cost effective solutions.

Another complication is changeover in local boards.  New board members may not be familiar with local, state and federal regulations for stormwater management.  In response, MWC prepared a guide for new board members.  This free “Stormwater for Towns” guide can be downloaded at http://www.commonwaters.org/images/stories/pdfs/sw_fortowns.pdf

Ongoing community development offers constant opportunities to prevent or fix pollution problems.  MWC can assist by applying a simple technique to identify and quantify sources of polluted runoff.  Additionally, MWC has compiled costs to compare stormwater solutions.  Combining these tools can help communities realize more pollutant removal for less cost.  For more information, please email: runoffremedies@gmail.com.