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A retrospective on stormwater in 2016

By Chris French The first few months of every year seem to encourage stepping back to reflect upon the opportunities and changes that the last year brought.

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Billions spent worldwide to improve “natural” green infrastructure

The term green infrastructure generally refers to manmade structures that mimic the absorptive water control properties of nature. But more and more engineers, academics, and regulators are recognizing that the term also includes the very forests, meadows, and wetlands that inspire bioswales, porous hardscapes, and rain gardens. Last September, Governor Jerry Brown of California introduced […]

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Study quantifies the impact of coastal runoff in dollars and cents

A recent Duke University (Durham, N.C.) study makes the first, long-sought evidence linking Gulf of Mexico hypoxia to economic effects. The study, published January in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, shows hypoxic dead zones in the gulf drive up the price of large shrimp relative to smaller sizes. This effect causes economic […]

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Most U.S. coastlines will sink faster than the global average, NOAA report cautions

While sea levels across the world have long been expected to rise steadily as temperatures increase and ice caps melt, an alarming report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) warns that almost all U.S. coastlines risk more dramatic changes in sea level than the global average. The Jan. 19 report frames potential changes […]

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$1.5 million green infrastructure investment transforms Chicago schoolyard

Renovations to a Chicago elementary school campus totaling $1.5 million will allow the space to retain more than 492,103 L (130,000 gal) of stormwater. The schoolyard’s transformation will promote physical activity, accommodate STEM-focused experiential learning, reduce runoff pollution, and demonstrate the benefits of green infrastructure construction as well as reduce flood risks. Watch a 3-minute […]

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Houston mayor approves $10 million for 22 proactive stormwater rehab projects

On Jan. 11, 2017, Houston mayor Sylvester Turner sent in SWAT to solve long-standing drainage problems across the city. But instead of carrying out high-stakes military operations, this SWAT — the cleverly named Storm Water Action Team — will commence work on approximately 100 deferred projects focused on maintaining and upgrading Houston’s aging flood management […]

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DC Water and the WEF announce inaugural National Green Infrastructure Program certifications

DC Water and the Water Environment Federation (WEF) on Jan. 30 announced the issuance of the first certifications under the National Green Infrastructure Certification Program (NGICP). The NGICP is designed to verify that the inaugural group of 62 certified individuals have successfully demonstrated competency in the foundational knowledge, concepts, and terminology required to perform tasks […]

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UK parliament committee calls for new approaches to flood management

Faced with predictions from the U.K. government’s recent National Flood Resilience Review to expect 20% to 30% more intense rainfall due to climate change in coming years, the bipartisan Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs Committee of Parliament last month released a report calling for a complete overhaul of how the country approaches its vulnerability to […]

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NCAR study portends extremely rainy 21st century

If trends toward warmer climates continue at the same pace that they have during the last few decades, the U.S. could see extreme rainfall events up to four times more frequently by the end of the 21st century, a new study by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR; Boulder, Colo.) finds. These storms could […]

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Removing fallen leaves can improve urban water quality

The timely removal of leaf litter can reduce harmful phosphorus concentrations in stormwater by more than 80% in Madison, Wis., according to a recent U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) study. Autumn leaf litter contributes a significant amount of phosphorus to urban stormwater, the study found. The USGS-led study, Evaluation of Leaf Removal as a Means To […]

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