Fall/Early Winter 2008
Issue # 32
Welcome to the 32nd issue of Runoff Rundown, the Center for Watershed Protection's quarterly electronic newsletter!
Many changes are going on at the Center! First, we are looking for talented people
to join our team. We are most recently looking for a Watershed Planner. Please visit our Job Openings page to learn
more about all openings and how to apply!
Another change is the departure of Center watershed planner and veteran Anne
Kitchell who staffed our Beaufort, SC, office.
After eight great years, she has decided to work with another Center
alum, Rich Claytor, at Horsley Witten in Sandwich,
MA. We wish her all the
best in her future endeavors!
For changes of a personal nature, we're pleased to report
that we have two staff who got engaged to their longtime boyfriends in the last
several months-- Watershed Planner Julie Tasillo, and Watershed Engineer, Kelly
Collins. Director of Research Karen Cappiella and her husband Steve Medellin
are expecting their first child in January.
Communications Manager Lauren Lasher and her husband Robert are expecting
boy/girl twins at the end of the year. It is also their first time as
parents. Congrats to all!
What We're Wrapping Up
In cooperation with the USDA Forest Service - Northeastern
Area, with supplemental funding from The Home Depot Foundation, the Center will
launch a website next month called the Watershed
Forestry Resource Guide. The site will serve as a central location of
resources on forests and watersheds, including fact sheets, slideshows,
training exercises and other tools, as well as links to research papers,
reports and relevant websites. The USDA Forest Service and the Center
will be holding a joint webinar on December 2nd to provide an
introduction to basic concepts in watershed forestry and an orientation for
navigating the site. While all openings
for the webinar have been filled, it will be archived and available on the
Guide's site. Keep your eye out very soon for an email announcing the site's launch.
After we reported about our field work in Puerto
Rico earlier this year, the Center is excited to announce that the Guanica Bay Watershed Plan is complete.
Project partners NOAA and the Puerto Rico Department of Natural and Environmental
Resources are already moving forward with implementation. One of the
first steps will be to look at the feasibility of three of the top restoration
projects, which may include the construction of treatment wetlands to reduce
nitrogen export to Guanica
Bay from a sewage
treatment plant and restoration of the historic Guanica lagoon that was drained
in the 1950s.
The Center recently completed its work with the Port Tobacco River Conservancy (PTRC)
to help implement a grant from the Chesapeake Bay Trust. Our role was to provide engineering plans and
basic specifications for three rain gardens at McDonough High School
in Charles County, Maryland. The rain
gardens were constructed in May 2008, with planting performed by student
volunteers, as well as a few Center and PTRC staff. All three rain gardens are functioning well,
(even the experimental one that receives regular swimming pool discharges) with
good plant growth in the first year. Not all went smoothly however, as one of
the gardens required minor repairs after heavy rains this summer caused an
embankment breach - an important lesson in the use of proper soils and
compaction techniques for embankment construction, regardless of the size!
On September 2, we released our first RFP for a Technical Capacity Mini-grant program.
With funding from an EPA Targeted Watershed Initiative Grant, the program is
designed to award direct assistance and financial support to small watershed
organizations. Up to 10 grants ranging from $5,000-15,000 will be awarded to
strengthen the capacity of these groups in the area of stormwater and watershed
management. We are currently reviewing the 125 proposals submitted, and with so
many exceptional submissions, will have a tough time deciding which ones will
be funded. Criteria for a successful proposal are how well they met the
requirements of the RFP and the extent of its projected outputs and
outcomes. Grant recipients are currently being notified.
The Center recently wrapped up its work with the City of
Baltimore, MD, on a fairly comprehensive stormwater retrofit inventory of both large- and small-scale
stormwater retrofit projects in the Baltimore
City portion of the Herring Run, Jones Falls
and Baltimore Harbor Watersheds. The goal of the project was to identify
and inventory the stormwater retrofit opportunities within these watersheds
that can provide reductions in stormwater runoff rates, volumes and pollutant
loads. Additionally, these projects will help the City meet the requirements of
a number of environmental programs and regulations, including Chesapeake Bay
Program Tributary Strategy goals and current and future Total Maximum Daily
Load regulations. The Center first analyzed mapping data to identify potential
stormwater retrofit opportunities then conducted fieldwork to further
investigate these potential projects. After identifying more than 90 viable
stormwater retrofit projects, the team evaluated the pollutant removal benefits
that each project would provide and made preliminary recommendations to the
City about strategies that could be used to deliver them in a widespread and
cost-effective manner. We are currently working with the City to implement a few of the retrofits.
With funding from the Town Creek Foundation, the Center
recently completed a codes and ordinance analysis for Caroline County, MD, a rural county of approximately 30,000
residents on Maryland's Eastern
Shore. In response to ongoing development pressures, the Center
with staff in the Planning Department recently completed a Codes and Ordinances
Worksheet (COW) and a more in-depth codes analysis with recommendations for
code revisions to minimize the impact of new development on natural resources. The Center is pleased to have recently
received additional funding from the Town Creek Foundation to continue working
in Caroline County where we will complete a COW for
two towns in the county and provide an in-depth review of the county's
What We're working on
Back in early summer, the Center traveled to the Cedar Run Watershed in Eastern Cumberland County,
PA to conduct a watershed field assessment
with the Alliance for the Chesapeake
Bay. Cedar Run is a coldwater trout stream located in a
highly urbanized watershed characterized by underlying karst topography.
The presence of large sinkholes and the frequent disappearance of streams
created new and exciting challenges for the field team. At several sites,
untreated stormwater runoff traveled into sinkholes, going directly into the
groundwater below. The Center is now working on a field memo that
summarizes the field findings and makes recommendations for retrofitting and
managing stormwater in the watershed.
The Center continues its work on the development of a Downspout Disconnection Program in the
City of Baltimore, Maryland. Building on the information presented in a
technical memorandum that was completed earlier this year, the Center is
currently working with the Herring Run and Jones Falls Watershed Associations
to develop outreach and education materials on downspout disconnection. With
assistance from the Herring Run Watershed Association, the Center has
identified a neighborhood that makes a good subject for the pilot program.
Monitoring equipment has been installed (so that the benefits of downspout
disconnection can be quantified - we hope!), educational pamphlets have been
distributed, and yard signs have been designed. So far there has been a lot of
interest in the program and residents are eager to help Herring Run by
disconnecting their downspouts!
What We're Starting
The Center is looking forward to starting work with the Anne Arundel Co. MD group, West/Rhode Riverkeeper, to carry out their Chesapeake Bay Trust grant for a watershed assessment and stormwater retrofit investigation. The
assessment will include streams and upland areas of the West and Rhode Rivers
watersheds. The Riverkeeper is also working on constructing a demonstration
rain garden in a small park as well as installing a Living Shoreline along the
water's edge of the park. Check future issues of Runoff Rundown for
updates as we conduct our fieldwork and make recommendations.
Richland County, SC has been on the minds of Center staff lately as we are working on two projects in this area! First is to develop a Watershed Management Plan for Crane
Creek with Richland County Department of Public Works. The 67-square mile watershed is largely forested, but facing
encroaching development from neighboring jurisdictions. We are currently
working on a baseline watershed report that will be used to plan and direct
upcoming field efforts. Fieldwork, which is expected in late winter, will
involve a stream assessment, uplands assessments, forests and wetlands
assessments, and a retrofit inventory.
Working with the Richland County Planning Department, we are also heading up a Richland County Codes and Ordinances review. By examining the County's
land development and stormwater codes and ordinances, we will develop recommendations that promote more
environmentally-sensitive and economically-viable development. The Planning Department, in an effort to adopt the code change recommendations, plans to hold a Site Planning
Roundtable involving local government staff, the development community,
environmental and civic organizations, and other land-use professionals.
The Center has just begun work on a Retrofit Plan for Little Pimmit Run in Arlington County, Virginia. The Little Pimmit Run watershed encompasses a
fully developed residential area with few stormwater controls. In an effort to improve the water quality in
Little Pimmit Run and mitigate the impacts of planned culvert replacements in
the upper part of the watershed, Arlington
County and residents have
asked the Center to assess the watershed for potential stormwater
retrofits. Initial planning has
revealed that local road right-of-way and individual lot practices are two of
the best possibilities for retrofits.
Field work will begin in December, and the project should wrap up in
We recently kicked-off a new wetlands project called "A
Scalable Inventory Approach for Comprehensive Wetland Protection." With
funding from the EPA, the project involves the development of a consistent, yet
scalable approach that local governments
can use to inventory the extent of wetlands that are potentially
vulnerable in light of reduced Clean Water Act protection, and to document
their benefits at both the site and watershed scale. We are currently
conducting background research and developing a draft method for the
inventory. In 2009, we will convene a national wetland inventory advisory
committee to help refine the method, fill in gaps, and provide supporting information.
James River Watershed Going Extreme!
No, it's not another reality TV show! The Horsepen
Creek, a tributary of the James River (VA) got an "Extreme" makeover the week
of October 20-25. This effort, lead by the James River Association (JRA),
involved the implementation of 13 watershed restoration projects in seven
locations. Over 700 volunteers, young and old, helped pick up trash along
1 mile of stream; planted over 2,500 trees, shrubs and flowers; installed 5
rain gardens and bioretention areas to treat stormwater; installed 972 square
feet of permeable pavement; educated 230 students on their connection to the
James River; trained and equipped 35 homeowners for installing rain barrels at
their homes; and planted 1.8 linear miles of stream buffers. The project was
initiated by local garden club groups with the desire to improve the
creek. Last fall, Center staff traveled to Richmond to prescribe a treatment for this
two-square mile watershed.
Like many watersheds across the country, Horsepen Creek was
primarily developed before stormwater treatment and stream buffers
were required to protect streams from encroachment by development.
Additionally, many sections of the stream channel were historically piped or lined
with concrete to more efficiently move stormwater from properties to the stream. This results in an increase of the speed and quantity of stormwater and associated pollutants to the stream. The Center's assessment provided JRA with a
list of restoration projects for the watershed. Over the past year, JRA
staff with technical support from the Center, worked tirelessly to make these
projects come to life. Several Center staff were pleased to be able to
join in JRA's restoration efforts thanks to a grant from Dominion Resources. The
Center is excited to continue to work with JRA in 2009 on the next "Extreme Stream Makeover" in the Lynchburg, VA
area. More information about this "extremely awesome" project is found at
This project's first cousin, the Extreme BMP Makeover, has
also made several appearances in the James River
watershed as of late. Through a grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, and supplemental funding from Altria PM-USA, the
Center, JRA, and the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission teamed up with
stormwater management staff from eight municipalities in the middle and lower
sections of the watershed for a week-long survey of stormwater best management
practices (BMPs). In the course of the
week back in August, we visited and visually assessed the condition of approximately 140
BMPs! It was an enlightening week for
all involved, as they got the chance to see a wide variety of stormwater
facilities of different ages, placed in different soil and topographic
conditions including bioretention cells, permeable pavers, constructed
wetlands, detention and retention ponds, infiltration trenches, swales, and
In our field survey of BMPs, we looked at indicators of
erosion, clogging, and structural problems at the inlets and outlets;
conditions directly downstream of the BMP; health of vegetative cover; signs of
improper flowpaths of water; maintenance issues; interesting design features;
and more. At some sites, we also
compared the approved site plan for the facility to what we saw on the ground,
to look for consistency between the design and the installation of the BMPs. In the weeks following the August survey,
Center staff visited several dozen more sites, reaching our goal of assessing
200 BMPs. The observations from the
survey and analysis of the data will be documented in a technical memo that
will be available on the Center's website this winter.
We owe a big thanks to stormwater and environmental staff
members from Henrico, Chesterfield, Albemarle, and James
City counties, and the cities of Charlottesville, Norfolk, Portsmouth, and Hampton. Their help in the process has been
Talkin Stormwater in the Southeast!
During the second week of October in the beautiful historic
city of Savannah, GA, the Center hosted more than 100 stormwater professionals for
an intensive three-day Stormwater Institute at the Coastal Georgia
Center. This is the first Institute geared towards EPA Region 4. It
targeted MS4 program managers and focused on challenges specific to the southeast and
how to set up and manage a successful stormwater program. All but a few
represented the southeast, and over 80% of the participants represented local
government, more than any past Stormwater Institute. As a group, they
demonstrated more enthusiasm for improving and/or building local stormwater
programs than we've ever seen at a Stormwater Institute!
The first day started with welcoming keynotes from Savannah
Mayor Otis Johnson and Georgia State Representative Lynne Smith. Speakers from the Northwest Florida
Water Management District and Chesapeake Stormwater Network helped
place stormwater into a regional water resource context by describing the
Southeast's priorities, challenges and initiatives. Each of the six NPDES
minimum control measures was covered, as well as maintenance, and
program reporting and auditing. Other highlights included the Center's introduction of the new coastal
stormwater supplement to the GA state stormwater manual, the "Doctor
BMP" session on how to assess the performance of various
stormwater practices through Center staff dressing as a doctor and BMP
"patients." Participants embarked on various fieldtrips-- a BMP tour to
showcase some of Savannah's existing stormwater
practices, including a green roof, bioretention, cistern, and permeable pavers;
an illicit discharge detection field trip with actual potential discharge; and
a stormwater site design exercise to be used for a proposed redevelopment
project at the historic Roundhouse
Several extremely valuable experts
in their respective fields joined us this year. We are particularly grateful to
Nikos Singelis (Office of Wastewater Management, U.S. EPA) for participating in
numerous sessions, including stormwater program reporting and evaluation,
building public support for your program, and erosion and sediment control
programs. Mike Mitchell (U.S. EPA Region 4) talked about state stormwater
management programs in the southeast. Stacey Berahzer (NC Environmental
Finance Center) and Ron Feldner (MPC) presented case studies on funding a
stormwater management program. Tom Schueler (Chesapeake Stormwater Network)
discussed unique stormwater issues in the southeast and coastal plain, as well
as the future of stormwater management. Billy Lee (Withers and Ravenel)
presented on stormwater retrofitting and helped lead a retrofitting exercise in
the field. Vince Hollis (Lowcountry Paver) presented a case study on
permeable pavement design and construction. Michael Bateman (NW FL Water
Management District) discussed a permittee's perspective on what may be expected
over the coming years, as TMDLs become a reality. Srinivas Valavala (Richland
County Stormwater Management) presented a case study of Richland County,
SC, that is promoting many initiatives in the
aftermath of an EPA and State program audit and fine. Dionne Driscoll (Upper
Chattahoochee Riverkeepers) talked about erosion and sediment control programs.
Bill Hodgins (City of Savannah) and Clifford Ice
(City of Atlanta)
covered illicit discharge detection and elimination programs. Synithia Williams
(Lexington County, SC), Hunter Freeman (Withers and Ravenel)
and Erik Lombard (Henry County, GA) participated in a panel on developing
regulatory authority for stormwater management programs.
While a few participants expressed frustration with too much
covered in three days, most people found the training extremely informative and
useful. One participant declared that his entire staff of stormwater
inspectors should take part in this essential training.
The Center is extremely grateful to its Institute partners -
We'd also like to
express our gratitude to Stewart Dohrman, Eric Davenport and Becki Harkness of
the Coastal Heritage Society for helping to make our stormwater site design
exercise at the historic Roundhouse Railroad Museum a complete success. We wouldn't
have been able to create such a meaningful exercise without their help.
Chatham County - Savannah
Metropolitan Planning Commission
GA Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Coastal Resources
GA DNR, Environmental Protection Division
of Georgia Marine
Island National Estuarine
Research Reserve, Coastal Training Program
Georgia NonPoint Source Program
Funding for the Institute was made possible by a Targeted
Watershed Initiative Grant through the U.S. EPA Office of Wetlands and
Watersheds. The Institute also received support from:
The Georgia Power Foundation
GA DNR Coastal Resources Division
City of Savannah
McKim and Creed Engineering
Sapelo Island NERR
S.C. Sea Grant Consortium
City of Atlanta
WK Dickson & Co., Inc.
Withers & Ravenel
Georgia Sea Grant
The Center is already making plans for a 2009 Watershed Institute 2009. Check the website for
a save the date announcement early next year!
Projects in Action
Periodically, Runoff Rundown has this special
section to share news from groups about how our work may have been
implemented or how they have helped leverage new funding or projects.
Please be sure to share with us how the Center's partnership or
resources have made a difference in your community! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org!
It's not often that we actually hear about it, but when we do get news that our work is making a difference, we are delighted and want to share it with our readers. In late September, the Virginia Soil & Water Board authorized the release of new stormwater regulations for public comment. These regulations included the Runoff Reduction methodology recently developed by the Center with help from Tom Schueler of the Chesapeake Stormwater Network. The hearing room was packed, and while folks weighed in both for and against the regulations, everyone wanted to hear more about them. At the end of the session, the Board decided to put the regulations on track for public comment and ultimate adoption. There is still work to be done, and that will likely take the better part of the year, but the Center is pleased to have contributed the Runoff Reduction method into proposed state regulations!
Long-time readers of Runoff Rundown may recall when we
worked with the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District on an audit of the City of Milwaukee's stormwater regulations. The
goal was to identify site design changes that reduce stormwater runoff and
ultimately reduce the frequency and volume of CSOs. About 5% of the City's sewer system is
combined; and each year, combined sewer overflows send millions of gallons of
sewage into Lake Michigan. We are
pleased to have received an update from the City. By an overwhelming vote
of 14-1, the Milwaukee Common Council approved a series of updated
regulations that incorporate many of the Better Site Design principles
including some key changes - setting both a minimum and a maximum number of
parking stalls for commercial parking lots (with a mandatory contribution of
$1,000 per space in excess of this number into a dedicated greenspace fund);
requiring landscaping on many cul-de-sacs; requiring 50% of parking stalls to
be sized for compact cars, and a reduced minimum number of parking stalls in
areas of public transport. These cutting edge requirements will go a long way
to help Milwaukee
reduce stormwater volumes to its combined and separate sewers. To view the
changes to the regulations, visit: http://legistar.milwaukee.gov/attachments/3cb0a27b-8dbe-4241-b483-94617c29eabb.rtf
NEWSLETTER and SURVEY: For more than three decades, the National Wetlands Newsletter has provided accurate, timely, and
in-depth coverage of wetland regulation, policy, science, and management. The
November-December 2008 issue, funded by a generous grant from the U.S. Fish and
Wildlife Service (FWS), is dedicated to climate change. The articles in this
issue describe real world approaches the FWS' Coastal Program and Partners for
Fish and Wildlife Program are taking to address the effect of climate change in
their habitat conservation projects. For more information, visit http://www.elistore.org/nwn.asp.
The Environmental Law Institute is also conducting a survey on Advancing Conservation Through Improved Land-Use Planning. The survey takes approximately 10-15
minutes and seeks to identify what is working and what barriers still remain when it comes to advancing the conservation of wildlife habitat through improved
land-use planning and development decisions at the local, county, and state
WEBSITE: The National Association of Counties (NACo)
Research Division collects examples of various county codes and ordinances,
which are searchable by subject.
WEBSITE: Proper Installation of BMPs: Planning and
Implementing Erosion and Sediment Control. This site offers good and bad
photos of ESC practices. http://www.aztecnm.com/publicworks/stormwater/bmps.htm
Local Government Commission recently released a guidance document on managing
water supply and development:
REPORT: The American Institute of Architects (AIA)
commissioned a report, "Local Leaders in Sustainability - Green Incentives,"
that defines and examines types of incentive programs, details the inherent
barriers to success, and highlights best practice examples from around the
BOOK: Growing Cooler: The
Evidence on Urban Development and Climate Change. In a comprehensive
review of dozens of studies, published by the Urban Land Institute, the
researchers conclude that urban development is both a key contributor to
climate change and an essential factor in combating it. http://www.smartgrowthamerica.org/gcindex.html
BOOK: Sprawl & Politics: The Inside Story of Smart
Growth in Maryland
by John W. Frece (Author), Gerrit-Jan Knaap (Foreword). SUNY Series on
Public Policy. An account of the origin, enactment, and implementation
of Maryland's Smart Growth
land use program begun in 1966.
John Frece is a Center for Watershed Protection Board Member.
RESEARCH PAPER: Headwater streams comprise as much as 70% of
all streams in the country but are often the least protected due to
disagreement about their "jurisdictional" status under the Clean Water Act. A
new paper in the Journal of the North American Benthological Society provides
criteria that can be considered when determining the type of stream -
intermittent, ephemeral, or perennial. "Physical indicators of
hydrologic permanence in forested headwater streams": http://jnabs.allenpress.com/jnabsonline/?request=get-document&issn=0887-3593&volume=027&issue=03&page=0690#i0887-3593-027-03-0690-f04
ONLINE TOOL: The U.S. EPA has developed an incredibly
handy tool to help anyone who receives questions like "what watershed do I live
in?" If you have a website or blog, you
can post a "Find Your Watershed" widget for a quick and easy answer.
This tool will direct users to the results from EPA's "Surf Your Watershed"
database. The information provided to
them helps them find their watershed, learn about its health, and connect them
with organizations at work in their watershed. To download: http://epa.gov/widgets/#watershed
CALL FOR ABSTRACTS due December 5, 2008: Spring Specialty
Conference: Managing Water Resources and Development in a Changing Climate May
4-6, 2009. Anchorage Marriott Downtown, Anchorage, AK.
Organized by the American Water Resources Association.
CALL FOR ABSTRACTS due Jan 9, 2009: International Conference on Stormwater &
Urban Water Systems Modeling February 19-20, 2009. Toronto
Airport Hilton, Toronto, ON.
Organized by Computational Hydraulics Int.
CALL FOR ABSTRACTS due Jan 26, 2009: AWRA Summer Specialty
Conference: Adaptive Management of Water Resources II June 29-July 1, 2009.
Snowbird Ski & Summer Resort, Snowbird, UT. Organized by the
American Water Resources Association. http://www.awra.org/meetings/SnowBird2009/index.html
CALL FOR ABSTRACTS due Jan 30, 2009: Water Dependencies in
New England: Systems, Stresses and Responses April 7, 2009 University of Massachusetts
abstracts must be submitted on-line at http://www.WRRCconference.com.
Conference organized by Massachusetts
and UMass Extension.
CALL FOR ABSTRACTS due February 27, 2009: Society of Wetland Scientists Joint International
Conference June 22-26, 2009. Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center, Madison, WI.
CONFERENCE: APA's National Planning Conference April 25-29,
2009 Minneapolis, MN. Organized by the American Planning
CONFERENCE: World Environmental & Water Resources
Congress May 17-21, 2009. Kansas City Marriott Downtown, Kansas
City, MO. Organized by EWRI and ASCE. http://content.asce.org/conferences/ewri2009/index.html
Conference May 18-20, 2009. Eastland Park Hotel, Portland, ME.
Organized by New England Interstate Water
Pollution Control Commission. http://www.neiwpcc.org/npsconference/
CONFERENCE: River Rally 2009 May 29-June 1, 2009. Hyatt
Regency Baltimore, Baltimore,
MD. Organized by River Network. http://www.rivernetwork.org/rn/rally/
CONFERENCE: StormCon '09 August 16 - 20, 2009. Anaheim Marriott, Anaheim,
Runoff Rundown Team: Lauren Lasher, editor; Hye Yeong Kwon, Tiffany Wright, Kathy Proebstle. Contributions from Center staff.
|Like what we do?
We hope that you think of the Center for Watershed Protection when making your year-end contribution decisions. Just giving $50 will go a long way to continue to provide our online resources for free and to expand our lessons learned to a wider audience!
You'll be supporting our many efforts like the ones you've just read