Fall/Early Winter 2008
Issue # 32
Welcome to the 32nd issue of Runoff Rundown, the Center for Watershed Protection's quarterly electronic newsletter!
Staff News
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 stormwater regulations.
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 June.
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 www.extremestreammakeover.org

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 more.

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 invaluable!
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 Railroad Museum.
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 -
  • Chatham County - Savannah Metropolitan Planning Commission
  • GA Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Coastal Resources Division
  • GA DNR, Environmental Protection Division
  • University of Georgia Marine Extension Service
  • Sapelo Island National Estuarine Research Reserve, Coastal Training Program 
  • Georgia NonPoint Source Program
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.

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
  • Lowcountry Paver
  • 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 center@cwp.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 levels.
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
REPORT: California's 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 country. http://www.aia.org/release_061708_GreenInce
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 Urban Public Policy. An account of the origin, enactment, and implementation of Maryland's Smart Growth land use program begun in 1966. http://www.amazon.com/Sprawl-Politics-Inside-Growth-Maryland/dp/0791474119. 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 Amherst. Paper abstracts must be submitted on-line at http://www.WRRCconference.com. Conference organized by Massachusetts Water Resources Research Center 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. http://www.sws.org/2009_meeting/

CONFERENCE: APA's National Planning Conference April 25-29, 2009 Minneapolis, MN. Organized by the American Planning Association. http://myapa.planning.org/nationalconference/
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: Nonpoint Source Pollution 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, CA.  http://www.stormcon.com/sc.html



Runoff Rundown Team: Lauren Lasher, editor; Hye Yeong Kwon, Tiffany Wright, Kathy Proebstle. Contributions from Center staff.

Center for Watershed Protection
In This Issue
Staff News
What We're Wrapping Up
What We're working on
What We're Starting
Projects in Action
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