| Issue #39 |
Runoff RundownSummer 2010: Focus on Flooding
|Published by: |
The Summer 2010 issue of Runoff Rundown is here! We've given our newsletter a facelift in response to feedback from our subscribers. Thanks to all who took our survey!
The Center has been busy this summer. First, we've updated our website: check it out at www.cwp.org
. All our materials are now available for free download in one place. We hope this makes it easy to find the resources you need. We're also hard at work producing the first issue of the Watershed Science Bulletin
, due out this Fall. The first issue will focus on TMDLs. If you haven't signed up already, go to www.awsps.org
to join the Association of Watershed and Stormwater Professionals and receive the Bulletin plus other member benefits. Lastly, we have three more webcasts planned for 2010. See the Trainings and Conferences section below for more information.
This issue of Runoff Rundown focuses on a single theme: flooding. We at the Center spend alot of our time determining how best to manage flows from the smaller storm events. Yet most of us are likely to be affected by an extreme flood event at some point in our lives, so we decided to tackle this topic. First, Terri Turner of the Augusta-Richmond County Planning Commission in Georgia describes a strategy to prevent flood damages through sound planning. Next, our Runoff Rambler, Joe Battiata, presents an approach to the computation condundrum of how to quantify the benefits that runoff reduction approaches can provide for larger storm events. Lastly, our own Laurel Woodworth tells the tale of a small rural community impacted by flooding and a partnership effort to develop solutions.
|How to Keep Flooding "Out of Your Back Yard"
Terri Turner, AICP, CFM
Community officials are faced with ever increasing challenges related to disaster prevention, especially in the realm of flood losses. Obviously, the best defense against a flood disaster is a good offense of planning, planning and more planning, coupled with better land use doctrine, and higher standards in building codes. Yet, it is hard for planning and increased regulations to get much momentum when budgets are tight and everyone in the community believes that the chance of a disaster is, at best, a low-probability phenomenon.
Flooding is the # 1 natural hazard in the nation. Even with everything that has been done by FEMA, state agencies, and communities in recent years to map floodplains, and even with an increased push for public awareness and flood risk education, more than 50% of all of the properties that are in high risk areas (the mapped special flood hazard area (SFHA), do not have flood insurance. It's not just those that live within the mapped (regulatory) floodplain that need flood insurance, either. A staggering twenty five percent (25%) of all flood insurance claims are outside of the mapped special flood hazard area - as evidenced by the flooding in Nashville, Tennessee (May 2010), Atlanta, Georgia (September 2009) and in other flood-ravaged areas around the United States in recent years. Trends in flood damages have seen the biggest increase in damages of all of the other natural disasters including earthquakes, wildfires and windstorms (to include hurricanes and tornadoes).
Low-probability, high-consequence flood events account for millions, and often billions, of dollars in flood damages each and every year. The facts are alarming: There is a 26% chance of flooding during a 30-year mortgage compared to just a 9% chance of fire. Yet, many community leaders still view the threat of flooding as arbitrary, unpredictable and often unlikely. Sadly, that "it won't happen to us" attitude can result in disastrous damage to property, catastrophic failure of infrastructure and monumental loss of life.
Community leaders must prepare in advance if they wish to gain the upper-hand on the devastating effects of flooding on their community. They must hone their best boy-scout skills and "prepare for the unexpected" and they must utilize manpower and resources to plan now how to avoid or minimize future flood events.
The current policy of development in most communities in the United States promotes intensification in risk areas; ignores changing conditions; ignores adverse impacts to existing properties, both up and downstream; and undervalues the natural and beneficial functions of our nation's floodplains, wetlands and sensitive areas. Current approaches to development deal primarily with how to build in a floodplain versus how to minimize future damages to all affected property owners.
The central message is this: We have done a number of positive things in recent years to combat flooding, both structural and non-structural, but it is not enough - even if we perfectly implement the current standards, damages will increase, because we are putting development in the path of disaster.
So what do we do, as a community, to curb this cycle of build - flood - rebuild??
The Association of State Floodplain Managers (ASFPM) has spent the last several years coming up with a workable and cost effective solution. No Adverse Impact (NAI) is a concept / policy / strategy that changes one's focus from building within the environment to "do no harm". No Adverse Impact (NAI) is an approach that ensures that the action of any community or property owner, public or private, does not adversely impact the property and rights of others. The true strength of the No Adverse Impact approach is that it encourages local decision making to ensure that future development impacts will be identified, considered on a watershed-wide basis, and mitigated - it is a truly comprehensive strategy for reducing the losses, costs, and human suffering caused by flooding.
The pluses to the NAI Approach are eye-catching:
Will reduce future flood damages;
Will reduce future suffering;
Will protect the communities natural resources and amenities;
Will improve the quality of life;
Will provide for more sustainable growth within the community;
Will reduce the community's liability
Other potential benefits to the community of utilizing the NAI Approach can include:
Improved water quality and reductions in non-point pollution impacts;
Green corridors which also serve as additional areas for floodwater storage;
Improved groundwater recharge;
Better bank stabilization and better erosion control;
Possible increased property values near these "green" areas;
Decreased possibility of litigation
Communities can begin now to explore the positive results of No Adverse Impact (NAI). They can start by defining "adverse impact" for their community's unique conditions (this is not a one shoe fits all philosophy). "Adverse impacts" can be defined by evaluating their community's hazards (especially in or near the floodplain, and more importantly, throughout the entire watershed) and also their community's programs for addressing those potential hazards. Most importantly, communities can require all adverse impacts to be mitigated at the time that development occurs.
It is important to note that Courts have broadly and consistently upheld performance-oriented floodplain regulations including those that exceed minimum FEMA standards. Regulations that require additional freeboard, establish setbacks, impose tighter floodway restrictions, or very tightly regulate high risk areas, have consistently been upheld by the Courts.
If community leaders and community citizens continue to encourage at-risk development and ignore the impacts to others, can we accept the consequences.................and, are you, as a citizen, or a community, willing to pay for it ? In my opinion, the loss of even one life is much too high a price to pay !!! The author, Terri L Turner, AICP, CFM is Assistant Zoning and Development Administrator for the Augusta-Richmond County Planning Commission in Augusta, Georgia, Terri is the past Chair of the Georgia Association of Floodplain Management (GAFM) , the current ASFPM Region 4 Director, and the current No Adverse Impact Committee Co-Chair. For more information about No Adverse Impact, contact Larry Larson or George Riedel at ASFPM, (608) 274-0123 or see ASFPM's website at www.floods.org and click on the link - "No Adverse Impact".
|Runoff Ramblings: The Computation Conundrum: How to Account for (Small Storm) Runoff Reductions in (Larger Storm) Hydrology|
All trends in stormwater management point towards using more runoff reduction, low-impact development, and green infrastructure approaches. Whatever name you wish to attach, a chief underlying principle is to reduce the overall volume of runoff, and therefore attendant pollutant loads, through site design techniques coupled with use of certain stormwater best management practices (BMPs) (e.g., rainwater harvesting, infiltration, bioretention).
It is becoming increasingly clear that runoff reduction approaches are very effective for the small storm events that generally define our water quality criteria. However, there is still a lot of uncertainty in the stormwater community about the benefits for larger storm events, such as those used to define criteria for channel protection and flood control. For instance, what actual benefits would be derived from disconnecting impervious cover, preserving green spaces, and using distributed practices for reducing the peak rates from the 2-year, 10-year, 25-year, or 100-year storm event? Further, once we estimate these benefits, are we confident enough in the science to reduce the sizing of the downstream big-storm drainage infrastructure?
This is perhaps a Pandora's Box of computational conundrums - a perfect venue for the Runoff Rambler to jump in!
The Traditional Approach: Quantity and Quality in Separate Silos
Stormwater management programs have traditionally been partitioned into programmatic goals for stormwater quantity and stormwater quality. Stormwater quantity goals focus on the significantly greater runoff volume and velocity associated with the decrease in water-retaining characteristics of the urbanized landscape. Stormwater quality goals seek to reduce the pollutant load (excess nutrients, metals, bacteria, sediment, etc.) that is delivered to the receiving stream.
Many state and local regulatory programs, ordinances, and design manuals have similarly partitioned computational methods for demonstrating compliance with stormwater quantity and quality criteria. Water quantity or peak rate computations are usually event-based and modeled using well-known and readily available hydrologic modeling tools such as those developed by the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). Water quality computations on the other hand, often consist of an average annual pollutant load and a pre-determined "water quality volume" to measure compliance with a defined pollutant load target.
As a result, while the regulatory goals and computational methods have been partitioned, the compliance strategies have evolved into a "one-facility-fits-all" approach of detention, retention, and extended detention ponds. With this design approach, the design elements for water quality tend to take a back seat compared to those for channel and flood protection (which account for most the required storage). Meanwhile, physical evidence from the past two decades has demonstrated that this strategy does not readily achieve the goal of protecting the physical, chemical, or biological integrity of receiving waters (EPA 2003).
Runoff Reduction: The Movement Towards Integrating Stormwater Quality and Quantity
Many states are now combining the quantity and quality programmatic goals into a comprehensive runoff volume strategy: retain a prescribed volume of stormwater runoff from the urbanized landscape in order to achieve all or partial compliance with the water quality and stream channel erosion requirements (see Runoff Ramblings - Is Runoff Volume the Real Pollutant?) This goal can be achieved through a combination of: (1) runoff minimization; and (2) runoff reduction.
Runoff minimization is the cornerstone of Low Impact Development strategies that seek to influence the way land is developed: protect native vegetation, minimize impervious cover, maintain natural flow paths, preserve high infiltrative capacity soils (Hydrologic Soil Groups A & B), maintain sheet flow through vegetated areas, and other methods to reduce the amount of runoff that would otherwise be generated on the development site. Many of these minimization strategies are rewarded in the traditional NRCS hydrologic modeling methods with a lower runoff curve number and a longer time of concentration. Even disconnection of impervious cover is provided a credit (with certain limitations) in NRCS's Urban Hydrology for Small Watersheds (TR-55).
Runoff reduction calls for the implementation of BMPs that serve to reduce the volume of stormwater, such as soil amendments, engineered infiltration, extended filtration (e.g., bioretention with an underdrain), rainwater harvesting and reuse, and other practices that, individually or combined, serve to remove the captured volume of runoff from the discharge hydrograph. The performance credits or runoff reduction credit achieved by the various practices are assigned in terms of an annual runoff volume reduction based on documented field studies (Hirschman et al. 2008).
Crediting Volume Reduction Practices for Both Quality and Quantity Requirements
The runoff reduction achieved through minimization and reduction is applied to the annual runoff volume when computing the annual pollutant load using the Simple Method. The annual load is the product of the defined annual volume of runoff (i.e., runoff from the 90th percentile rain event) and the event mean concentration of the pollutant being measured. In principle, when runoff reduction practices are used to capture and retain or infiltrate runoff, downstream stormwater management practices should not have to detain, retain or otherwise treat the volume that has been removed. In other words, the volume of runoff reduction provided should be subtracted from the volume calculated by stormwater runoff peak flow computations. The challenge lies in how to accurately credit the annual volume reduction to the computation of the peak rate of runoff from larger single event storms for purposes of channel or flood protection.
The mechanics of peak flow reduction for the stormwater quantity goals of channel and flood protection include watershed storage and runoff attenuation. Many of the BMPs used to achieve runoff reduction do so by providing retention storage and runoff attenuation. While one could apply hydraulic routing to each runoff reduction practice, the modeling characteristics would likely not follow the traditional detention/retention routing parameters (given all the hydrologic and hydraulic variables such as evapotranspiration, storage within the soil media, infiltration, and extended filtration). Thus, the traditional computational approach would not only be complex, but also very cumbersome on a site scale due to the increased number of practices being applied within each drainage area.
There are likely numerous ways to approach this challenge. The advancement of hydrologic software and computer hardware has facilitated the use of continuous simulation models. On the other hand, there is also a need to keep the stormwater management compliance metrics simple for site designers and plan reviewers. Thus, sophisticated models can be used to analyze and synthesize land use patterns, soils, and other relatively simple parameters and develop relationships between retention storage provided on a development site and the corresponding credits for peak flow reduction for larger storms.
A simplified version of such a relationship already exists in the NRCS runoff equations 2-1 through 2-4 provided in TR-55. These equations can be used to derive a curve number adjustment that reflects the reduced runoff volume associated with increasing the retention storage in a drainage area. In essence, a new (lower) curve number can be back-calculated by subtracting the retention storage provided in a BMP or a series of BMPs from the developed condition runoff depth (Koch 2005).
While it is not easy to predict the absolute runoff hydrograph modification provided by reducing stormwater runoff volumes, it is clear that reducing runoff volumes will have an impact on the runoff hydrograph of a development site. Simple routing exercises have indicated that the curve number adjustment approach using the NRCS runoff equations represents a conservative estimate of peak reduction for certain storms. In other words, if anything, the curve number approach may under-represent the actual peak-shaving benefits deduced from routing larger storms through a variety of runoff reduction practices.
The implications of using this or a similar approach are different, depending on where you sit. A site designer or developer will want to receive due credit for using distributed runoff reduction practices, and will certainly NOT want to have two separate and redundant systems for water quantity and quality control. The public works director, on the other hand, will want to make sure that this "due credit" translates to an actual peak flow reduction and will not result in street or basement flooding in the neighborhood. The importance of the chosen method is that these two camps can have a common language of quantity and quality control, and the overall site planning and review procedure can be more predictable.
Additional research to compare the results of hydraulic routing of management practices with the measured volume reduction in the field is needed to better predict the ability of these practices to modify the runoff hydrograph and reduce peak discharges. Documenting an accurate volume reduction for the larger storm events can provide a tremendous incentive to further maximize the use of site design techniques and runoff reduction practices as a way to address the comprehensive goals of a combined stormwater quality and quantity program.
What are your experiences and thoughts? Do you have the silver bullet for quantity and quality integration? Email us at email@example.com.
Hirschman, David H.; Collins, Kelly; and Schueler, Thomas R. (2008) Technical Memorandum: the Runoff Reduction Method. Center for Watershed Protection and the Chesapeake Stormwater Network.
Koch, Paul R. (2005) "A Milwaukee Model for LID Hydrologic Analysis"Proceedings from Managing Watersheds for Human and Natural Impacts: Engineering, Ecological, and Economic Challenges,American Society of Civil Engineers, Reston, VA.
U.S. EPA (2003) Protecting Water Quality from Urban Runoff, Nonpoint Source Control Branch, EPA-841-F-03-003.
USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) (1986)Technical Release 55: Urban Hydrology for Small Watersheds. USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service
|Millboro, VA: A Creek Runs Through it...and Floods it |
As watershed scientists, it is easy to put all our focus on water quality issues and develop watershed management plans solely around problems affecting aquatic health. However, sometimes our efforts need to address other objectives first, such as alleviating flooding of properties and homes. After all, in a watershed where buildings and other infrastructure are getting repeatedly inundated, citizens and elected officials are usually far more concerned about the human risks of flooding than habitat or pollution problems in the local water body.
This has been the case in Millboro, VA. This spring, the Center teamed up with Bath County officials, Virginia NEMO, the Institute for Environmental Negotiation at the University of Virginia, and several area natural resource partners to conduct an assessment of Cabin Creek, a small stream that runs through the village of Millboro in the mountainous western edge of Virginia. This assessment was prompted by concerns from valley residents about increasing flooding of yards and homes. The other motivation for examining this watershed was to identify potential restoration opportunities that would improve aquatic health in Cabin Creek, which happens to drain to habitat for the endangered James spiny mussel in Mill Creek. The Center worked with Bath County officials on this assessment as part of its Chesapeake Bay Circuit Rider program to assist local governments in the watershed, with funding from EPA.
Given its location, it is fitting to imagine this watershed as a bath tub. The 4.3 square miles of land draining into Cabin Creek are steep, and during a hard rain it does not take long for the tributaries to rise and rush into the mainstem down in the valley. When you live at the bottom of a bath tub, sometimes you get wet. But, in the Lower Yard area of Millboro, that problem has apparently been getting worse in recent years. Beginning in 2006, residents living along this section of Cabin Creek contacted Bath County local government officials, hoping to get some help alleviating flooding of their yards and homes. It is not clear if this apparent increase in flooding is due to increased intensity of storms or landscape changes, or both. County officials have sought advice from a variety of agencies and organizations in hopes of better understanding this watershed and the options that exist to safeguard homes and improve the general state of Cabin Creek.
In tandem with Bath County staff, natural resource professionals in the region, teachers and students from Bath County High school, and Millboro residents, Center staff set out on a sunny March day to walk various segments of Cabin Creek and its tributaries to form a more complete picture of the state of this stream and its watershed.
Although our stream walk did not reveal any glaring causes for increased flooding in the area, there are some discrete projects that may improve the hydrologic situation in Cabin Creek. These include increasing culvert sizes, removing fencing and debris that are obstructing downstream flow, and stabilizing stream banks that have been eroded by high flows. A more thorough hydrologic modeling analysis is needed to fully understand the movement of water through this stream valley.
The Ultimate Solution
Anyone who knows about the flashy nature of streams, especially mountain streams, would understand as soon as she stepped foot along the banks of Cabin Creek what makes those homes so susceptible to flooding. Simply put, they are precariously close to the stream. What's more, the railroad tracks and other infrastructure (roads, berms, bridges, culverts) in some places confine the flow of floodwaters through the valley and in other cases back up water into yards and basements. This is an altered landscape and has been for a long time now. Homes and stores were built here long ago to take advantage of the area's proximity to the railroad - which also happens to be precariously close to Cabin Creek. Over the years, as the creek has repeatedly jumped its banks, spilling into the yards of these old homes, residents built berms and revetments along Cabin Creek to keep out the floodwaters. These structures have in turn exacerbated flooding and erosion problems for those properties directly downstream.
Flooding is obviously not a new phenomenon in this stream valley, but it is not easy to go back and retrofit solutions that satisfy both residents and the ecological needs of Cabin Creek. We can however, try to reduce the flooding risk posed to potential future development in this stream valley and others like it. We have recommended to Bath County officials that they take a serious look at their floodplain boundary data to identify areas known to experience frequent flooding but that are not necessarily within FEMA's floodplain designation. And we hope that the situation along Cabin Creek will prompt them to review the county's floodplain ordinance to enact policies that better protect stream quality & reduce risk to buildings built in the future. Certainly, these changes are not politically easy to come by in any community but, if implemented, they could at least keep newer homes out of harm's way and give streams some more elbow room when the bath tub fills up.
If you have had success working with rural communities or neighborhoods to alleviate current or future flood risk, we would love to hear about your experience! Contact Laurel Woodworth at firstname.lastname@example.org.
|Trainings and Conferences |
Center for Watershed Protection Webcast Series
Permeable Pavement Design, Installation, and Maintenance. September 1, 2010, 12-2pm Eastern
Cost: $99 early bird
You may love it or hate it, but permeable pavement as a stormwater BMP is here to stay. There have been many innovations in this technology that have allowed its use in different settings and that have responded to problems with past installations. Join this webcast and learn what the experts have to say about the various permeable pavement materials, designs, installation techniques, and maintenance. Don't worry -- they will also let you know whether permeable designs are ADA compliant and can bear traffic loads. This webcast is jointly hosted with the Chesapeake Bay Stormwater Training Partnership.
Click here for the 2010 webcast schedule
Where We're Speaking
. August 1 -5, 2010. San Antonio, TXDave Hirschman
will speak about Adopting Stormwater BMPs for Tropical Watersheds; and Implementing Runoff Reduction Through State Regulations.Lori Lilly
will speak about an Impervious Cover TMDL project in Connecticut.Julie Schneider
will speak about the remaking of our Better Site Design guidance for development. Tropical Hydrology and Sustainable Water Resources in a Changing Climate
. Aug. 30 - Sept 1, 2010. San Juan, Puerto RicoPaul Sturm
will discuss watershed restoration efforts in Puerto Rico's Guanica watershed. Reinventing Southeast Michigan: How to be a Part of the New Blue Economy
. Sept. 17, 2010. Clinton, MI.Greg Hoffmann
will deliver the keynote speech, "Valuing Your Watershed." Free and open to the public. National NEMO University 7
. Sept 29 - Oct 1, 2010. Portland, ME.Kelly Collins
will be presenting "The Fate of the First Impervious Cover TMDL in the Nation." This conference is organized by the National NEMO Network.Other Trainings and Conferences
Rain gardens 201
: A collaborative learning technical field class, or, everything you ever wanted to know about rain gardens (and other vegetated stormwater systems) but were too busy to research. August 5, 2010, Portland, OR.
Take a vacation to one of the greenest cities in the country and join us by bike to learn in a fun and collaborative atmosphere about how the sum of the parts (inlets, outlets, check dams, etc) in a variety of vegetated stormwater facilities (rain gardens, bioswales, infiltration basins, green streets, planters) can be designed, constructed, and maintained to improve or impact the watersheds in which we build them. Who should attend? Beginner to experienced designers, engineers, agency employees, developers, contractors, educators and others who want to be better prepared to make holistic choices.
Watershed Management Conference
. August 23-27, 2010. Madison, WI.
The American Society of Civil Engineers' Environmental & Water Resources Institute (EWRI) is sponsoring the 2010 Watershed Management Conference: Innovations in Watershed Management Under Land Use and Climate Change. The conferencewill highlight innovative approaches for managing water resources under climate and land use change. Relevant topics include hydrologic measurement and modeling, integrated and/or adaptive water management, aquatic ecosystem restoration, risk-based design, and the use of regional predictions of climate change.
2010 Land Trust Alliance Conference
. October 2-5, 2010. Hartford, CT.
Registration is open for the annual Land Trust Alliance Conference ("Rally"). Pre-conference seminars and field trips are scheduled October 2-3, and plenary and concurrent sessions are scheduled October 4-5.
The theme of the 2010 American Water Resources Association (AWRA) annual conference is Community, Conversation, Connections. The conference will be held at the Loews Philadelphia Hotel and includes an exciting week filled with presentations on the latest water resources topics and productive community building, conversation and connections.Partners in Community Forestry National Conference. November 9-11, 2010. Philadelphia, PA.
Join watershed officials and hundreds of urban forestry professionals and volunteers at the 2010 Partners in Community Forestry National Conference, November 9-11, at the Loews Philadelphia Hotel. This year's event promises general and concurrent educational sessions, exhibitors, urban forestry tours, and networking opportunities with peers and leaders in urban and community forestry, including a networking reception at the historic Reading Terminal Market. The Partners in Community Forestry National Conference offers the latest in urban forest research, best practices in forest management, and models for strategic and sustainable partnerships. Register now online and save up to $50 off the regular conference registration price.
National NPS Monitoring Conference
. November 16-18, 2010. Milwaukee, WI.
The Annual Nonpoint Source Monitoring Workshop is an important forum for sharing information and improving communication for controlling and monitoring NPS pollution issues and projects. The focus of the 18th National Workshop is on nutrients and what lessons we have learned that can be factored into the projects funded under the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI). A number of technical workshops and interactive learning sessions will be offered to build knowledge and skills, transfer technology and promote innovative evaluation/documentation techniques. This conference will bring together NPS monitoring and management personnel from state, federal, Tribal and municipal governments, private sector, academia, environmental groups and local watershed groups. Early bird registration ends September 17, 2010.
Save the date for Coastal Zone 2011
! July 17-21, 2011. Chicago, IL.
In keeping with the location and acknowledging our changing coastal and ocean landscape, the overall conference theme is Winds of Change: Great Lakes, Great Oceans, Great Communities. Sessions will be organized around four conference tracks: Planning for Resilient Great Lakes, Coasts, and Ecosystems; Healthy Habitats, Healthy Coastal and Great Lakes Communities; Observing, Modeling, and Monitoring; and Vibrant Coastal, Great Lakes, and Marine Economies. Abstracts for panel, poster, special sessions, cafe conversations, and training workshops are due on October 8, 2010, and must be submitted online.
|Cool Links |
"Cool Links" provides information on some new or new-found resources that are helpful to watershed managers and stormwater professionals.
National LID Atlas version 2
The National NEMO Network is excited to announce the release of version 2 of the National LID Atlas
. Based on your feedback, they have made several adjustments to the Atlas that should make it an even more user friendly resource for adding and locating Low Impact Development projects around the country.
USGS Report Shows Aquatic Life Declines at Early Stages of Urban Development
A new USGS report explains the effects of urban development on stream ecosystem health. Aquatic insect communities show little, if any, initial resistance to low levels of urban development that were previously thought to be protective of aquatic life. The study showed, for example, that by the time a watershed reaches about 10 percent impervious cover in urban areas, aquatic insect communities are degraded by as much as 33 percent in comparison to aquatic insect communities in forested watersheds.
The USGS determined the magnitude and pattern of the physical, chemical, and biological response of streams to increasing urbanization and how these responses vary throughout nine metropolitan areas. Comparisons among the nine metropolitan areas show that not all urban streams respond in a similar way. Land cover prior to urbanization can affect how aquatic insects and fish respond to urban development and is important to consider in setting realistic stream restoration goals in urban areas. Learn more about how stream ecosystems respond to urban development from USGS reports and video podcasts on the USGS website
2010 Gulf Oil Spill Effect on Wetlands Webpage
The Association of State Wetland Managers (ASWM) has launched a new webpage
on the 2010 Gulf Oil spill's effect on wetlands. The page includes recent projections, media
coverage, blogs, legislative action, resources, and maps showing the area hit by the spill. New Web Tools to Inform the Public about Clean Water Enforcement
EPA is launching a new set of web tools, data, and interactive maps to inform the public
about serious Clean Water Act violations in their communities. The new web page provides interactive information from EPA's 2008 Annual Noncompliance Report, which pertains to about 40,000 permitted Clean Water Act dischargers across the country. The report lists state-by-state summary data of violations and enforcement responses taken by the states for smaller facilities. The specific tools include an Interactive Map for Clean Water Act Annual Noncompliance Report
, State Review Framework
andEnforcement and Compliance History Online
. Online Mapping Tools Illustrates Marine Fisheries Habitat
NOAA has developed an online mapping tool-the Essential Fish Habitat (EFH) Mapper
to help illustrate the marine habitat most important to fisheries and potential threats to
essential fish habitat. The EFH Mapper contains maps and text descriptions by geographic area of interest. Pond/Wetland Management Guidebook
EPA has released a guidebook
that describes maintenance and inspection practices for
existing wet ponds and wetlands. The guide includes checklists for use during construction and routine maintenance of ponds/wetlands, and also includes a home owner pond inspection checklist. Maintenance profile sheets describe how to address eight different common maintenance issues. Online Tool Generates Outreach Materials
The Source Water Collaborative
, a group of federal, state and local partners working to protect America's drinking water, recently released a toolkit called "Your Water. Your Decision." Using this interactive, online toolkit, you can create a customized drinking water outreach guide targeted at your local policymakers. In just a few minutes, the tool will generate a printable document that emphasizes your local or regional drinking water issues, lists available local and state resources, and includes concrete steps that local officials can take to protect source water.
Handbook Highlights Psychology of Sustainable Behavior
Dr. Christie Manning with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency recently released The Psychology of Sustainable Behavior: Tips for empowering people to take environmentally positive action
. The handbook introduces readers to research-based tips from psychology to help support personal, community and workplace efforts to empower sustainability. The handbook begins with an overview of the psychology of sustainable behavior, providing a short background on this field of study. The handbook then describes how the tips from psychology fit into sustainability campaigns and explains how individual sustainability contributes to broader social and policy change. Balanced Ecosystems Seen in Organic Agriculture Better at Controlling Pests, Research FindsScienceDaily
(July 1, 2010) - There really is a balance of nature, but as accepted as that thought is, it has rarely been studied. Now Washington State University researchers writing in the journal Nature have found that more balanced animal and plant communities typical of organic farms work better at fighting pests and growing a better plant. The researchers looked at insect pests and their natural enemies in potatoes and found organic crops had more balanced insect populations in which no one species of insect has a chance to dominate. And in test plots, the crops with the more balanced insect populations grew better. New Rapid Detection Method for Bacteria Developed
Engineers from the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science have developed a new in-field method for analyzing bacteria concentrations in marine water and freshwater in less than one hour. The new rapid method represents a field-portable alternative to more expensive procedures, particularly where larger-scale, expensive equipment is not readily accessible. To decrease the time to determine results, the researchers outfitted a portable kit to test samples for bacterial concentrations. Read more at the UCLANewsroom
. Washington Stormwater Research Report Available
The Water Environment Research Foundation recently released Flow Control and Water Quality Treatment Performance of a Residential Low Impact Development Pilot Project in Western Washington
. This report documents the results from one of the first low impact development (LID) monitoring efforts in the Puget Sound region. Funded in part by the USEPA, it is one of a few projects nationally to evaluate the performance of LID practices when integrated into a residential stormwater management system. LID practices used in the project design include bioretention swales, pervious concrete, compost amended soils and surface flow dispersion.
New Report on Sediment and Nutrient Loads from Stream Corridor Erosion
A report entitled "Sediment and nutrient loads from stream corridor erosion along breached millponds
" was recently authored by Dorothy Merritts, Robert Walter, and Michael A. Rahnis at Franklin and Marshall College, and is available for download in Word and PDF format. Along with Franklin and Marshall College, PADEP supported the study and findings. Given the ubiquitous nature of legacy sediment in PA and elsewhere, these findings and estimates demonstrate the magnitude of the problem. The report illustrates the reality that many previous assumptions and models, focused largely on modern land use and activities as the dominant source of suspended sediment and nutrient loads, need to be re-evaluated and adjusted in many watersheds. Modeling results presented in this paper identify the current and likely future trajectory of incised channels, typical in many watersheds today, and their likelihood to produce substantial sediment and nutrient loads for a period that is on the order of centuries. This trajectory is in stark contrast to natural functioning stream corridors and ecosystems that are the goal of management practices we are developing specifically to restore ecological function and value in watersheds impaired by legacy sediment.
Runoff Rundown Team: Karen Cappiella, Dave Hirschman, Joe Battiata, Laurel Woodworth and Lori Lilly
If you have suggestions for future Runoff Rundown content, or would like to contribute an article, contact us at email@example.com