Winter 2013 Issue #49
Happy New Year from the Center for Watershed Protection!
In 2013, Runoff Rundown will be getting a makeover that includes a new online format as well as changes in content, beginning with the April 2013 issue. One big change is that Runoff Ramblings will become a stand-alone blog featuring both Center staff and guest bloggers. So, tell us: who would you like to see blogging about stormwater? what topics would you like to read about? what other content would you like to see in Runoff Rundown? Please send your feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org.
|It was a cold and windy day for our annual Center Christmas hike|
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Runoff Ramblings: Great Songs About Great Storms
by David Hirschman and Laurel Woodworth
A few days after Hurricane Sandy, relief efforts were not the only activity to spring up. Another thing that kicked into high gear: songs about the storm. What is it about great storms and floods that lead to great music? There are indeed a multitude of songs about storms and floods, and this trend seems to have persisted through history. Since storms and floods seem to be a constant in our lives, we thought you might enjoy a sampling of a couple of our favorite songs about "extreme hydrologic events." Perhaps not by accident, all of these examples emanate from the Gulf Coast - known for both its terrific storms and terrific music.
Wasn't That A Mighty Storm
Up until modern times (e.g., Hurricane Katrina), one of most devastating storms in U.S. history hit Galveston, Texas on September 8, 1900. A hurricane coupled with extremely high tides killed approximately 6,000 residents and wiped out much of the city (reportedly, 3,000 homes were washed completely away). This storm, coming before the era of accurate storm forecasting, gave residents little time to move to higher ground (which seems to be in short supply in the coastal Galveston area).
Such a devastating event certainly deserves a good song, and "Wasn't That A Mighty Storm" fits the bill. The song's origins are a little "swampy," but the first recording was apparently made in 1934 by a Library of Congress folk song collector named John Lomax. The singer: none other than a preacher named Sin-Killer Griffin, with prison inmates at Darrington State Farm Prison serving as the audience and chorus (I couldn't make this up, could I?). We don't know if this is the original 1934 recording, but this version showed up on YouTube a couple of months ago, complements of Sam Collins and, of course, good ol' Sin-Killer.
"Wasn't That A Mighty Storm" was rediscovered in the 1950s during the folk revival. Tom Rush's versions are probably the most iconic from that era. This YouTube video by Thomas Hynes features Tom Rush and friends doing a decidedly up-temp, foot-stompin' version of the song, set in startling contrast to images from the storm's aftermath, and even a map of the storm track. The song does sound upbeat and almost jubilant; I suppose that is what you get from the passing of a century and a few generations; this storm has passed in the realm of folklore (unless you live in Galveston, I suppose).
"Wasn't That A Mighty Storm" has also be performed by the likes of James Taylor, Nanci Griffith, and a great bluesy version by the Winnipeg-based Duhks. Those and other versions are available on your favorite music purchase/download site. One interesting historical note: the song references a floodway around Galveston, but such a wall apparently did not exist for much of the City in 1900.
Another great flood song is "Louisiana 1927," written by Randy Newman as part of his 1974 Good Old Boys album. This is a moving, lyrical account of the "greatest flood in U.S. history." As the song indicates, this 1927 flood moved down the Mississippi, busting levees and flooding bottomlands from Cairo, Illinois down through Saint Bernards and Plaquemines parishes in Louisiana (some the latter intentionally dynamited, in theory to protect New Orleans). In the end, roughly 27,000 square miles were inundated.
Newman's ballad recounts not only the flood, but also the indifference shown by politicians, including President Coolidge, to the plight of those suffering terribly in the Deep South in the flood's aftermath, a familiar storyline in the Hurricane Katrina saga (see below). John M. Barry's remarkable book, Rising Tide: The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 and How It Changed America (Simon & Schuster, 1997), provides a narrative of this flood and explores the intersection of culture, politics, and river engineering.
We love this YouTube version of Newman's song, accompanied by photos and several maps. The song and images together evoke the heartbreak brought on by the devastating flood. This song has been covered by other musicians as well, but we particularly like the version by Old School Freight Train.
Music & Hurricane Katrina
As demonstrated above, when tragedy hits a city like New Orleans and the Mississippi Delta, you can bet that some music will surface soon thereafter. In the case of Hurricane Katrina, so many songs emerged out of the muddy waters of its aftermath that it's impossible to point to just one as its anthem. Music-making had a major role in post-Katrina relief, not only for fundraising and but also for catharsis. Just look at this long list of charity songs for Hurricane Katrina, some old but revived for the occasion, some written specifically about what happened on the Gulf Coast in August 2005. There are blues and big brass songs, rap and hip-hop, symphonic instrumentals, and more, many of them not just unfolding the story of the massive storm, but railing on the government and others for not doing more to save those stuck in the flood and its fury.
Go Online & Buy Some Good Storm Music
Certainly, there's lots of free music available on YouTube and other sites. However, in the interests of supporting the musicians we are referencing in this article, please consider purchasing some of these tunes on the site of your choice. You can consider the following, and you are certainly encouraged to send along YOUR favorite storm and flood songs. Please email Dave at email@example.com.
- Tom Rush, Tom Rush: New Year (2007)
- Nanci Griffith, Other Voices Too ( A Trip Back To Bountiful) (1998)
- The Duhks, Fast Paced World (2008)
- Randy Newman, Good Old Boys (1974; remastered in 2002)
- Old School Freight Train, Run (2005)
- Multiple songs/albums from the Hurricane Katrina list
Planting Trees for Water Quality in Virginia
by Karen Cappiella
The Center recently completed a project in Clarke County, Virginia focused on restoring forests to help achieve the nutrient and sediment load reductions required by the Chesapeake Bay TMDL. The goal of the Bay TMDL is to reduce nitrogen, phosphorus and suspended sediment loadings, and each of the six Chesapeake Bay states and the District of Columbia has developed a Watershed Implementation Plan (WIP) to meet their pollutant limits. Tree planting and forest buffers are key practices identified in the WIPs. For example, Maryland has committed to reforesting rural residential land at a rate of 100 acres/year, the District of Columbia will increase urban tree canopy from 35% to 40% over 25 years, and Virginia's WIP includes planting 99,437 acres of agricultural forest buffers.
Forest restoration strategies are some of the most cost-effective for achieving TMDL goals and can also help to meet other environmental mandates including MS4 permit requirements and air quality goals. Trees and forests improve water and air quality, provide recreational opportunities and wildlife habitat, and strengthen local economies, thereby improving the quality of life for everyone. Riparian forest buffers are particularly cost-effective, given that the Chesapeake Bay Program's Watershed Model provides double nutrient reduction "credit" for reforesting these areas since they effectively treat runoff from adjacent land. However, not all forest buffers are created equal; certain landscape attributes allow some sites to provide conditions where restoring forest buffers are even more cost effective as a result of enhanced nutrient processing. Local governments in the Chesapeake Bay region will ultimately need to determine their role in contributing to implementation of these strategies, and they will need to do it in a cost-effective manner.
The major goals of this project goals were to: 1) increase tree canopy in Clarke County, and 2) target forest restoration to sites with greater water quality benefit to help guide future County forest restoration actions to meet WIP goals.
Research by the USGS and USDA has shown that nutrient removal effectiveness of riparian buffers is dependent on site-specific factors such as depth to water table, soil properties and topography. Based on this research, Okay and Feldt (2010) proposed a Riparian Forest Buffer Targeting Matrix to identify areas with greater nutrient removal potential. The Center tested out this matrix in Clarke County, a small primarily agricultural county located in the Northern Shenandoah Valley, just 60 miles west of Washington, D.C. The western section of the County contains its two incorporated towns, Berryville and Boyce.
The Riparian Forest Buffer Targeting Matrix is a GIS-based analysis that involves overlaying map layers representing depth to water table, slope, land use, and nutrient loading. A rank and weight are assigned to each layer, which are in grid (raster) format. The ranking and weights are used to determine a total score for each grid cell, which indicates its relative importance to nutrient reduction. The final grid created for Clarke County is shown in Figure 1, and was overlain with other map layers to identify priority planting parcels. The resulting top-ranked parcels were those that:
- were located within 100 feet of a stream
- had the majority of cells in the parcel ranked as High potential for nutrient reduction
- were located adjacent to an impaired waterway
- were greater than two acres in size
|Figure 1. Map of nutrient reduction potential in Clarke County, VA|
The results provide a starting point for the County to approach property owners of the top-ranked parcels about their interest in reforestation. Details on how to apply the Riparian Forest Buffer Targeting Matrix are included in Planting Trees for Water Quality: Guidance for Chesapeake Bay Communities. This guide provides information for Chesapeake Bay communities to identify where tree planting and forest buffers are needed and can provide the most benefit, and to quantify the potential pollutant reductions associated with implementation.
To help jumpstart the County's reforestation efforts, a major portion of the project funds were dedicated to implementation of tree planting projects.
|Figure 2. Residential reforestation site in Berryville, VA|
The Center worked in conjunction with Clarke County and the Town of Berryville to reforest 18 acres of riparian land on approximately 6,740 linear feet of stream bank. The planting sites included the Town of Berryville's Waste Water Treatment Plant, homeowners' association land in the Town of Berryville (Figure 2), and one agricultural site located in the northern part of the County. Led by Center Forester Bryan Seipp, the projects were completed in December 2012 and all landowners have agreed to provide reasonable maintenance throughout the establishment period.
"West, Virginia, There is a Stormwater Manual"
By David Hirschman
We're not sure if Santa ever put a stormwater manual in someone's stocking (gosh. . .thanks Santa!), but the holiday season is behind us, and West Virginia DOES have its first ever statewide stormwater management manual. The West Virginia Stormwater Management & Design Guidance Manual is hot off the presses. The Center produced this manual for the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection.
This manual focuses on compliance for an innovative standard in West Virginia's MS4 General Permit, which is for new development and redevelopment sites to "keep and manage on-site the first one inch of
rainfall. . ." As such, the permit and associated manual provide a framework of computations, site design, and practice selection to achieve this runoff reduction objective. Controlling runoff volume has become an important and growing standard for stormwater programs across the country.
Several features of the manual include:
- Incentives for Good Site Design: The manual and computational framework allow "better site design" practices (e.g., reducing impervious cover, protecting on-site natural features) to help achieve the one-inch volume reduction standard. The manual also includes such practices as impervious cover disconnection and sheetflow to conservation areas as practices "on-par" with other structural practices in terms of achieving stormwater objectives.
- BMP Design Features Tied to Runoff Reduction Capabilities: Aside from better site design, the manual contains detailed specifications for eleven stormwater practices. For most practices, design is categorized as "Level 1" or "Level 2" based on design features instrumental in reducing runoff volume. Therefore, designers can add elements that boost runoff reduction and thus receive more credit towards reducing the volume requirement for the site.
- Associated Tools: The manual works in concert with a Design Compliance Spreadsheet and several downloadable tools (e.g., plan review, construction, and maintenance checklists, rainwater harvesting spreadsheet, computer-aided design files) to provide a compliance package for both site designers and MS4 plan reviewers.
The manual also uses many graphics to show practice cross-sections and features (see example below).
The manual and associated tools can be downloaded from the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection website.
Keeping it Clean in the Kinnickinnic
By Reid Christianson, Bill Stack, and Deb Caraco
In 2012, the Center partnered with the Kinnickinnic River Land Trust on a three phase watershed planning project in the Kinnickinnic (Kinni) watershed, a tributary to the St. Croix River located in western Wisconsin. The project goal is to track nutrient reduction progress resulting from past, current, and future implementation of water quality BMPs. The strong culture of stewardship in the Kinni watershed and the excitingly substantial level of stakeholder involvement play an important role in this project. Although the effort is in response to the Lake St. Croix Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) for phosphorus, the desire to support and encourage all stakeholders in their efforts is also a significant driver. The rationale is that if people see that they are doing well, they will continue their efforts.
The primarily agricultural Kinni watershed includes a Class 1 trout stream along with several urban communities that have expressed interest in implementing stormwater BMPs. Over the years, agricultural BMPs have been implemented with cost share money as part of environmental conservation programs. These efforts were tracked at the county scale and did not necessarily collect information needed for estimating impacts on water quality.
In 1999, The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, and St. Croix and Pierce County Land Conservation Departments developed a comprehensive ten year Non-Point Source Control Plan for the Kinni to address sediment and phosphorus as well as other water quality issues related to wetland habitat restoration, thermal pollution and groundwater protection. This impressive effort identified specific on-the-ground problem areas and located many of the BMPs that had been implemented in the years prior to the plan.
Following these efforts, the next natural question was "how well are these BMPs doing to improve water quality?" To answer this question requires at least one of two things: (1) water quality monitoring to document the impact of various practices throughout the watershed or (2) a tool to catalogue and report efforts that have been made on the ground, and estimate their water quality benefits. Although there are future plans for monitoring water quality in the Kinni, a lack of existing water quality data directed the current efforts to focus on developing a tool to catalogue and track BMP implementation with the idea that the tool can ultimately be reconciled with water monitoring information as it becomes available.
The Center is currently in Phase I of the project, which involves developing standards for BMP tracking and pollutant reduction estimates in the Kinni watershed. In approaching this task, Center staff needed to develop an understanding of the BMPs in place in the watershed, the methods used to track their implementation and the best studies available to quantify their benefits. In addition, it required an assessment of ongoing efforts to characterize the land cover in the watershed in better detail.
The first step was to organize a Technical Advisory Group comprised of researchers, conservation agents, representatives from both Minnesota and Wisconsin's state environmental agencies, local governments, and consultants who have worked on the St. Croix TMDL. Through a series of face to face meetings, conference calls and one-on-one conversations, the advisory group members shared their experiences, frustrations and needs in developing a more robust tracking tool that can be used at the field level and scaled to measure progress at the watershed level.
The findings from these discussions are that past efforts to track BMPs were not robust enough to track progress towards meeting the TMDL because of:
- Tracking goals that were not initially designed to measure progress towards achieving the TMDL
- Issues related to the protection of privacy of landowners participating in the program
- Lack of a centralized clearinghouse/database
- Change in personnel and difficulty in finding local records
- Limited capacity of some urban areas to track stormwater management BMPs
Though previous efforts were not perfect, the lessons learned and the progress made since these initial efforts are being utilized by the Center along with current science to complete a Phase I project report. The report includes:
- Methods currently used to calculate BMP efficiencies in the Kinni Watershed
- Inconsistencies between techniques (e.g., BMPs where different efficiencies were assigned)
- Problems associated with tracking practices (examples may include: procedures for tracking temporary practices, or potential gaps resulting in underreporting of some practices)
- Coefficients and loading rates for more detailed land uses (e.g., crop type versus a broad "agricultural" classification)
- Measures to calculate benefits of multiple practices applied on a single property
- Gaps in knowledge after this initial data review
The next steps in the project include developing a comprehensive, yet flexible, tool to allow individual practices to be tracked across the agricultural and urban sectors. The resulting database will be used to inform larger watershed models such as the Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT), which will be used for TMDL compliance. Though the focus for Lake St. Croix is phosphorus, this effort will additionally include nitrogen due to a pending Gulf of Mexico TMDL. The Kinnickinnic River Land Trust is currently pursuing funding for the next project phase. The hope is that the Kinni will serve as a model for the other subwatersheds in the St. Croix River basin.
|Trainings and Conferences
Wednesday, February 13, 2013
Eastern: 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm Central: 11:00 am - 1:00 pm
Mountain: 10:00 am - 12:00 pm Pacific: 9:00 am - 11:00 am
Good housekeeping refers to the assessment and subsequent alteration of municipal operations to reduce the amount and types of pollution entering the storm drain system. It is also an opportunity to use municipal facilities and operations to demonstrate better (or at least proper) stormwater management and can be a part of a community's overall stormwater education and outreach program. This webcast will provide a working knowledge of the basic requirements for municipal pollution prevention and good housekeeping measures. The webcast will also discuss public and private stormwater hotspots, their identification and appropriate follow-up.
February 21-22, 2013
Toronto, Ontario Canada
The annual International Conference on Stormwater and Urban Water Systems Modeling is a forum for professionals from across North America and overseas to exchange ideas and experience on current practices and emerging technologies. This forum is for engineers, scientists, modelers and administrators involved in water pollution control and water systems design and analysis.
March 3-6, 2013
San Diego, CA
The 2013 Geo-Congress will provide a cost-effective program that will provide
you a full-spectrum view of the dozens of geotechnical aspects related to embankments, dams, and slopes. From intensive short courses to a comprehensive range of technical sessions including case history evaluation, numerical modeling, field testing, monitoring, rehabilitation and more, your time and money will be well spent. Engineering Green 2013March 6, 2013
Engineering Green 2013 is an event for civil engineers, landscape architects, property owners, developers and others interested in the engineering design of a sustainable site. This one day conference will showcase projects in the commercial and government sectors in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. The day will include four sessions (with 2 or 3 presentations to choose from in each) in which presenters will give an in-depth look at project design, implementation, and lessons learned.
March 9, 2013
The Delaware Riverkeeper Network is pleased to announce the Call for Presenters for the 2013 Watershed Congress along the Schuylkill. The Watershed Congress has evolved over 15 years to advance the best available information and techniques for protecting and restoring watersheds. The 2013 Watershed Congress will be held at the Montgomery County Community College-West Campus in Pottstown, Pennsylvania. Submissions are due by 5:00 PM, Wednesday, October 31st, 2012.
2013 AWRA Spring Specialty Conference- Agricultural Hydrology and Water Quality II
March 25-27, 2013
St. Louis, MO
This conference has a great program featuring the latest advancements in agriculture and water resources research and management. The conference is designed to give researchers, policy makers, practitioners and industry representatives the unique 0pportunity to exchange new ideas, interact in a casual setting, and build new and lasting partnerships.
2013 Ohio Stormwater Conference
May 8-10, 2013
The annual Conference is recognized by stormwater professionals throughout Ohio as a key industry event. Over 400 decision makers including stormwater managers, municipal governement professionals, county government representatives, state and local agencies, educational institutions, designers, engineers, contractors, project managers, consultants and distributors attend this conference on an annual basis.
24th Annual Northeastern Nonpoint Source Conference
May 14 & 15, 2013
New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission, in partnership with its member states, has been coordinating the Annual Nonpoint Source (NPS) Pollution Conference, the premier forum in the Northeast region for sharing information and improving communication on NPS pollution issues and projects. The conference brings together all those in New England and New York State involved in NPS pollution management, including participants from state. federal, and municipal governments, private sector, academia, and watershed organizations.
River Rally 2013
May 17-20, 2013
St. Louis, MO
River Rally attracts a great diversity of conservation leaders, bringing new ideas for the best water resource protection strategies to participants. River Rally 2013 will have a special focus on environmental justice and human health issues (as they relate to our water resources). Event organizers expect more than 400 clean water advocates from across the country, and River Rally provides an excellent opportunity to share your experience with a broad audience.
June 9-13, 2013
American Water Works Association (AWWA) recognizes the increasing challenges facing water professionals, including increasing regulatory demands, replacing deteriorating infrastructure, and maintaining financially sound operations. ACE13 will provide the solutions you seek.
International Congress for Conservation Biology
July 21-25, 2013
The Society for Conservation Biology is seeking proposals for symposia, workshops, focus groups and short courses now through October 31, 2012 for the 2013 International Congress for Conservation Biology (ICCB). "Connecting Systems, Disciplines and Stakeholders" is the theme for the Congress, which will feature cutting edge symposia, workshops, posters, and focus groups; countless networking opportunities, fantastic field trips, and world-renowned speakers. Proposals must be submitted online.
2013 International Low Impact Development Symposium
August 18-21, 2013
Saint Paul, MN
The 2013 International Low Impact Development (LID) Symposium is being hosted in the Midwestern United States through a collaborative effort between many states, universities, and organizations. From the Great Lakes to the Mississippi Watershed, every state in the Midwestern United States is addressing urban water quality issues from combined sewer overflows to stormwater runoff. The 2013 International LID Symposium will bring together over 1,000 professionals to share their research, implementation, policy, financing, and education strategies to build and restore cities while protecting our environment.
August 18-22, 2013
Myrtle Beach, SC
Stormwater management is a fast-changing discipline and StormCon is the only professional conference and exposition where you can learn about the latest stormwater program management innovations, BMPs performance case studies, research, technology, and services. Take advantage of StormCon's early bird registration rates and register today.
" Cool Links" provides information on some new and new-found resources that are helpful to watershed managers and stormwater professionals.
Two New USGS Reports on Urban Streams Released
The USGS National Water Quality Assessment (NAWQA) Program recently released the results of a study that was done to better understand the effects of urban development on streams and aquatic life in different regions of the country. Results of this nationwide study and details about the effects of urbanization on the nine metropolitan areas can be found in a new USGS publication titled, "Effects of urban development on stream ecosystems in nine metropolitan study areas across the United States". Management strategies used throughout the U.S. to reduce the impacts of urban development on stream ecosystems are described in a new USGS report written in partnership with the Center for Watershed Protection in Maryland titled "Strategies for Managing the Effects of Urban Development on Streams."
Stormwater Solutions Website
Oregon State University Extension/Sea Grant's Stormwater Solutions website contains many resources and tools that could be used on any site, anywhere. The site includes a Site Planning Checklist, LID Checklist, criteria for siting BMPs, LID design details, and much more.
Nine Ways to Make Green Infrastructure Work
To help communities implement green infrastructure, Regional Plan Association has produced a guide on how cities and can make green infrastructure a part of land use and other decisions. The guide showcases nine approaches that planners and policy makers have relied on to successfully integrate these technologies, from securing spaces to funding construction to managing implementation. This report takes demonstrates how municipal planners and officials can manage stormwater and wastewater more effectively through conservation of forests, fields and wetlands, as well as engineered processes that draw inspiration from nature. The full report is titled Nine Ways to Make Green Infrastructure Work.
Source Tracking Protocol Development Project
The City of Santa Barbara and University of California, Santa Barbara worked together on a Source Tracking Protocol Development Project, The project focuses on finding sources of human waste in storm drains and creeks and products include a short document that provides an overview of tools available and successful examples of their use and a much more detailed and technical report.
NEMO Rain Garden App
Want to Build a Rain Garden? Well, go ahead...and let your phone be your guide! The new NEMO Rain Garden smart phone App will show you how. The App has diagrams, videos, and special tools to help you plan, site, size, build, plant and maintain your garden. Let the Rain Garden App help you beautify your property and, at the same time, manage stormwater in a more natural way. To download the RG App straight away go right to the iTunes App Store.
EPA's LID "Barrier Busters" Fact Sheet Series
EPA has just released a fact sheet series on the benefits of Low Impact Development (LID) and addressing obstacles to wider adoption of LID. This seven-part series of fact sheets is primarily intended for state and local decision makers who are considering adoption of LID, but who have concerns with LID. These fact sheets explain the benefits of LID in clear terms and through examples. Specific fact sheets in this series directly address specific concerns that have been raised about adopting LID, thereby busting barriers.
Low Impact Development Video Series
The Center for Watershed Protection is pleased to announce the release of a three part instructional video series on Low Impact Development construction, installation and maintenance. These videos were produced in cooperation with the Chesapeake Stormwater Network with funding from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and additional support from Walmart and the Keith Campbell Foundation.
Runoff Rundown Team:
Karen Cappiella (editor), Reid Christianson, Katrina Harrison, David Hirschman, Erin Johnson, Bill Stack, and Laurel Woodworth
If you have suggestions for future Runoff Rundown content, or would like to contribute an article, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org