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United States

New York City’s $US 1.9 Billion Program to Combat Flooding includes Hundreds of Rain Gardens in the Borough of Queens


“Southeast Queens has been plagued for generations with flooding. There are many factors that are the cause of this problem; but its residents have still suffered with their homes and streets being overrun with water whenever there is a storm,” Community Board 13 District Manager Mark McMillan said. “Rain gardens are an example of an environmentally friendly way that both beautifies communities while providing drainage in flood prone areas.”

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HARD WORK OF HOPE: “Our rivers are being reborn after a century of decline. This is a defining moment for all the communities that live in our Santa Cruz Watershed,” wrote Lisa Shipek, Executive Director, Watershed Management Group (Tuscon, Arizona)


“It’s not just the Santa Cruz that is being reborn. I have good news to share from other parts of our watershed. The nonprofit I direct, Watershed Management Group, has been monitoring creek flows across the Tucson basin since 2017,” stated Lisa Shipek. “Having flow in the Santa Cruz River downtown provides a daily visual of what a desert river looks like, which will help open the hearts and minds of the greater community to what is possible. We should rejoice alongside the Tohono O’Odham Nation and work with it to restore flow to our rivers and quicken our pace towards a more resilient future.”

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Stream daylighting would reconnect community to Mississippi River: Redevelopment of historic Ford car assembly site in Saint Paul, Minnesota offers potential for “A 21st Century Community”


There once was a creek running through the St. Paul land where Henry Ford built his Twin Cities Assembly Plant. The project will reintroduce area residents to the Mississippi River.“We know we have a new neighborhood and how do we allow the existing neighbors and new neighbors to physically connect with the river as a resource?” he asked. “This is so powerful, because it’s also a way to have people reconnect with the urban ecosystem and the downstream river.”

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VIDEO: “Maximum Extent Practicable, or MEP, has become the definitional driver for a lot of what we do,” said Andy Reese, engineer and writer who coined the term Voodoo Hydrology in 2006 to explain the pitfalls inherent in urban drainage practice


“Years ago I was privileged to travel around the US with EPA putting on seminars,” stated Andy Reese in 2011. “Three off-the-cuff words have probably have had the biggest impact in influencing land design of any sort of regulatory program that ever was, and perhaps that ever will be. Those three words were maximum, extent and practicable. Back then, none of those words were capitalized. They were just a made-up term. But MEP is now taking on green infrastructure overtones, sustainability overtones, LID overtones, and on and on.”

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Green Infrastructure is a Resiliency Investment that Pays Dividends: “New York City can serve as a model for American coastal cities looking for ways to mitigate the effects of climate change,” says Carter Strickland, New York state director of The Trust for Public Land


With 520 miles of coastline, there are more residents living in high-risk flood zones in New York City than any other city in the United States. “As New York comes to grip with this new reality, the city, civic institutions, and community groups are building parks and playgrounds that incorporate plants, permeable pavement, greenroofs, green roofs, trees, bioswales, and rainwater catchment systems and other ‘green infrastructure’. This is important because cities are hotter than surrounding areas, and their residents are more vulnerable to heat waves, one of the greatest public health threats from climate change,” wrote Carter Strickland.

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VIDEO: Seattle Strategy for Green Stormwater Infrastructure – “GSI is an approach for mimicking the way intact forest ecosystems manage rainfall, to prevent stormwater pollution and make our neighborhoods greener and more livable at the same time,” stated Tracy Hackett


“Before our roads and houses were here, the native evergreen forests and that covered our Pacific Northwest landscape slowed and cleansed rainwater and helped it soak into the soil to recharge groundwater and replenish our creeks and rivers. Over the past 150 years, we have lost a great deal of this ecological function. We know now that the polluted runoff from impervious surfaces in urban areas is the number one threat to water quality in Puget Sound, that it’s toxic to salmon and other wildlife, and causes other problems like sewer overflows and flooding,” stated Tracy Hackett.

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“Washoe County, Nevada is one of the most rapidly urbanizing areas in the country. Why are cumulative impacts of development ignored?” asks engineer Kris Hemlein


“Cumulative environmental impacts can be defined as effects on the environment which are caused by the combined results of past, current and future activities,” wrote Kris Hemlein. “Human activities, with time, combine to collectively impact the environment. These effects may differ from the original, individual activities. For example, ecosystems can be damaged by the combined effects of human activities, such as air, land and/or water pollution; improper handling of industrial waste; and other human development activities. Do our county planners, planning commissioners and commissioners adequately consider cumulative impacts of urbanization on our existing residents?”

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Center for Infrastructure Modeling and Management: “The new Center has been set up as a sustainable undertaking. It is the combination of diverse needs, ideas and solutions that will make this vision for the Center work,” stated Dr. Charles Rowney, Director of Operations


“We’re so pleased with the agreement reached with the British Columbia Partnership for Water Sustainability. We have many needs in common, and many ideas to share. The leadership shown by the Partnership has led to a body of knowledge from which others can learn,” stated Charles Rowney. “British Columbia experience in whole-system, water balance based approaches in the Pacific Northwest adds a critical combination of tools and understanding to the water resources toolbox.”

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PHILADELPHIA’S BOLD PLAN: Green City, Clean Waters – an inter-generational commitment to “optimize and engineer the landscape” to mimic and restore its natural hydrologic regime!


Philadelphia hopes by the mid-2030s to create the largest green stormwater infrastructure in the United States. Nancy Stoner says the program was never solely about slashing combined sewer overflow, but also about providing larger environmental and social benefits. “Philadelphia wanted to do much more,” Stoner says. “They did a benefits analysis before they began that showed it would enhance air quality and climate resiliency. It takes the problem of stormwater and turns it into an amenity.”

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STORMCON 2017 (August 27-31): A Flood of Stormwater Management Experts to Hit the Shores of Puget Sound to Reassess Stormwater in Response to Climate Change


“The threat of extreme heat and climate change, however, remains an imminent public health risk in the Puget Sound region and across the globe. In addition to blistering heat waves, increased stormwater runoff, flooding, low flows, and drought are increasingly threatening public health and safety, as rainfall frequency, duration, and magnitude are contingent on the climate,” stated Brigette Burich.

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