SPONGE CITIES: “There’s been a further shift toward a recognition that nature itself cleans and controls rainwater better than any engineered solution,” wrote George Le Masurier in the first in a series published on decafnation.net

Note to Reader:

On his decafnation.net website, retired journalist George Le Masurier  has posted a series of articles exploring the adverse effects on our waterways from how municipalities have traditionally managed stormwater runoff, and the slow shift to mimic natural through green infrastructure. In the first in a series, posted in November 2018, he looks at how municipalities are implementing green infrastructure to create “sponge cities”.

“Small communities can no longer count on private media companies to provide the breadth or depth of reporting necessary to hold governments accountable or for a thorough understanding of the important community issues. So Decafnation has launched the Civic Journalism Project to expand and complement local reporting. Volunteer Citizen Journalists are being trained to fill this role,” states George Le Masurier.(www.civicjournalismproject.ca)

Can green innovations stop polluted stormwater from killing our waters?

“Stormwater runoff is the main reason why many urban streams are devoid of fish or linger on aquatic life-support, and why these streams can pose a public health risk for children who play in them,” wrote George Le Masurier in the first of his latest series of articles about rainwater management,published in January 2019.

Local Governments are Making Progress

“But a shift in thinking about traditional methods of handling stormwater began to occur during the 1980s and 1990s toward constructing wetlands and ponds to detain rainwater long enough for contaminates to settle out and allow some water to infiltrate back into the ground. This gave hope there was a means of cleaning our streams and extending the life of municipal infrastructure.

“The list and variety of innovations for managing stormwater through green infrastructure is long and growing.

“Municipalities in the Comox Valley and elsewhere have focused heavily on drinking water and wastewater treatment in the past. But now their attention has turned sharply toward improving how we manage stormwater.

“The change may seem to be coming too late for streams, like Golf Creek in Comox, that are almost entirely buried and channelized. But challenging initiatives like the 100-year plan to restore Bowker Creek in Victoria and the campaign to save the Morrision Creek headwaters between Courtenay and Cumberland may someday restore fish in our streams and keep our waters open to shellfish harvesting.”

To Learn More:

To read the complete story by George Le Masurier in decafnation.net, download Can green innovations stop polluted stormwater from killing our waters?

To read the 4th in the series, posted previously on waterbucket.ca, click on RAINWATER MANAGEMENT IN THE COMOX VALLEY: “Our local governments have commonly relied on hard engineering solutions that employ expensive infrastructure. That approach has left us with a long-term financial burden we cannot afford,” wrote George Le Masurier in an article explaining why there is now a shift toward green infrastructure on Vancouver Island

Grasses ready to plant in the rain gardens that line Courtenay’s Fifth Street renovation. George Le Masurier photo