Green stormwater infrastructure is a method of managing stormwater that uses natural processes to slow and treat surface runoff. The use of green stormwater infrastructure is growing at a steady pace and there are a number of examples to be seen throughout Vermont. Before Thanksgiving, a group of Agency of Natural Resources staff, along with partners from the Agency of Transportation, Lake Champlain Sea Grant, Stone Environmental, and Watershed Consulting Associates, took the opportunity to visit a few such examples in Chittenden and Franklin Counties. The group made stops at a porous concrete parking lot and Silva Cell in Burlington, a roadside drainage swale in Georgia, a reconstructed streetscape and constructed gravel wetland in St. Albans, and a newly renovated parking lot in Richmond.
At each site, the group discussed critical aspects of project design including function, maintenance and cost. “We visited a lot of sites,” says Justin Kenney, Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation (VT DEC) Green Infrastructure Coordinator. “Some were great and some could be improved. I always need to remind myself that Vermont is still in a demonstration mode when it comes to green stormwater infrastructure. We are at the beginning of a long journey and it will take some time to get it right. Seattle, Portland, and Philadelphia went through this same struggle. Now, after a few years of trial and error, they are starting to see the benefits to their economy, environment, and community. I’m hopeful that Vermont will get to the same point in the near future.”