Question: What do you get when you bring together 100 planners, engineers, landscape architects, researchers, local officials, and government employees to talk about green stormwater infrastructure (GSI)?
Answer: A dynamic, interactive, and energized workshop.
Last week the Raising the Bar: Green Stormwater Infrastructure Planning & Design workshop took place in South Burlington. The workshop was hosted by Green Works in partnership with the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation’s Ecosystem Restoration Program and the Vermont Urban & Community Forestry Program.
Facilitated primarily by the knowledgeable and charismatic David Hirschman from the Center for Watershed Protection, with the assistance of Andres Torizzo of Watershed Consulting Associates, Dr. Robert Roseen from Geosyntec Consultants, and Justin Kenney, Green Infrastructure Coordinator with the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation, participants were kept on their toes over the course of the two-day workshop. Day one was packed full of concise and informative presentations covering topics from rainwater harvesting to GSI planning in rural locations to the role of large trees in stormwater mitigation. Case studies on green roofs, nutrient removal, and permeable pavement projects were included throughout the day and participants had plenty of time to share their experiences and challenges. Day two focused on an interactive design charette; small teams were formed to visit two local sites to consider existing stormwater runoff conditions and to propose GSI practices that could meet a 1” runoff reduction standard.
As the State of Vermont revises its Stormwater Management Manual, forums such as the Raising the Bar workshop are invaluable for the practitioners, planners, and community leaders who work around stormwater management and will be influenced by the new manual. By providing a space and ample time to learn about and share innovations, current research, challenges, and lessons learned, workshop participants left with new perspectives, new information, new contacts, and new hands-on experience with GSI practices: the bar certainly has been raised.
A pdf version of the workshop presentations can be found here.
Green stormwater infrastructure encompasses a set of systems and practices that mimic or utilize natural processes to manage stormwater runoff.