This GRCx will cover a wide range of topics related to stormwater management, providing timely information for building owners, property managers, facility directors, operations managers, and anyone involved in urban planning decisions.
Stormwater management is a critical challenge facing Boston. Stormwater, or runoff, allows untreated water into Boston waterways. It also causes overland flooding, as existing systems lack the capacity to manage the volume of rain falling more frequently in higher-intensity storms. Making the necessary investments to enhance capacity while also limiting the amount of pollutants that enter local waterways will be a costly endeavor, and one needs to be integrated with other critical efforts to improve the city’s climate resiliency. The City and private property owners share the challenge, as the systems that convey, collect, and discharge stormwater cross public and private property lines.
As an alternative to traditional water management systems, green infrastructure offers a cost-effective solution to many of Boston’s water woes, including how to handle flooding and stormwater pollution. Green infrastructure encompasses a variety of water management practices, such as vegetated rooftops, roadside plantings, absorbent gardens, and other measures that capture, filter, and reduce stormwater. In doing so, it cuts down on flooding and reduces the polluted runoff that reaches sewers, streams, rivers, lakes, and oceans. Green infrastructure captures the rain where it falls. It mimics natural hydrological processes and uses natural elements such as soil and plants to turn rainfall into a resource instead of a waste. It also increases the quality and quantity of local water supplies and provides myriad other environmental, economic, and health benefits – often in nature-starved urban areas.
This GRCx will provide an overview of EPA’s Region 1 recently updated regulations for stormwater management; Boston’s proposed integrated green infrastructure approach; and a discussion of threats, challenges, and opportunities in the watersheds in and around Boston related to stormwater management and the installation of green infrastructure. A panel discussion with the subject matter experts from each of these areas will follow, and the program will finish with an audience Q&A.
- Ken Moraff, EPA Region I Water Division Director
- Kate England, Director of Green Infrastructure, City of Boston
- Patrick Herron, Executive Director, Mystic River Watershed Association
- Adam Chapdelaine, Deputy Director, Green Ribbon Commission – Moderator