As communities continue to look towards more sustainable infrastructure options, updating lighting systems is often a great place to start. Implementing an LED lighting system can mean not only a lower utility bill, but also a lower impact on the environment for your community.
Urbanization has led to a large increase in paved surface area. This has caused urban streams and rivers to swell to higher levels and to do so more frequently. With more water comes more erosion, making it increasingly important to properly maintain and protect urban stream and river banks.
Dog parks are a great addition to many community park systems, however, high traffic and repeat visits can add up to a lot of dogs and related doggy deposits at these sites. E. coli and high nutrient levels associated with accumulations of pet waste can be mobilized into local lakes, streams, and wetlands during snow melt and rain events.
Trees have always been a part of the beauty of our communities, but it can be difficult to put a value on the many other benefits they provide. The U.S. Forest Service has developed a software suite of tools to calculate those values, called i-Tree.
Urban trees are showing more promise from a storm water perspective than ever before. Trees absorb water from soil and transpire it to the atmosphere, reducing the amount of rainwater that flows untreated into storm sewers and ultimately to local lakes and rivers.
On March 28, 2018, Governor Walker signed Wisconsin 2017 ACT 183, which calls for a variety of changes to the way wetlands are managed and permitted in Wisconsin. Read more to learn about the many details and nuances to these changes.
Spring has officially arrived, whether it feels like it or not, and Earth Day is just around the corner! The focus of Earth Day this year is to end plastic pollution. One significant source of plastic pollution is plastic film. Plastic films are used in almost every industry throughout the United States because they are easy to manufacture, lightweight, and inexpensive. Learn more about ways you can assist in ending the pollution of plastic.
While storm water ponds can be aesthetically pleasing and a community recreation feature, they are actually engineered devices with two main functions. First, they prevent flooding by capturing runoff and flow from local storm water pipes, swales, and drainage ditches. Second, they provide water quality treatment by settling out excess sediment and nutrients from storm water that flows to the pond.
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is now accepting grant applications for construction of storm water treatment practices through the Urban Nonpoint Source and Storm Water Grant Program. This is a valuable funding program that helps offset the cost of meeting MS4 Permit requirements and protecting local lakes, streams, and wetlands in Wisconsin.
In addition to doing illicit discharge inspections during dry weather, monitoring storm sewer outfalls during snow melt and rain events can reveal pollutants that accumulate and mobilize only when storm water flows through the system.
Storm water controls are necessary to prevent flooding, protect property, and to protect local lakes and streams. Unfortunately, effective storm water controls are often very costly. Maintenance to ensure these features keep working means additional costs that are added on each year.
One common concern with green infrastructure practices is their functionality in cold weather. However, studies have shown that green infrastructure continues to be effective for water quality treatment and peak flow reduction in cold weather.
Snow plowing and applying road salt was the accepted norm from the mid-20th century until just a decade or so ago. More communities are now using new technologies and methods that are ultimately cheaper, better for the environment, and most importantly provide the level of safety the public expects during winter storm events.
Why do some streams have TMDLs while others don’t? When monitoring or sampling results over a designated period of time reveal problems with the physical, biological and/or chemical conditions of a stream, river or lake, a waterbody can be listed on a state’s Impaired Waters List.
Vegetation shades the land in rural areas, allowing it to stay cool and moist. Urban development causes these natural environments to be replaced with roads, buildings, and other dry, man-made surfaces that retain heat causing the "heat island effect".
Developing and analyzing data sets showing the relationship between land use and location efficiency can be a difficult and expensive process. In response to this issue, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has developed three tools that analyze the land use and transit accessibility of metropolitan neighborhoods in the United States: Smart Location Database, Access to Jobs and Workers Via Transit Tool, and National Walkability Index.
The City of Oconomowoc, with assistance from R/M, constructed joint parking lots with vegetated parking lot islands to allow storm water to flow across the lot and into bioretention areas.
An emerging technology in the world of storm water management is floating treatment islands which are floating mats or rafts which provide a growing medium for wetland plants.
Green infrastructure practices, such as above and below ground cisterns, can be used to capture storm water and reuse it later.
Many communities have sites that local citizens have committed to maintaining. Adopt-a-Road programs have existed for many years now, and now Adopt-a-River programs are growing in popularity as well.