Really, it’s the least we could do.

Originally posted August 27, 2010 at phfieldnotes.blogspot.com.

There has been a growing number of people realizing that sustainable stormwater design can fill another very important function: habitat creation. In many regions where open space it at a premium and the creation of green space in urban areas has become paramount, using stormwater management facilities – large and small – to provide precious habitat opportunities is making more and more sense. In fact, some would argue (us included) that it’s a no-brainer.

Beyond planting with natives, maintaining naturalized stormwater facilities reduces reliance on fossil fuels, improves air quality, maximizes pollution reduction, and can provide increased infiltration. Sadly, the push back to naturalization can be fierce. Concerns that anything but closely cropped lawn will harbor threats to human health and well-being are far-ranging – we’ve heard it all: rats, snakes, pollen (gasp!), and perverts. Yes; perverts.

Sadly, the sterilization of our environment has led to the widespread collapse of ecosystems and left us engaged in an endless war with invasive species. Humanity’s lack of understanding that we rely on a healthy environment for our own health and well-being is quickly sending us down a slippery slope; once we lower our species diversity and richness, it won’t recover in this millennium.

The least we could do is offer up our stormwater spaces to buck the trend.

Lauren Kovacs, LEED AP
Environmental Designer

DRN NJ Stormwater Management Implementation Report

Originally posted May 24, 2010 at phfieldnotes.blogspot.com.

The Delaware Riverkeeper Network (DRN) released their new report critiquing the implementation of New Jersey’s Stormwater Management Rules at municipal and state levels. Detailed reviews conducted of stormwater projects in Hamilton Township, Mercer County revealed serious shortcomings in compliance with the Rules and the report goes on to state that the DRN believes that the poor stormwater reviews in Hamilton Township are not the exception but the rule. The report provides detailed technical reviews for many of the projects to substantiate the report’s claims as well as provides a list of recommendations on how to remedy the problem.

The report implicates local, state and federal agencies as ineffectual to enforce the Clean Water Act to protect water resources and specifically sites environmental justice issues in the failure to enforce the Rules. The DRN recommendations range from the education of land use board members on the Rules to requiring true audits of the permit program by both the NJDEP and EPA.

In light of the EPA’s landmark settlement with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and co-plaintiffs with a “legally enforceable commitment that requires EPA to take specific actions by dates certain to ensure that pollution to local rivers, streams, and the Chesapeake Bay is reduced sufficiently to remove the Bay from the federal “dirty waters” list,” this report highlights the legal responsibility of these agencies to protect water resources.

The full report can be found here: http://delawareriverkeeper.org/resources/Reports/Hamilton_Twp_NJ_SWM_Implementation_Report.pdf