Concurrent Session 4
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(46) Looking Beyond Ecological Functions to the Value of Ecosystem Services in the Greater Houston Region
Presenter: Deborah January-Bevers, Houston Wilderness, email@example.com
Co-Authors: Lindsey Roche, Houston Wilderness, firstname.lastname@example.org; Lauren Harper, Houston Wilderness, email@example.com
Abstract: Natural landscapes serve our wellbeing in a variety of ways: water purification, flood protection, hurricane protection, carbon capture, recreation and wildlife enhancement. Identifying and understanding the services provided by local ecosystems can lead to cost-effective solutions to infrastructural and environmental problems while also creating enhanced wildlife habitat in urban/suburban areas. For the storm-prone Gulf-Houston region there is a critical need to better connect the ecosystem services (ES) provided by the diverse assemblages of forests, prairies, wetlands, riparian waterways and shorelines to maximize the economic and social benefits.
The region has a unique, clay-rich soil composition largely of vertisols and alfisols which greatly influences infiltration and runoff, especially during heavy rain events. Knowledge and understanding of the soil composition can help guide the discussion and implementation of projects targeting ES, particularly flood regulation, erosion regulation, and water provisioning.
This presentation is based upon Houston Wilderness’ Ecosystem Services Primer which discusses ways for determining ES values using different study/valuation methods depending on the goals of a decision-maker. Local and regional case examples are discussed, where ES valuation options between gray and nature-based infrastructure were analyzed and the natural solutions were implemented. In an expanding urban core such as the Gulf-Houston Region, there is a critical need to: (1) Engage in more region-based studies on ES to better understand the value of natural benefits and cost-effective infrastructure policies; (2) Compare the economic value of ES to other alternative approaches when making public policy decisions regarding land-use and infrastructure; and (3) More fully incorporate ES into infrastructure decisions. The presentation will also briefly discuss the Gulf-Houston Regional Conservation Plan and its “24% By 2040 Land-Use Strategy” to improve ecological and economic resiliency in the eight-county region through preservation/enhancement by increasing the current 9.7% in protected/preserved land to 24% of land coverage by 2040.
Biography: A native Houstonian, Deborah has been involved with public policy and civic projects in and around Houston and the State of Texas for over 30 years. She is currently President & CEO of Houston Wilderness (www.houstonwilderness.org) She received her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Texas in 1985 and her J.D. from the University of Houston Law Center in 1992. She has served as a policy director for the Greater Houston Partnership and Center for Houston’s Future, and Executive Director of the Quality of Life Coalition and Scenic Houston. Over the years, she has worked in Congress, in the Texas Legislature and with various city mayors and council members, along with a wide variety of non-profit and business organizations to help create, develop and implement a variety of policy initiatives to improve the Houston Region’s quality of life. Deborah and the other Houston Wilderness staff are currently working with 100+ civic, governmental and business organizations to develop and implement an 8-county Gulf-Houston Regional Conservation Plan to promote, protect and preserve the 10 distinct ecoregions in and around the Greater Houston Region.
(47) The Alternative Headwater Channel and Outfall Crediting Protocol
Presenters: Scott Lowe, McCormick Taylor, firstname.lastname@example.org
Abstract: The Alternative Headwater Channel and Outfall Crediting Protocol (February 2018) is developed to more accurately calculate the sediment and nutrient delivery for Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) credit involving headwater channels and outfall restoration projects experiencing vertical incision. Headwater streams in Maryland account for approximately 60% of the stream network. This network of streams is an important resource for supporting biodiversity, processing nutrients, filtering pollutants, mitigating flooding, recharging groundwater, habitat for aquatic and terrestrial organisms, and a food source for connected water bodies. The interconnection of this network is an important function in processing nitrogen due to a large channel bed surface function to overlying water volume leading to increase contact and exchange of water and nitrogen with the hyporheic zone.1 Long-term anthropogenic impacts threaten the functional benefits of headwater streams. Headcut development and migration disconnects or fragments a stream system. Headwater streams referenced in the protocol include zero and first order channels as defined using the Strahler2 and modified Horton3 methodology. The protocol calculates the potential sediment and nutrient delivery from vertical incision by computing the future equilibrium slope or the wedge of sediment transported downstream over a 30-year period. The protocol expands and builds upon currently approved crediting procedures in the “Final Recommendations of the Expert Panel to Define Removal Rates for Individual Stream Restoration Projects.” The method is currently in the final stages of acceptance by the Chesapeake Bay Program’s Urban Stormwater Work Group.
Implications of the new calculations of the prevention of sediment and nutrient loading for arresting channel incision includes increased cost effectiveness for headwater and outfall restoration projects. It also opens up the opportunity to transition headwater restoration projects from a linear foot model to a sediment/nutrient load model. A true focus on ecological uplift includes connecting streams to floodplains and preventing vertical disconnections has true potential for maximizing ecosystem wide functional uplift.
Biography: Mr. Lowe is a Director of Environmental Services for McCormick Taylor. He has over 23 years of experience performing all aspects of environmental design and permitting services throughout the Mid-Atlantic Region. Scott currently serves as the Environmental Restoration Coordinator for MDOT SHA’s TMDL Program, assisting the program with developing BMP strategies and crediting and managing data collection and site selection for stream and outfall restoration projects.
(48) Stabilization Alternatives – Living Walls – Another Choice to Consider
Presenter: Wade Burcham, Geosyntec, email@example.com
Abstract: Often there are better design options to protect stream banks and shorelines than traditional hard measures. Ideally, we want to use Mother Nature as a template, and utilize design concepts that incorporate only natural materials. However, projects occasionally present with situations such as schedule limitations (e.g. emergency repairs) or physical limitations (e.g. lack of space) that require the consideration of traditional measures. Designers must be able to rapidly sift through their toolbox of ideas to quickly determine the best solution. This presentation seeks to provide designers and planners with another tool to place in their toolbox; a tool that can meet many project limitations, and is regenerative. It can be used to retrofit and enhance traditional designs and methods. This design tool is living walls. Living walls such as Filtrexx’s GreenLoxx® products, applications, and resources will be presented, along with case studies that describe considerations for product selection, design, construction, and lessons learned. Examples of both Non-MSE and MSE living walls will be presented, as well as a summary of some quantitative environmental impacts.
Biography: Wade Burcham is a PE and serves as Principal Water Resources Engineer with Geosyntec. He graduated from the University of Alabama in Birmingham. His 21 years of experience focused on natural stream stabilization, water resources engineering, stormwater management, municipal engineering, and contract administration has facilitated a balanced viewpoint from perspectives obtained as Civil Engineer, Municipal Consultant, and Developer’s Representative. Wade enjoys learning Sustainable and Innovative Design Practices and applying those techniques in developing countries through his volunteer work with Engineering Ministries International and other Faith-Based Mission efforts.
(49) Preventing Animal-Vehicle Crashes Using a Smart Roadside Detection Technology and Warning System
Presenter: Cristian Druta, Virginia Tech Transportation Institute; firstname.lastname@example.org
Co-Authors: Andrew Alden, Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, email@example.com
Abstract: Animal-vehicle collisions (AVC), and deer-vehicle collisions (DVC) in particular, are a major safety problem on Virginia roads. Mitigation measures such as improved fencing and location-specific driver alerts are being implemented and evaluated in Virginia and elsewhere. One of the most promising mitigation methods uses a buried cable animal detection system (BCADS) to provide roadside or potential in-vehicle warnings to approaching drivers based on the active presence of an animal on or near the roadway. BCADS may also be deployed in combination with exposure controls such as fencing to provide monitored, at-grade, animal crossing zones where conventional passages are unavailable.
In a recent study, the Virginia Department of Transportation in collaboration with the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute implemented and monitored the performance of a buried system on a public road to provide a real-world assessment of system capabilities and possible operation issues.
A BCADS was installed on a road segment known to have a high rate of DVCs to sense crossings of large- and medium-sized animals and provided data on their presence and location along the length of the cable. A flashing light “Deer Crossing” warning sign was installed at the site and wirelessly linked with the BCADS to alert approaching drivers. Continuous all-weather video surveillance data were collected for a year to monitor animal movement and system performance.
Study findings indicate that the BCADS is capable of detecting larger animals such as deer, and sometimes smaller animals such as coyotes, with approximately 99% reliability. The system also performed well when covered by approximately 2 ft of snow. Vehicle speed and brake application data collected during warning sign activation showed that approximately 80% of drivers either braked or slowed in response to the flashing, indicating that the sign was effective.
Biography: Cristian Druta is a Senior Research Associate and project manager at Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI) and has been involved with simulative pavement testing, vehicle-roadway interaction, sensing technologies, and data collection and analysis research for the last 10 years. He has served as PI/Co-PI on a broad range of subject areas including materials characterization, vehicle instrumentation, energy harvesting from pavements, and wireless sensing technologies. He currently oversees research on animal-vehicle conflicts mitigation and vehicle-based road weather data collection.
(50) Resilient Water Systems for Urban Agriculture: The Patchwork Urban Farms Experience
Presenter: Tim Ormond, Blue Earth Planning, Engineering & Design, PC, firstname.lastname@example.org; Sunil Patel, Patchwork Urban Farms, email@example.com
Abstract: Urban farming has become increasingly recognized as an essential component of sustainable local food systems in the age of rapid climate change. Urban farming can help to regenerate barren landscapes, build important connections among individuals, communities, farmers and their local food systems as well as significantly reduce the carbon footprint of food production. One particular challenge in urban farming, compared to larger traditional farms, is the need for providing reliable, sustainable, cost-effective water supply systems for growing food.
Patchwork Urban Farms (PUF) was launched in Asheville, North Carolina in 2014 as a unique, mission-driven, multi-plot, urban farming initiative to provide ultra-local, organically grown food. PUF’s mission involves building vital connections between landowners with small, underutilized, urban plots (primarily in residential areas) and the local community through CSA shares, partnerships with local restaurants, farm stands to provide healthy food within under-served “food desert” neighborhoods, as well as providing food and farming education. Since its inception, PUF has grown into a cooperative with multiple farmers, more than 20 land share partners, work traders, interns, and hundreds of weekly consumers in the local community.
This presentation will provide an overview of the PUF model of regenerative urban agriculture of “reconnecting our lives with our landscapes” and focus on the challenges and successes of providing reliable, cost-effective, climate-resilient water supplies for its multi-plot, urban farm initiative. Lessons learned will be presented for various water source options including rainwater harvesting and municipal water supplies as well as the role of irrigation systems and water conservation strategies.
Biographies: Tim Ormond, P.E. is an Asheville-based environmental and water resources engineer with over two decades of experience. He specializes in hydrology and hydraulics, stormwater management, green infrastructure planning and design, and innovative research. Tim holds a B.S. degree in civil and environmental engineering, an M.S. degree in civil and water resources engineering as well as a permaculture design certificate. He is a licensed professional engineer in North Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Massachusetts, and California. Tim is a co-founder of Blue Earth Planning, Engineering & Design, PC, a consulting firm whose mission is “to provide innovative water resources planning, engineering and design within a company framework which values the earth, people, and future generations over profit.” He has also been a volunteer member of the Asheville-Buncombe Food Policy Council since 2014 and a work-trade partner with Patchwork Urban Farms.
Sunil Patel is a farmer, permaculturist, and food/farming thought-leader who has studied natural farming methods and worked for farmers in California, West Virginia, New Jersey, and Oregon. Along the way, he collected many skills including growing four-season biodynamic vegetables, managing a grass-fed dairy herd, making artisanal raw milk cheese, baking for production in a commercial wood-fired oven, natural building, and helping maintain permaculture sites. Early in Sunil’s career, he managed a large CSA for about four years in his home state of Pennsylvania. In that time, he expanded a quarter acre plot into a 12-acre working farm. In January 2013, he relocated to Asheville to teach urban farming and in early 2014 Sunil launched Patchwork Urban Farms, a multi-plot, urban farm creating sharing networks around abundant landscapes in Asheville.
(51) The Seasonality of Nutrients in Stormwater Runoff from Residential Sewershed in Columbus, Ohio
Presenter: Joey Smith, The Ohio State University, firstname.lastname@example.org
Abstract: Discharge of excess nutrients to surface waters is a societal challenge because they cause algal blooms and hypoxia, resulting in degraded water quality (Watson et al. 2016), reduced and contaminated fisheries (Bukaveckas et al. 2017, Witusynski et al. 2017), threats to potable water supplies (Lee et al. 2017), and decreases in tourism, cultural activities, and coastal economies (Wolf et al. 2017, Watson et al. 2016). An understanding of the urban contribution to nutrient loading is needed, and, more specifically the seasonality in nutrient concentrations and loads needs further analysis since algal blooms and hypoxia are seasonal in nature and are most impacted by spring nutrient runoff. This study quantifies the variation of nutrients in stormwater runoff due to seasonal changes from four urban residential sewersheds located in the Clintonville neighborhood of Columbus, Ohio. Stormwater samples were collected using automated samplers during stormflow and analyzed for pollutants, including dissolved and particulate nutrients. Total nitrogen concentrations were significantly (alpha = 0.05) higher in the spring when compared to the summer and fall. Significant seasonal variations in TP concentrations were observed at three of the four sewersheds, with fall and spring concentrations greater than those in summer. Among the top ten TSS concentrations observed from September 2016 to December 2018, seven occurred in the spring, two during the summer, and one in the fall. Causes for seasonality include fertilizer application in the spring, sodic soils following winter deicing salt applications, and the breakdown of leaves. Since seasonality was observed, future research efforts should to be focused on developing improved management of landscapes and stormwater during critical periods. Improved designs for stormwater control measures will help to abate pollutants in stormwater runoff from urban areas, improving the quality of surface waters worldwide.
Biography: Joey Smith graduated from The Ohio State University in May with his B.S. in Ecological Engineering and B.A. in Mandarin Chinese. He is staying at Ohio State to earn his M.S. in Ecological Engineering with co-advisors Dr. Ryan Winston and Dr. Jay Martin. His research focuses on stormwater nutrients and the Blueprint Columbus project, which is an initiative to install green infrastructure in Columbus, Ohio. In the future, he plans to travel to China to conduct Ecological Engineering research.
(52) Hydrological Responses of Retrofitted Green Infrastructure
Presenter: Kathryn Boening, The Ohio State University, email@example.com
Co-Authors: Dr. Ryan J. Winston, The Ohio State University, firstname.lastname@example.org; Dr. Jay F. Martin, The Ohio State University, email@example.com
Abstract: Blueprint Columbus is a $1.7 billion-dollar effort by the City of Columbus to rehabilitate its sewer infrastructure which currently results in both combined and sanitary sewer overflows. Part of the remediation approach is retrofitting green infrastructure, predominantly bioretention cells and permeable pavement, into existing Columbus neighborhoods. The project’s first phase is in the Clintonville neighborhood where over 400 bioretention cells were installed and five streets or alleys were retrofitted with permeable pavement. Analyzes and testing were designed at two different scales to better understand how the connected green infrastructure functions. The first analysis conducted is a paired watershed experiment, developed to quantify the effects of Blueprint Columbus on stormwater runoff. Four sewersheds are being intensively monitored: one control (i.e., no green infrastructure) and three with varying densities of green infrastructure. Sewershed outfalls have been instrumented for continuous hydrologic monitoring and flow-proportional, composite sampling since 2016. Comparing hydrologic data across pre-retrofit, construction, and post-retrofit phases will quantify the impacts of the green infrastructure implementation. Comparisons for the three phases were hampered by differences in precipitation patterns and shorter antecedent dry periods observed 2018, which was the wettest year on record in Columbus, Ohio. The runoff coefficient for the watersheds with retrofits, did not increase as much over the past year compared to the other watersheds. The second scale at which the hydrological responses are examined is at individual bioretention basins. Individual bioretention cells are tested for runoff mitigation using simulated storm tests. Results from two tests of a single bioretention cell showed 45% and 55% runoff volume reductions. Monitoring will continue through 2022 and will help to establish a path forward for the City of Columbus’s other planned retrofits and to better understand the functionality of the infrastructure over time.
Biography: Kathryn Boening is a graduate student at The Ohio State University under Dr. Jay Martin and Dr. Ryan Winston, pursuing a Masters degree in Ecological Engineering. Heralding originally from the Northern Kettle Moraine Forest of Wisconsin, Kathryn has always had an affinity for the outdoors and a drive to better the environment. Kathryn’s current research focuses on sustainable urban development, specifically connecting stormwater and green infrastructure practices.
(53) Solving the Watershed Challenge Through Optimized Solutions
Presenter: Karina Bynum, Tennessee Water Resources, firstname.lastname@example.org
Abstract: Watershed as a hydrologic unit in a developed landscape is controlled by socio-political and economic forces as well as the physical laws of nature. It is the community that defines how these forces are distributed, balanced or leveraged. A key connection between the socio-political and economic forces and the physical laws is evidenced in the quantity and quality of water resources. Access to abundant clean water underpins the health and prosperity of the community. The effects beyond the local community affect others and therefore are governed by regulations. The regulatory framework of discharge permits, TMDLs, mitigation crediting, flood control and stormwater management produced a system of incentives and restrictions as well as opportunities for stakeholder input. EPA’s New vision, TMDL alternatives, integrated permitting, credit trading and various reduction strategies emerged in recent years to address the need to appropriately regulate water quality impacts in a more adaptable context and to accommodate effective stakeholder-driven processes. The regulatory framework needs to further prepare to include stormwater mitigation crediting, ecosystem restoration, credit trading, voluntary partnership agreements, citizen science and corporate sponsorship. To enable future generations to solve the challenge of assuring abundance of highest quality water for the lowest cost, we need to be prepared to develop and implement custom solutions that optimize the location, techniques, treatments, planning and management, include stakeholder engagement and involvement, and provide for funding, monitoring and reporting. While we understand the individual components of stormwater management, point source discharge treatment, stream restoration techniques, and land use planning, we must use them in the watershed context much like building an electrical circuit board to leverage their function, understand their controls and optimize their overall effect. Watersheds are complex adaptive systems and watershed health and water quality remain a challenge now and for generations to come.
Biography: Karina Bynum, Ph.D., P.E. works for the Division of Water Resources at TDEC (Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation). Under TDEC’s watershed approach, her work includes developing performance criteria for stormwater, optimizing wastewater operations for nutrient removal, developing TMDL monitoring plans, and consulting on stream and wetland restoration projects. Karina holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in civil and environmental engineering from Tennessee Technological University and a Ph.D. from the Czech Technical University in Prague on adaptive watershed restoration. Karina is a registered engineer in the state of Tennessee and has 20 years of regulatory experience.
(54) Are Stormwater Regulations Holding Back More Than Runoff? – An Evaluation of Watershed Protection Strategies
Presenter: Hunter Freeman, WithersRavenel, email@example.com
Abstract: Watershed ecosystems are complex areas consisting of streams, lakes, vegetation, and soil but prescriptive protection plans often fail to recognize humanity’s connection to these natural environments. For years North Carolina’s stormwater management regulations have been a three legged stool – TSS Removal, Peak Flow, and Nutrients. Show compliance with those standards at the site level, and you’ve protected the watershed, right? Our streams might disagree. What if we looked at more than just the design of the stormwater controls to predict the level of protection we provide the streams? It’s time to evaluate other areas of land development regulations to help provide a more comprehensive assessment of our efforts to protect the natural resources of our ecosystems.
WithersRavenel has developed a watershed scale ecosystem evaluation methodology to guide future land development practices and incentivize conservation and high performing watershed protection strategies. As our state’s population centers continue to grow, everything from conservation areas to the urban core plays a role in preserving the health of the waters. The evaluation’s goal is to push developers towards the construction of sustainable communities that heighten both the quality of life and the ecosystem protection efforts.
The evaluation works as a weighted points system of 26 watershed protection strategies. The evaluation incentivizes strategies based on their potential value to the watershed and their ability to enhance community life. Points are scored in 6 categories – Conservation, Construction Site Controls, Stormwater Management, Landscaping, and Pilot Projects. A minimum required point total was established through a case study evaluation of numerous North Carolina communities. The point total requirement seeks to ensure that a variety of measures are used, and that cumulatively the ecosystem value of these strategies exceeds the value delivered through typical regulatory requirements.
Initial implementation has shown that by assessing multiple variables, the boundaries between stormwater management, land planning, and landscape architecture are less evident in the final product. Additionally, the evaluation has served to add value to high quality conservation areas and has been a catalyst for innovative stormwater management approaches.
Biography: Hunter leads the innovative stormwater design group at WithersRavenel. He specializes in delivering high performance stormwater projects focusing on sustainability, green infrastructure, and improving quality of life. He is currently working on projects ranging from community master planning, coastal resiliency, and stormwater program management.
(55) Introduction to the Community-Enabled Life-Cycle Analysis of Stormwater Infrastructure Costs (CLASIC) tool
Presenter: Christine Pomeroy, University of Utah, Christine.Pomeroy@utah.edu
Co-Authors: Tyler Dell, Colorado State University; Sybil Sharvelle, Colorado State University; Jennifer Eagan, University of Maryland
Abstract: Limited funds require many decision makers in the municipal environment to make difficult decisions in regard to stormwater programs. Many communities are trying to receive the most return on their investment in stormwater technologies by selecting technologies that can confer multiple environmental, social and economic benefits. There is a balance that is being sought by decision makers in using traditional gray infrastructure and newer green infrastructure for stormwater management, and the balance is being found through comparing costs of adopting each type of technology. The Water Research Foundation is leading a project intended to provide communities with a tool that takes into account the costs associated with planning, designing, acquiring, constructing, operating, maintaining, renewing, and replacing stormwater infrastructure. Additionally, the tool seeks to identify co-benefits that are achieved by various types of stormwater infrastructure while quantifying performance of the infrastructure. The results are expected to increase confidence in comparing benefits and costs of stormwater infrastructure alternatives using tools based on cost, design, and performance data sets with a peer-reviewed model.