By: Jordan Wilkinson, Designer at DG2 Design Landscape Architecture
By now it is likely that you have noticed some new-fangled green solutions to stormwater management in your daily life. Whether it be those fuzzy looking tall grasses between the aisles in a new parking lot, or a raingarden full of wildflowers, these solutions help to collect and slow stormwater runoff with the end goal of removing pollutants and increasing infiltration of water into the ground.
These new and innovative approaches to stormwater management have started to make a resurgence in the past 10-15 years and are becoming more and more common. Solutions like bioswales, filter strips, raingardens, engineered wetlands, infiltration basins, and bioretention filters are some of the tools that we as Landscape Architects have in our design palette that not only add to the beauty and intricacy of a site, but offer an abundance of environmental benefits. It should be noted that some of these practices have been used for centuries, whether or not we have realized it. Mother Nature knows the best ways of handling stormwater, and sometimes we need a reminder. Natural solutions encouraging low-impact design work to clean up our streams, lakes, rivers, and oceans. Green solutions to stormwater management in recent years have come as a direct result of over-engineered systems that primarily put stormwater underground in pipes and concrete swales, which accelerate flows and contribute to erosion while doing very little to address pollution. The good news is, these practices are slowly and surely becoming a thing of the past.
Stormwater and sewer districts across the nation (such as our own MSD in St. Louis) are encouraging and even requiring implementation of green stormwater management solutions. MSD Project Clear currently offers small grants of up to $3,000 to property owners who want to create new raingardens, bioswales, green roofs, permeable pavers, etc. Information on the grants can be found at here. Responsible stormwater management methods not only reduce water pollution, but also increase wildlife habitat and diversity through the planting of native grasses and perennials. Small steps like adding a rain barrel to collect water from your downspout, or re-grading a portion of your property to safely collect stormwater can go a long way in improving the quality of our local watersheds. The designers and Landscape Architects at DG2 Design can assist with designing stormwater and drainage solutions of any size or type.