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Improving and Conserving Water Resources Through Stormwater Management Education for Community Decision Makers to Today and Tomorrow

Investigators
Shelton, David
Institutions
University of Nebraska - Lincoln
Start date
2009
End date
2012
Objective
EXTENSION: 1) Provide science-based educational materials and hands-on learning experiences for leaders and residents of Nebraska Phase II municipalities to: a. Increase the use of water-sensitive landscape design and best management practices. b. Increase information available to municipal leaders to assist in making viable, cost effective decisions for municipal stormwater management. c. Help meet the Phase II public education and outreach measures as established by EPA. 2) Design and implement a multi-media enhanced curriculum and experiential learning 4-H/Youth program that will actively engage youth to increase their understanding and knowledge of stormwater hydrology and green infrastructure, and improve the skills needed for successful career preparation and as future decision makers. 3) Develop and deliver educational programs and hands-on learning opportunities for green industry professionals to help meet the growing demand for sustainable greenspace solutions and expand recognition of entrepreneurial opportunities. 4) Integrate stormwater hydrology and greenspace topics into Master Gardener training to prepare them for incorporating new water perspectives into their outreach programs. 5) Investigate regional and national interest in developing a Green Infrastructure for Stormwater Management eXtension Community of Practice. Share information developed in this project to increase availability of green infrastructure for stormwater management information.

EDUCATION: 1) Integrate stormwater management and green infrastructure topics into new and existing UNL Landscape Architecture, Landscape Design, and Turf/Landscape Management courses. 2) Develop a new professional elective course in the Landscape Architecture undergraduate curriculum that focuses on elements of stormwater management and green infrastructure. 3) Develop and coordinate interdisciplinary stormwater management and/or green infrastructure service learning projects for landscape architecture, civil engineering, and water science, and planning students. 4) Establish a landscape architecture internship to expand student learning and develop strong program linkages with professional design and planning firms that emphasizes green infrastructure projects and approaches. 5) Educate and provide teaching and research opportunities for two Masters Degree students with a specific emphasis on green infrastructure components of stormwater management.

RESEARCH: 1) Evaluate plant growth and performance in established rain gardens under Nebraska climate and conditions to enable revised plant selection and care recommendations. 2) Evaluate the hydrology of established rain gardens under Nebraska climate and conditions to enable revisions of design sizing and installation recommendations. 3) Deliver a UNL research seminar series featuring regional and national experts on green infrastructure for stormwater management.

More information
Non-Technical Summary: Traditional approaches treat stormwater as a problem to be conveyed away as rapidly as possible with curbs, gutters, storm drains, and similar practices. The new paradigm views stormwater as a resource to be retained and used on-site or allowed to infiltrate. Green infrastructure such as rain gardens, bioswales, rain barrels, eco roofs, and others manage stormwater more naturally, conserve water, and improve water quality by retaining runoff that may contain multiple contaminants. The project goal is to conserve water resources and improve water quality through an integrated approach to stormwater management and greenspace practice education that strongly connects extension programming, classroom education, and field research. Audiences include municipal leaders and residents, 4-H and youth, undergraduate and graduate students, landscape industry professionals, and Master Gardeners. Objectives include: deliver a multi-faceted extension education program using a variety of techniques such as hands-on workshops, green infrastructure tours, demonstration sites, publications, and on-line resources; integrate stormwater management and green infrastructure topics into undergraduate courses and service learning projects; and evaluate in situ rain garden hydrologic parameters using a unique Storm Runoff Simulator. Anticipated impacts include: audience recognition of the environmental, economic, and aesthetic benefits of green infrastructure; increased ability of graduates to design innovative stormwater management solutions; improved rain garden designs; and improved water quality and conservation. This project helps meet the education and outreach goals of the EPA National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System stormwater program for Phase II communities, and contains elements of six National Water Program Themes.

Approach: A variety of method will be used in this project, including: Develop and deliver a multi-faceted extension education program using a variety of techniques and activities including: hands-on workshops; tours of installed stormwater management practices; demonstration sites; electronic presentations; on-line learning modules; on-line virtual tour; publications; media releases; one-to-one contact; websites; and others. Design and implement a multi-media enhanced curriculum and experiential learning based 4-H/Youth program. Develop and deliver educational programs and hands-on learning opportunities for green industry professionals to help meet the growing demand for sustainable greenspace solutions and expand recognition of entrepreneurial opportunities. Integrate stormwater hydrology and green infrastructure topics in Master Gardener training programs. Integrate stormwater management and green infrastructure topics into existing UNL Landscape Architecture and Landscape Design courses. Develop a new Landscape Architecture professional elective course that focuses on elements of stormwater management and green infrastructure. Develop and coordinate stormwater management and green infrastructure service learning projects for Landscape Architecture students. Establish a landscape architecture internship with professional design and planning firms. Educate and provide teaching and research opportunities for two Masters Degree students with a specific emphasis on green infrastructure components of stormwater management. Evaluate plant growth and performance in established rain gardens under Nebraska climate and conditions. Evaluate the hydrology of established rain gardens under Nebraska climate and conditions using a unique Storm Runoff Simulator.

Funding Source
Nat'l. Inst. of Food and Agriculture
Project source
View this project
Project number
NEBN-41-503
Accession number
220167
Categories
Education and Training
Chemical Contaminants
Sanitation and Quality Standards