An ACAP Journey: Urban Stormwater Management in Action
Last month I had the opportunity to travel to the University of New Hampshire to visit the Stormwater Management Center to see innovative methods of dealing with stormwater using green infrastructure. The trip was part of the Building Regional Adaptation Capacity (BRACE) project funded by Natural Resources Canada and the New Brunswick Department of Environment and Local Government that strives to educate industry professionals about climate change adaptation. I traveled there with a diverse group of city planners and environmental NGO employees from across New Brunswick.
When I was telling my friends and family about the reasons for this trip, I was met with confused looks and lots of questions. What is a stormwater management center? Why is this something you are interested in? How does this relate to climate change? Many people may be surprised to learn that stormwater can carry many pollutants as it runs across roadways, driveways and parking lots. Any leaking fluids from vehicles, salt and sand to manage ice and snow, and even emissions from exhaust pipes can be deposited onto hard surfaces and run into nearby waterways during rain storms. As our climate changes, rainfall events will become more intense (i.e. more volume of rain during a shorter period), which will create higher runoff volumes. Green infrastructure or low impact development (LID) promotes groundwater infiltration, filters pollutants and reduces the amount of stormwater flowing directly into aquatic habitats. As part of the Climate Change Adaptation Plan for the City of Saint John, I have been working on integrating LID into future planning and working with City employees to begin implementing green infrastructure projects throughout Saint John.