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The Annis Water Resources Institute (AWRI) is working with the West Michigan Environmental Action Council (WMEAC) to develop a "Stormwater Calculator". WMEAC was awarded $99,810 from the United States Forest Service through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative to develop the online tool that will be used to determine the economic and environmental benefits of installing stormwater related green infrastructure (GI) in Grand Rapids and Muskegon.
GI is broadly defined as anything that involves utilizing natural hydrologic features to manage water and provide environmental and community benefits. GI technologies include, tree canopy, forested areas bordering streams, bioswales, bioinfiltration basins (rain gardens), green roofs, porous pavement/pavers, rain barrels, as well as many others. The implementation of GI practices provides numerous benefits for communities, including improved water quality, natural habitat, aesthetics, and water interception. These benefits are referred to as “ecosystem services”, which are services with economic components that ecosystems provide naturally to people.
“Green infrastructure helps capture rainwater closer to where it falls and limits the amount of polluted stormwater that enters our rivers and streams”, said Elaine Sterrett Isely, Director of Water and Low Impact Development Programs, WMEAC. “Implementation of these practices can reduce the amount of traditional stormwater infrastructure needed to manage runoff. This stormwater calculator will help community leaders better understand how an investment in green infrastructure now will pay off in the long run.”
AWRI will assist WMEAC in the assessment of land use and cover and provide general spatial information for the Grand Rapids, Muskegon area. It will also help in the assessment of existing site specific stormwater assessment models most suitable for the project. AWRI has been asked to evaluate the usefulness of the actual calculator once it is complete.
For more information about the Stormwater Calculator Project contact Associate Research Scientist John Koches.