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Cool things seen at CSU Water Resilient Cities

Marc Lefkowitz  |  04/22/16 @ 2:00pm  |  Posted in Water

The Great Lakes region may not be known as a hot bed of extreme weather events like those that buffet the Plains or swamp the coasts. But the Midwest is girding for climate change.

Super green lane<br />Sunset Avenue, the main drag of Butler University, just got a green spruce up. Indianapolis, Indiana green streets helped pay the $3 million project which has a porous pavement bike lane and 8,000 sq ft of linear rain garden. The alternative, conventional plan would have cost $3.5 million. Image: Williams Creek Consulting.A bridge to the future<br />Michigan City, Indiana wanted to do its part to clean up Lake Michigan and making its beach safe for swimming. A massive rain garden above and new sewer underground helped. Image: Alliance for the Great Lakes (which secured a $60,000 grant for the project).<br />Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District won its Ohio Supreme Court case to charge landowners a fee for their stormwater runoff. In part by digitizing its entire service area. Here, for example, is the Super Walmart at Steelyard Commons in Cleveland. <br />Nine Mile Creek in South Euclid before the city worked with Biohabitats, Inc. on what they call a regenerative stormwater conveyance. The creek was channeled into a concrete ditch. Image: Biohabitats, Inc.<br />Nine Mile Creek in South Euclid after its regeneration (not restoration) as the firm Biohabitats prefers to call it. Image: Biohabitats, Inc.<br />Milwaukee Water Commons is a citizen led effort to explore what it means to be a water city. They hold yearly summits and are working on a 10 year vision that the community gets to vote on. Image: Milwaukee Water Commons.Scranton Flats<br />The first publicly funded part of the Towpath Trail in Cleveland includes a 2,800 square foot nature shoreline. Image: Ohio & Erie Canalway

From Milwaukee to Cleveland, cities are figuring out how to absorb and otherwise minimize the “billion dollar storm event” damage that has become a fact of life across the U.S.

“Since 1980, we’ve seen a 5% increase in one-billion-dollar disasters nationwide,” Katy Lackey of the Water Environment Research Foundation noted at Cleveland State University’s Water Resilient Cities event this week.

The opportunity to do something about it drew hundreds of government and private sector leaders.

They discussed what insiders call the “blue economy.” What’s that? In part, it’s adaptation strategies to help anticipate how massive storms will contaminate and overwhelm coastlines, backyards, rivers and lakes. There’s also an interesting debate whether “green infrastructure”—engineered wetlands and rain gardens—can reach significant scale to replace “gray”—the big, expensive underground pipes being build by sewer districts.

Here are images of some cool green infrastructure presented at CSU. The kind that even those who don’t wonk out on this stuff can appreciate and want to grow more of in Northeast Ohio.

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Wendy Kellogg
2 years ago

Thanks to Mark Lefkowitz for attending the conference and posting these images. And thank you to all of you who attended. Please look for more about water resilient cities coming from CSU this coming year.

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