How Trees Can Retain Stormwater Runoff
Tree City USA Bulletin #55—Sources for More Information
The issue of stormwater management is sometimes complex and highly technical. However, the approach any community takes will depend on the understanding of available alternatives and public support to pursue those that provide maximum environmental benefits. The following sources of information should provide additional assistance and inspiration for making trees and other vegetation an integral part of stormwater management.
Government Agencies that Can Assist
Environmental Protection Agency
The EPA has the major, federal responsibility for stormwater management in the United States. It is both a regulatory agency and one that produces a wealth of helpful information and guidelines. The EPA’s Stormwater Management website is a good place to start searching for additional information about green infrastructure, runoff simulation models and many related subjects.
You may also want to view Reduce Runoff: Slow It Down, Spread It Out, Soak It In, a 9-minute, online video produced by EPA and the U.S. Botanic Garden.
USDA Forest Service Research/Pacific Southwest Research Station
The Center for Urban Forestry, now using the name Urban Ecosystem and Social Dynamic Program, has done pioneering work on how trees intercept precipitation in urban settings and how this knowledge can be put to practical use. This organization’s website is a treasure trove of information.
USDA National Agroforestry Center
Headquartered in Lincoln, Nebraska, the National Agroforestry Center focuses on ways trees can be put to work in urban and rural settings, including riparian forest buffers.
The i-Tree Suite
Here is a link to complete information about the computer-based i-Tree suite of programs that can help communities of all sizes analyze their tree resource, including how to determine the value of stormwater retention and other environmental services. Additional programs are being developed, all of which are excellent ways to help manage your urban forest.
Green Value Calculators
The Green Values® Stormwater Toolbox was originally developed primarily for use by planners, engineers and other municipal staff. However, these calculators can be used by anyone with a serious interest in the costs and benefits of green infrastructure.
Here are some sources of additional information mentioned or used in Bulletin 55:
- Vegetated swale specifications used in the City of Sandy, Oregon.
- Bioengineering and green roof examples. These are from projects completed by the consulting company, Kestrel Design Group.
- Structural Soil as developed and tested by Cornell University.
- Silva Cells, including case studies in their use for stormwater management.
- Stormwater basins using natural landscaping are explained in an excellent online publication produced by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.
The Portland (Oregon) Bureau of Environmental Services has provided much helpful information not only in the creation of Bulletin 55, but as hosts and field trip guides at the 2009 National Partners in Community Forestry Conference. This agency has a wealth of information about most aspects of stormwater management, complete with educational material and examples of success.
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