Umbrella Stormwater Bulletin | 14 January : 16

Photo credit: COA via Thinkstock

COA boosts green infrastructure commitment 

Here’s some good news to start off 2015.

The new Canada-Ontario Agreement on Great Lakes Water Quality and Ecosystem Health, signed late last month, contains numerous references to green infrastructure and low impact development. Green infrastructure is seen as part of the solution to Great Lakes problems such as high nutrient levels, sediments, and other contaminants.

Ontario specifically commits (p. 19) to update the municipal wastewater policy and approvals process, including: “policies specific to stormwater, green infrastructure, construction runoff and sediment management.” Ontario will provide “guidance to facilitate the uptake of innovative source control measures that reduce stormwater volumes and enhance resilience to climate change, such as green infrastructure and low impact development.” In fact, the MOECC has recently released a call for bids to create a new LID stormwater design guide.

COA also commits Ontario to encourage “the use of green infrastructure and low impact development early in municipal planning decisions, so that stormwater and climate change adaptation are considered as part of project design and approvals.” This latter point speaks to a common concern – that green infrastructure principles and features are often left out of the design and approval process until late in the game, when it is too late to alter plans.

(Click here to read more about the COA and green infrastructure... )

POLL: What are the biggest threats to Great Lakes water quality and ecosystem health?

Contribute to the bulletin!

Let us know if you have a green infrastructure project or story that should be featured in the blog, a news item you'd like to share, or an event that Umbrella subscribers would be interested in. Email us or contribute to the thread in The Umbrella.

Latest news

New guidance for Ontario LID on the way. The Ministry of Environment and Climate Change has begun the process of creating a Low Impact Development Stormwater Management Guidance Manual, putting out a call for bids last month. Lack of standards has been frequently cited as a reason that green infrastructure isn't more widely adopted in this province. The long-awaited new manual will provide the technical specifications needed to move forward with widespread implementation. However, we may not be seeing it for a couple of years, as the proposed contract is for 18 months with a possible 6 month extension.

Cities need to go on a low salt diet. Road salt degrades freshwater resources, and can contaminate drinking water, putting human health at risk. Management practices like calibrating equipment, not overfilling trucks, and pre-wetting salt can prevent salt overuse, protecting water and saving money.

Sewer overflow goes viral in Moncton. A watershed group in Moncton caused a stir by releasing a video showing raw sewage discharging into the Petitcodiac River. This is a common occurrence with Moncton’s out of date sewer system, which is overwhelmed by 25 mm of rain. The video, with over 15,000 views, is bringing public attention to this little-known issue.

Permeable paving thrives in the cold. One of the world’s largest installations of permeable paving is in Chicago, which gets significant snowfall each year. With good design and maintenance, researchers have shown that permeable paving is a great option for managing stormwater, even in cold climates.

Clean up stormwater to remediate Hamilton Harbour. According to a new report by the Bay Area Restoration Council (BARC), phosphorus and sediment from stormwater runoff need to be addressed in order to reach targets for water quality in Hamilton Harbour. At the same time, Hamilton is spending millions to deal with major flooding issues around Red Hill Creek. "Mother Nature is a tricky thing to predict," says the director of facilities management and capital programs for the City. BARC recommends LID and green infrastructure to reduce runoff and pollution.

Share your ideas for upcoming webinars. The next Umbrella webinar series is in development, and is planned to run from late February to early May. We want your input - do you have topic you want to hear more about? Do you know of a great speaker? Would you like to present? Contact Clara Blakelock or reply in the forum with your thoughts.

Green infrastructure in Barrie Umbrella member Jeffery Smith wants to know if there are any GI policies or groups working in Barrie, Ontario. Please contribute your answers in the Umbrella forum.


Umbrella Webinars
  • Monitoring results of LID across Canada. 16 January, 2015. 12-1pm EST. Chris Denich of Aquafor Beech on case studies of  how LID has been performing across the country.
  • Implementing a stormwater utility and incentive program without getting soaked. 23 January, 2015. 12-1pm EST. Denise McGoldrick of the City of Waterloo on the stormwater rate and credit program, how it came about, and lessons learned.
  • Urban flooding in Canada. 30 Jaunuary, 2015. 12-1pm EST. Dan Sandink of the Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction on trends in extreme rainfall and urban flooding in Canada.
FCM Sustainable Communities Conference. 10-12 February, 2015. London, Ontario.The SCC brings sustainability leaders together from across the country to share their challenges and successes, learn from each other, and collaborate to build their own momentum on the path to sustainability.

Water: a risky business. 13 February, 2015. London, Ontario. Credit Valley Conservation and partners invite you to join leaders from across North America and learn about tools to help your small, medium or large municipality manage risk and optimize your investment in water infrastructure.

TRIECA. 25-26 March, 2015. Ontario's premier stormwater and sediment and erosion control conference. Register now.

The Umbrella is an online community designed for knowledge-sharing about green stormwater infrastructure. Its members are municipal stormwater professionals, policymakers, academics, engineers, conservation authorities, nonprofits, and interested community members. The Umbrella is managed by Green Communities Canada. Submit an item for an upcoming issue or provide feedback on the bulletin.

Copyright © 2015 RAIN Community Solutions, All rights reserved.


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