Umbrella Stormwater Bulletin 42
16 March 2016
Published by Green Communities Canada

Working with developers to manage rain in the Lake Simcoe watershed

Photo: LID on Forest Glen Road

Like many lakes impacted by urbanization, Ontario's Lake Simcoe ecosystem faces challenges. This has long been recognized, and governments have been taking steps to protect and restore this ecosystem with multiple solutions, including green infrastructure.

To learn more about how the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority (LSRCA) is supporting better site design practices and green infrastructure join us for our webinar Wednesday 30 March. Register online at

Over the past several years, LSRCA has become a champion for the use of green infrastructure to manage stormwater runoff. The need to reduce phosphorus levels in the Lake is one of the main drivers. Lessons learned in this area may be useful for the Lake Erie watershed, which is also looking at meeting strict phosphorus reduction targets in the coming years (both Lake Simcoe and Lake Erie have set targets to reduce phosphorus loads by 40%). Phosphorus loadings from urban stormwater runoff are difficult to measure, but watershed streams account for 56% of loads to Lake Simcoe, and urban sources are certainly a large contributor. 

LSRCA programs address stormwater runoff from both new developments and existing built up areas.

For new developments, LSRCA has developed a model bylaw and stormwater management guidelines for adoption by municipalities. These are based on Minimal Impact Design Standards out of Minnesota, a long time leader in managing rain where it falls. These guidelines include the requirement to manage at least the first 25mm (1 inch) of rainfall on site in new construction, via infiltration or evapotranspiration (the standard in many U.S. municipalities).

Lake Simcoe Conservation also works closely with developers and consultants to help them implement low impact development (LID) stormwater management, which is still a growing practice for meeting quantity and quality stormwater targets. Through the RainScaping program, developers have the opportunity to...[Read more....]




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Economic impact of green stormwater infrastructure (GSI).  Philadelphia’s Sustainable Business Network has released a report assessing the economic impact of the Green City, Clean Waters program—a 25-year plan to protect local watersheds through stormwater management and GSI. The report discusses the impact on public and private investments, employment, and tax revenue; future impacts on the real estate market, and neighbourhood-level benefits. In the first five years of completed GSI projects, it is estimated that proximity to GSI produces a 10.3% increase in house value—an aggregate $1.3 billion increase in citywide property value, producing an annual increase of $18 million in property taxes.   

Investing in climate resilient infrastructure. With the current Canadian municipal infrastructure deficit estimated at $200 billion, we need to find creative ways to fund and incentivize green infrastructure to mitigate the impacts of climate change. Corktown Common in Toronto is one example of turning unused land into valuable green, community space that provides the added benefit of providing ecosystem services to help mitigate flooding.

Barriers and solutions. There are many barriers to implementing green stormwater infrastructure—but often there are also solutions. RAIN Community Solutions offers nine responses to common misconceptions about green stormwater infrastructure.
Assessing nutrient loading in Lake Simcoe.  The Canadian Water Network has issued a call for research proposals to assess the nutrient contribution from urban sources during extreme storms in the Lake Simcoe watershed. CWN also wants recommendations for best management practices to reduce nutrient inputs.

Changing the culture. Increasingly urban planners and other municipal staff are recognizing the many benefits of green infrastructure. Yet many cities are slow to incorporate green infrastructure into their building plans. An Australian study identifies the greatest barriers for urban planners: a reluctance to change embedded practices, and the challenges of working with multiple stakeholders and city departments.


Online stormwater manual wiki. The Minnesota Stormwater Design Team has created a user-friendly online resource with information on green stormwater infrastructure best management practices. Canadian users may also find the regulatory and credit information of interest.

Green Infrastructure designs for homeowners and municipalities.  The Delta Institute has published a downloadable guide with green infrastructure design templates, aimed at addressing flood issues within the Great Lakes region. Templates include: rain gardens, stormwater planters, permeable pavement, underground storage, and bioswales. The toolkit also provides information for municipal stormwater managers and decision makers on green infrastructure implementation. 

Canadian eco-asset strategy case study. The town of Gibsons, B.C. is among the first Canadian municipalities to place a financial and infrastructure value on the services that green spaces, aquifers, wetlands, woodlots, and creeks provide to a community—helping to integrate these natural assets into municipal operating budgets and maintenance. Services valued include water supply, rainwater management, flood control, and water purification.


Watershed Resiliency & Restoration. Webinar. 17 March 2016. Presented by Dr. Hans Schreier, Professor Emeritus, Faculty of Land and Food Systems, UBC. Register now

TRIECA 2016 Conference. 23-24 March 2016. Brampton, Ontario. Includes a discussion on Community-Wide Implementation of Green Stormwater Infrastructure: Policies & Strategies for Local Action, presented by Clifford Maynes, Green Communities Canada. See conference program and register online.

Managing rain where it falls in the Lake Simcoe watershed. Webinar. 30 March 2016. 1-2pm (EDT). Hosted by RAIN Community Solutions and presented by Steve Auger from the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority (LSRCA).  Register now

Adaptation Canada 2016. Conference. 12-14 April 2016. Ottawa, Ontario. Registration and information online. Hosted by Adaptation Canada.

Stormwater and Densification. Presentation. 12 April 2016. Calgary, Alberta. Registration and information online. Hosted by Alberta Low Impact Development Partnership (ALIDP).

Grey to Green Conference on Green Infrastructure and Climate Change. 1-4 June 2016. Ryerson University, Toronto. Read detailed agenda and register by April 7 for early bird discounted rates.

Want to see more events? Check out the RAIN Events Calendar for other upcoming green infrastructure workshops, training, webinars and conferences.


Climate Adaptation -Stormwater Intern. Paid internship for maximum of 52 weeks. Anticipated to start in April/May 2016 upon funding approval by Natural Resources Canada. Work out of Green Communities Canada, Peterborough. Ideal for recent graduates under 30 in the field of natural science or related fields. Apply by Monday 21 March. Read complete job description and how to apply

The Umbrella Stormwater Bulletin is a free, biweekly newsletter on green stormwater infrastructure published by the RAIN Community Solutions program of Green Communities Canada. Our audience is made up of municipal stormwater professionals, policymakers, academics, engineers, conservation authorities, nonprofits, and interested community members. We encourage submissions from our readers. Please contact the editor to submit a news item, blog idea, or event. RAIN Community Solutions builds support for and participation in stormwater innovations that reduce runoff by managing rain where it falls.

Copyright © 2016 Green Communities Canada, All rights reserved.


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