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Promoting Watershed-Based Stormwater Management for Linear Projects through the Green Highways Partnership Patrick Jeffers, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region III / NNEMS Student, Case Western Reserve University * Background Image Courtesy of Kansas State Alumni Association *
Watershed-Based Stormwater Management • Regulatory compliance at a minimum • Watershed-wide needs considered through watershed improvement plans • Stormwater Management Plans focused on good environmental results • Stormwater Management Plans integrated into project development and project features • Use partnerships to leverage and deliver a combination of watershed improvements to cohesively and consciously produce tangible results
Goal Develop and implement a collaborative, watershed-based approach to stormwater management focused on results. We recognize that highways coexist with other land uses and that cost effective approaches to stormwater management can yield watershed protection, even improvement, if we integrate planning, maintain flexibility, and focus on outcomes.
Identify attributes of Green Highways relating to a watershed approach to stormwater management through case studies of projects and organizations. • A charrette is scheduled to take place in November that will address qualities that define a “Green Highway.” The discussion will focus around the proposal for MD Route 301 to be developed as a “Green Highway.” • GETF and the LID Center have received a grant from EPA Region III to document, evaluate, and demonstrate more effective stormwater practices that also support watershed restoration. They will work with MDSHA on their pilot projects to compare the effectiveness of innovative BMPs, demonstrate water quality and market benefits of innovative BMPs, develop values for trading schemes and study their effectiveness relating to watershed-based stormwater management, and compare these results with similar research by other organizations.
Incorporate 10 Innovative Stormwater Demonstration Projects in Maryland, District of Columbia, and Pennsylvania. • EPA Region III has been working with PennDOT and PADEP to pilot stormwater management projects within the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. Potential locations and projects will be reported soon. • MDSHA and EPA Region III are partnering on a $ 100K Cooperative Agreement ($50K – EPA/ $50K MSHA) awarded by EPA Region III to implement pilot projects incorporating and evaluating performance of innovative stormwater management techniques, including Low Impact Development strategies in 3 representative watersheds. The results will be utilized to target and project environmental outcomes for broader application in the Chesapeake Bay watersheds, as well as in other target watersheds in the Mid-Atlantic. • FHWA and EPA Region III have offered $1 million in grants for watershed restoration projects in the Anacostia River Watershed. Up to three grants or cooperative assistance agreements will be selected for funding. At least one selected will have to focus on integrating transportation planning with watershed management. The projects will have a performance period of three to five years. The application deadline has passed, and awards should be announced in October.
Address regulatory flexibility and policy support to promote watershed based stormwater management - (NPDES, 404, 401, state regulations TMDLs, etc). • A Green Highways Regulatory Roundtable is scheduled to take place in October. This discussion will focus on regulatory flexibility in addressing stormwater management projects. • EPA Region III has conducted a review and of innovative stormwater BMPs related to linear transportation projects in order to rank effectiveness as related to highway impacts and watershed benefits. The review was conducted from resources found in NCHRP 25-25 (Environmental Stewardship Practices, Procedures, and Policies for Highway Construction and Maintenance). Results will be applied to stormwater pilots in MD, PA, and DC.
Identify research need topics & areas. • The Stormwater Theme Team has identified a number of research opportunities regarding stormwater management on highway projects. These opportunities were generated from discussions during Green Highways Forums and meetings, as well as from the DOT NCHRP Report 521 (Identification of Research Needs Related to Highway Runoff Management). • EPA Region III has partnered with Villanova University and Prince George’s County to conduct a comparison study of porous asphalt and pervious concrete. The study will compare the two stormwater BMPs side by side for effectiveness and durability.