Storm Water Beautiful

June 9, 2008

Spring is in full swing, and summer is just around the corner. What better time to appreciate the natural resources around us?

Whether jogging along a beachfront, fishing in a clear stream or lounging on a hillside is more your style, the season offers countless opportunities to appreciate lovely landscapes.

Part of what makes the storm water industry so exceptional is that its efforts regularly go beyond protecting these settings; today’s nature-oriented technologies and methods can actually contribute to the aesthetics of natural surroundings while reducing developmental impact. “Green” storm water tools and techniques help alleviate long-term costs and the strain on our nation’s aging infrastructure, and they are applicable in projects big and small.

The plants and soil that comprise green roofs absorb rainwater and provide natural insulation. Porous pavers promote groundwater recharge and can be arranged to construct driveways, walkways and patios. Planting native vegetation helps control erosion, enhance wildlife habitats and keep sediment from polluting water bodies. Dedicated open spaces such as parks and forest preserves offer recreational opportunities and foster natural drainage.

In addition to protecting our beloved beaches, streams and hillsides, none of these options is too hard on the eyes; in fact, storm water solutions can be quite pretty. The general public’s perception of the industry should improve as we look beyond just bulldozers and giant slabs of concrete and offer easy-to-follow suggestions for living an environmentally friendly lifestyle.

Community groups planting gardens, decorative rain barrels amid landscaping, grass swales stretching along permeable parking lots—the more frequent these types of occurrences, the better. It’s not too often you hear local residents and business owners arguing against these sorts of solutions, plus their implementation can diminish the need for more invasive and expensive options which do stir up controversy.

Going green is more than just a trend: It is key to the effectiveness, progress and livelihood of storm water management efforts.

… And a few more gardens and wetlands certainly won’t make for shabby scenery.

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About the Author

Caitlin Cunningham