Pitt Researchers' Report Pushes for Regional Green Infrastructure Database

Sourced from EurekAlert

Stakeholders invested in the region's waterways, stormwater management and green infrastructure have a new roadmap to help understand the most important challenges they're facing and how to outline the most effective solutions.

The Pittsburgh Collaboratory for Water Research, Education and Outreach, which was founded in January 2018 by faculty out of The University of Pittsburgh Department of Geology and Environmental Science with support from The Heinz Endowments, has released the white paper, "Green Infrastructure for Stormwater Management: Knowledge Gaps and Approaches."

The paper is an effort to help stakeholders identify the types of data needed to guide the most useful research about regional stormwater management and green infrastructure efforts and the best means of sharing that data.

At the moment, green infrastructure projects such as rain barrels or infiltration designed to capture and reroute storm water are underway in several different municipalities and townships in an effort to keep stormwater from flooding sanitary systems and spilling into clean waterways. Communities are using several different approaches but there's no way of knowing the positive and negative effects they're making upon their own waterways and those in other communities.

The International Stormwater Best Management Practices Database, which is designed to share data from green infrastructure projects across the globe, only features 11 entries from Pennsylvania with none from the Western Pennsylvania region, according to the study.

"There are a lot of eggs in the green infrastructure basket. It's important we're able to evaluate whether it's working, and right now, we don't have the data to do that," said director Emily Elliott. "There's a concern that all this money is being spent on green infrastructure projects but nobody's keeping track of whether it's effective or not, which approaches work best or how these systems can be modified to handle the region's unique geological, soil and water conditions.

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