It's About More Than Stormwater
Bioretention in Charlotte, NC.
Photo courtesy of NCSU-BAE.
Sitting in a room of civil engineers, one expects to hear a lot about stormwater. More novel is hearing about increasing biodiversity and improving community health.
That was our experience this month at the Green Infrastructure Summit in North Carolina. Hosted by North Carolina State University's Dept. of Biological and Agricultural Engineeering and others, it brought together engineers, planners, and those interested in stormwater management. These folks know how to treat and manage runoff.
Historically, the goal for this crowd has been to remove pollutants from stormwater and reduce the amount of runoff that goes into streams and rivers.
But this summit was something more--a more holistic look at the benefits of green infrastructure.
Dr. Bill Hunt, a world-renowned researcher in stormwater management, was the moderator for the summit. He noted that green infrastructure creates ecosystems. These ecosystems provide services beyond water management, such as carbon sequestration, improved air quality, wildlife habitat, and increased biodiversity. According to Dr. Hunt,
"As we monetize these other benefits, the types of practices we use will change."
He sees planners and engineers turning to green infrastructure more and more. And that's exciting for those of us in the green industry.
While this summit was definitely not about plants, it was encouraging to hear the emphasis on looking beyond stormwater.
We know plants are integral to green infrastructure, and we have the expertise and capability to bring plants to this burgeoning field.
To learn more about some of the topics presented at the summit, try these links: