Session Details

Stormwater Infrastructure and Parks: Comparing Scaled Approaches with Non-traditional Partnerships

Integrating green infrastructure creatively as a means of managing stormwater is now standard practice of cities large and small. In this session, we will hear from the Mississippi Watershed Management Organization (MWMO) on how they coordinated their planning, design, and construction of the Towerside District Stormwater System using four primary components: conveyance between private property, stormwater treatment in filtration basins, underground storage, and stormwater reuse system for irrigation of the private developments. The result: an integrated district stormwater system that meets local stormwater requirements, all layered within an artful stormwater park. 

The system is the first district green infrastructure stormwater system in Minneapolis (and region) setting a precedent for how the City manages runoff in a shared manner between multiple privately-owned parcels.  The system reduces costs while incorporating more effective and environmentally friendly stormwater treatment methods, while also providing economic incentives for redevelopment and new housing in formerly industrial land. In 2017, the first development came online, with other developments in various stages of design and construction in 2018. 

We’ll compare that sweeping approach on the Mississippi River to how the DC Department of Energy and Environment (DOEE) approaches working with public and private landowners individually to install green stormwater infrastructure, reducing the impacts of stormwater runoff on all of its water bodies. In order to achieve its water quality goals, the District requires expanding the reach of partners engaged in watershed protection activities. 

In 2016 the (DOEE) launched the Community Stormwater Solutions Grant program to provide start-up funding of up to $20,000 for community-oriented projects aimed at improving water quality and raising awareness about the impacts of stormwater runoff. The program increased DOEE’s work with community based organizations and supported these partners in their work to improve the District’s watersheds, all the while building capacity among fledgling organizations.