MN develops first-of-its-kind stormwater management program using trees over pipes

Sponsored by


SAN FRANCISCO, CA, June 19, 2014 -- The state of Minnesota has recently developed a first-of-its kind program that encourages communities to invest in the use of more trees rather than pipes to better manage stormwater -- potentially helping save thousands of dollars across the board. 

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency created the credit system as part of a new chapter on trees in their stormwater manual, which also provides recommendations on how to ensure that trees thrive and provide the maximum ecological benefits for planners, developers, landscape architects, and builders.

The federal Clean Water Act (CWA) imposes requirements on stormwater discharges from specific municipal, construction and industrial activities. Minnesota is helping communities use trees and other green infrastructure to help address these requirements while mitigating the high cost of installing only pipes.  

The new credit system is part of Minnesota's Minimal Impact Design Standards (MIDS), which focuses on treating rain where it falls to minimize negative impacts from stormwater runoff and to preserve natural resources. The credit is based on a formula that establishes criteria and methods to measure the benefits of evapotranspiration, which is the combination of water evaporating from the soil and transpiration from the plants growing in the soil. 

An additional focus of the Minnesota stormwater manual is the importance of planting trees properly with adequate soil volumes, even in urban areas. The manual recommends soil requirements of two cubic feet of soil for a square foot of canopy area -- the minimum for a healthy tree.

Tree size is crucial for maximizing stormwater benefits. For trees that are planted and maintained correctly and provided with adequate soil volume, the state is therefore giving credits based on the projected mature canopy size. If a tree is planted with less soil than it needs, the credit is reduced.

As states look to alternative solutions to manage stormwater effectively, Minnesota and its new credit system is an example of what can be done through simple formulas and technology that help incentivize sustainable, tree-filled communities. 

See also:

"Trees help Texas communities conserve water, energy"

"New evapotranspiration maps provide crucial information for water managers"

###

Sponsored by

TODAY'S HEADLINES

Maryland WWTP's new solar array to serve as state's largest municipally-owned system

Standard Solar is set to install a 2.1-megawatt ground-mount solar system in Pocomoke City, Md., at the city's wastewater treatment facility. Once completed this December, it will be the largest municipally-owned system in the state.

Major Texas company to pay $1.6M civil penalty for CWA oil spill violations

The Department of Justice and the EPA have announced that Superior Crude Gathering has agreed to pay a civil penalty for alleged violations of the Clean Water Act stemming from a crude oil spill in 2010 from tanks at the company's oil storage facility in the town of Ingleside, Texas.

Bureau of Reclamation makes WaterSMART grants available to improve water, energy conservation

The Bureau of Reclamation is inviting states, tribes, water and irrigation districts, and other water- and power-related organizations to apply for funding to cost-share on projects that conserve and use water more efficiently, increase renewable energy use and improve energy efficiency.

Three major CA airports to receive new stormwater monitoring services, equipment under contract

Los Angeles World Airports has awarded a contract to Alta Environmental for consulting services up to $5 million for three years on an as-needed basis to improve stormwater monitoring for Los Angeles International Airport, Ontario International Airport and Van Nuys Airport.

FOLLOW US ON SOCIAL MEDIA