DE town to implement innovative green infrastructure

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BETHEL, DE, July 18, 2014 -- The town of Bethel in Sussex County, Del., will soon receive $100,000 in grant funds from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) through the Green Streets, Green Jobs, Green Towns (G3) program to help the community implement innovative green infrastructure and green street practices. Bethel's grant supports projects that meet the state's goals of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Implementation Plan (WIP) through reducing flooding, managing stormwater runoff and improving the water quality of Broad Creek, a tributary of the Chesapeake Bay.

Located on the banks of Broad Creek west of Laurel, Bethel has an important historic connection to the Chesapeake Bay, as a center of shipbuilding and maritime repairs. The tiny town of fewer than 200 residents offers views of waterways and green open spaces, while Bethel's natural, historic and cultural qualities on the Western Sussex Scenic and Historic Highway make it a haven for biking, hiking, pleasure driving and other recreational activities. The entire municipality, which is only 0.4 square miles, was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1975.

Currently, Bethel lacks sufficient stormwater controls. The few existing stormwater catch basins simply capture runoff that would otherwise impinge against bridge abutments and discharge it directly into Broad Creek without the benefit of treatment. The G3 grant supports the installation of drainage and stormwater controls that will reduce flooding and pollution, while helping to make the community greener.

The G3 Program is managed and funded in part by the Chesapeake Bay Trust, with both EPA and Maryland's Department of Natural Resources serving as funding partners. Bethel's G3 grant complements the town's 2012 National Fish and Wildlife Foundation's (NFWF) Local Government Capacity Building Initiative grant that was used to develop green infrastructure design and construction plans for projects that address the flooding and stormwater runoff problems in the town.

The NFWF grant funded the survey and design of Phase 1 in Bethel. Additional funding was provided through the State of Delaware Surface Water Matching Planning Grant program for the survey and design of Phase 2 projects. Prioritizing the areas to be targeted for retrofits included extensive public outreach by community officials, residents and property owners through several town meetings and "sidewalk" discussions. The G3 grant will be used to help Bethel construct and install several projects in two phases. Total cost of the projects is expected to be more than $450,000. The town is seeking additional funding to complete both phases.

Phase I:

A series of bioretention areas, or rain gardens, will be installed that will reduce stormwater runoff and drainage concerns. Filterra trees boxes, which collect and treat stormwater runoff, will be placed throughout the town. The tree box will pipe the overflow of flood waters to the bioretention gardens. In addition, curbed streetscape islands will be installed with native plantings and stone borders to prevent water and sediment from draining into Broad Creek.

Phase II:

A living shoreline is proposed along Broad Creek where the existing shoreline has eroded over the years due to stormwater runoff. This 325-foot shoreline will replace an existing shoreline and may include reinforcing concrete riprap and selectively removing invasive plants, such as multiflora rose, while keeping fallen trees as habitat for wildlife, including turtles, fish, eagles, and ospreys. A vegetative buffer including wildlife-friendly plants, such as blue flag iris and jewelweed, may be planted.

See also:

"EPA, Chesapeake Bay Trust to provide green infrastructure initiative grants"

"Green infrastructure grants available to improve Chesapeake Bay water quality"

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