River Rally 2016 Session: Promoting Green Streets

Every year tens of thousands of gallons of water run off neighborhood streets carrying pollutants and erosive energy to our most vulnerable streams. Historically, these flows found their way into the soil more immediately, replenishing ground water and local creeks, and they were filtered by soils and vegetation. In most urban areas, the road system can account for more than 30 percent of the impervious cover. Addressing this significant source of runoff and pollution can support local priorities for reducing combined sewer overflows, improving water quality and reducing erosive, habitat-damaging runoff. The attached presentation is from a workshop given at River Rally 2016 in Mobile, Alabama.

River Network shares a replicable strategy for analyzing the amount of polluted stormwater that runs off the road system and prioritizing green stormwater features in the right-of-way as well as ideas for using the analysis to convince local officials. This approach may be especially suited for mid-sized cities.

The Cumberland River Compact explains its Green Alley project which is transforming alleys from stormwater conveyances of pollution into areas that percolate and clean polluted stormwater, thereby improving water quality throughout the city. The Cumberland River Compact is leading an effort in Nashville that engages citizens, partner non-profits and city government. Unlike a green streets initiative, the program does not rely on the municipal government for success; this project celebrates the citizen actions that yield reductions in non-point source pollution. With moderate success, organizations can reach stormwater mitigation metrics in the millions of gallons annually. The program idea has captured the imagination of funders, the media and citizens. It received funding from Cities of Service, was featured in Governing Magazine and has received widespread coverage in local media.


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