Stormwater Projects Aided by Student Work
TMACOG’s work to manage stormwater is partially funded by short-term project-oriented grants. To extend the range of these grants, TMACOG’s Environmental Planner Ann-Drea Hensley has developed some creative partnerships. For two grants in process this year, Hensley is partnering with students and teachers at Penta Career Center, Springfield High School, and Sylvania Northview High School.
Eleven students in Daniel Wyandt’s Geographic Information Systems (GIS) class at Penta contributed essential work to a project in the Swan Creek watershed. This project is an inventory of locations in the watershed that would benefit from Best Management Practices regarding stormwater management. Over a two-month period, the students identified and outlined parking lots that could be potential locations. With this GIS-based information, Hensley is able to create a database and rank the locations of impervious lots suitable for retrofits. She and her team will then research the locations and make recommendations for improvements to stormwater management. The team on this project includes the Lucas Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD), Lucas County Engineer’s office, and Ohio EPA. When complete, the inventory will streamline work for any agency or jurisdiction in the watershed that is working to improve stormwater management.
The second project involves students in research and in graphic design. Students are designing educational signage for several sites around the region. Some signs will explain what a watershed is, or describe the value of wetlands. Others will explain how dumping trash affects water quality and flooding. In order to design effective signs, students had to do some basic research about watersheds and stormwater and then create effective displays. Hensley was impressed. “The students really went above and beyond what we expected. They came up with approaches that I hadn’t considered.” The signs will be installed in the spring.
In addition to making grant dollars go further, the students’ work might satisfy requirements of the Lucas County Stormwater Utility for education credits.