TMACOG Planners at Academic Forum
The University of Toledo has been studying the implementation of green infrastructure as a strategy to improve urban water quality. TMACOG projects have been part of that study. At a University of Toledo workshop in late May, TMACOG staff presented information about effective and innovative projects that TMACOG and partners have managed.
Maumee River Coordinator Matt Horvat presented information about the restoration project at the Toledo Botanical Gardens and about the impact of local dam removals. Stormwater Planner Kari Gerwin explained how vacant land in Lucas County is evaluated for green infrastructure potential.
The Toledo Botanical Garden project was a large restoration program that restored natural water flow in an Ottawa River tributary and eliminated silted-in ponds that lacked natural habitat. Restoring natural function to the waterway reduces erosion which in turn reduces nutrients in the water stream. Nutrients, particularly phosphorus, contribute to the development of harmful algal blooms. Restored aquatic and riparian habitat create healthy living areas for fish, birds, and other wildlife. Adding stepping stones and easing steep banks make the area accessible for visitors. The dam removal projects show similar benefits: habitat improvement, natural water flow restored, reduction of erosion, and improved safe access to water. Horvat’s presentation is here.
Kari Gerwin’s presentation addressed how the problems of vacant urban land and compromised water quality can be addressed together through planned use of green infrastructure. TMACOG is working with the Lucas County Land Bank to assess vacant land for potential beneficial use. Analysis looks at soil type (how permeable is the natural soil), future land use established in local plans, proximity to green spaces, and relation to flooding reports and floodplains. Gerwin showed small scale solutions including rain gardens with downspout redirection; medium scale solutions such as bioswales and stormwater wetlands; and large scale solutions including reforestation and natural restoration. Results of the analysis have been mapped and will be accessible for developers and planners.