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Implementing Stormwater and Erosion Control Best Management Practices - Forester Network. Concluding this three-part series on stormwater and erosion control standards of professionalism, author Jerald S. Fifield further discusses concepts of professional integrity derived from an educated understanding of S&EC components and follow-up accountability toward project implementation. Despite a diversity of professional backgrounds—whether the credentials originate in engineering disciplines or the field of environmental sciences—professional certification, a thorough understanding of planning and regulatory requirements, as well as experience in stormwater and erosion control practices hold such professionals accountable.

Are Professional Engineers Qualified to Develop, Sign, and Review Sediment and Erosion Control Plans? (Part 3) By Jerald S. Fifield Seeking professional guidance for funding stormwater systems? Designers and reviewers must be able to demonstrate accountability for their S&EC expertise. Evaluation is essential to demonstrate accountability. Zero Counties in the U.S. Have Enough Housing for Families in Extreme Poverty. From Portland, Oregon, to Portland, Maine. From Jacksonville to Juneau. No matter where you look, there isn’t enough affordable housing. Without exception, there is no county in the U.S. that has enough affordable housing. The crisis is national and it is growing. Since 2000, rents across the nation have increased. New research from the Urban Institute shows that the supply of housing for extremely low-income families, which was already in short supply, is only declining.

Using data from the Census Bureau and the U.S. In Travis County, Texas, for example, the extremely low-income cutoff for a family of four is $21,950. The Urban Institute’s research shows how the number of extremely low-income households around the nation has grown since 2000. Strike federal support from the map—as many members of Congress might like to do—and the picture grows considerably bleaker. At the other end of the spectrum, the situation is bleak. New Fund Will Help More Seattle Residents Build Rain Gardens. RainWise garden Image by Lisa Stiffler Seattle’s RainWise rain garden program is spreading green stormwater solutions across the city, but the rebate program has been out of reach for some homeowners with more modest incomes. While RainWise offers generous reimbursements—$4,600 on average for the installation of rain gardens and cisterns—the homeowner has to pay for the work upfront, then wait up to two months for the program to pay them back.

It’s an expense that not everyone can shoulder. A new financial program called the Green Infrastructure Rebate Advance Fund (GIRAF) should remove that hurdle by bridging the payment gap. A separate access fund will also provide small grants to partially pay for projects near the Duwamish River that cost more than the city’s rebate. RainWise “is definitely an exciting success story,” said Aaron Clark, the driving force behind GIRAF and program manager for the non-profit Stewardship Partners. Seattle rain garden image by Lisa Stiffler. Port of Seattle Green Infrastructure Success. This map shows where your state’s oysters are in trouble. This story is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration. When carbon dioxide emissions from power plants and cars rise into the atmosphere, they don’t always stay there.

While the majority of these emissions hang around to create the greenhouse effect that causes global warming, up to 35 percent of human-made carbon falls into the ocean. When that happens, the pH level of the ocean drops, causing a phenomenon known as ocean acidification. Some scientists call this the “evil twin” of climate change. Over the last century, the oceans have become about 30 percent more acidic, a faster rate of change than at anytime in the last 300 million years.

Of course, humans depend on these critters as well, especially in coastal communities whose economies are deeply tied to the fishing industry. The good news is that many of what could be the hardest-hit communities still have time to prepare. Loving the Puget Sound to Death. (Illustration by Tim Robinson) This article was reported with support from the National Health Journalism Fellowship, a program of the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.

Hidden amid the pleasure boats and cargo ships that roar through the canal in northwest Seattle is one of the oldest fishing economies in North America. From midsummer to October, from early morning until after dusk, fishermen from the Suquamish Tribe zoom up and down the canal in orange waterproof overalls, tending to salmon nets that dangle across the water like strings of pearls. The tribe holds reservation land about ten miles west of the city, on the far side of Puget Sound, the 100-mile-long estuary that extends from Olympia, Washington, north to the Strait of Juan de Fuca. The men unload salmon at “A Dock,” a section of a boatyard reserved for tribal fishing boats. Ringed by the white-capped Cascade and Olympic Mountains, Puget Sound looks pristine. Please support our journalism. Inslee's Pollution Solution: Tackle Water Toxics at Source.

States, Cities Brace for Global Warming Fallout. A cyclist and vehicles negotiate heavily flooded Miami streets last September during heavy rains and high tides, illustrating the city’s vulnerability to rising sea levels. Florida is among several states and communities that have begun to address the concrete effects of global warming. (AP) SAN FRANCISCO – Eroding beaches and the seawater that laps onto the Embarcadero waterfront during high tide—not to mention severe storm flooding—were sending a clear message to a city surrounded by water on three sides. San Francisco responded in September, when its Capital Planning Committee decreed that in all future construction projects, city and county agencies, including low-lying San Francisco International Airport, must acknowledge the rising sea level and come up with plans to adapt.

The sea level around San Francisco rose nearly 8 inches during the last century, and it is projected to rise by as much as 55 additional inches by 2100. Varying Measures A Long Way to Go. Rain gardens could make runoff safe for salmon. When Northwest scientists collected rainwater runoff from Seattle’s Highway 520 and exposed juvenile salmon to the stormwater, all of the fish were dead within 12 hours.

But if they first treated the stormwater by running it through a column containing primarily sand, compost, and shredded bark—essentially a mini rain garden—the coho survived. The researchers repeated the test with tiny crustaceans and mayfly nymphs, a favorite food of juvenile salmon. Again, the untreated water proved deadly while filtration through the faux rain garden removed enough pollution that the creatures survived.

“This is a simple approach that can make a big difference in the quality of water flowing into our rivers and streams,” said Jennifer McIntyre, postdoctoral researcher at Washington State University and lead author of the research, which is being published this month in the journal Chemosphere. Filtering #stormwater runoff reduces its metals content by 30-99%. Free Money to Save Water? You Can Do It, and Here’s How. Would you try to save water if someone paid you to conserve? A start-up called MeterHero thinks so. Last week, the company started paying out cash rebates to people who curb their water consumption. It’s not a lot—$1 for every 100 gallons saved—but the initiative marks a new approach to conservation.

Getting a grip on your water use can be a pain, given that utilities reveal consumption in unfamiliar terms (centum cubic feet, anyone?) MeterHero gives consumers an online platform to track how much water they use in terms they can understand. McGee Young, a political science professor at Marquette University in Wisconsin, founded MeterHero earlier this year to address what he observed as a contradiction between the utility business model and the need for conservation in an increasingly water-stressed world. “One of the things we discovered early on is that most utilities struggle with water conservation as a concept because their revenues depend on using water,” Young said. A Green Light for Using Rain Barrel Water on Garden Edibles. Is it safe to use rain-barrel water collected from your roof to irrigate homegrown lettuces, strawberries, and tomatoes?

The question is so straightforward, and yet the answer has been so murky. In the past, many sources cautioned against this use of stormwater runoff, while some, including Seattle Public Utilities, suggest it’s OK with water collected from some roof types but not others. As rain barrels proliferate and climate change squeezes summer water supplies, there’s certain to be increasing interest in using roof runoff to grow vegetables and fruits. The problem is that there has been little direct research using runoff to water edibles and checking them for contamination. Now data from Australia, where scientists used stormwater runoff to irrigate vegetables, as well as recently released results from the Washington Department of Ecology, which analyzed the pollutants washing off roofing materials, are helping resolve the rain-barrel dilemma.

So what exactly do the new data say? Stormwater Solutions: Curbing Toxic Runoff | Projects. Sightline Project jc.westbrook, flickr Stormwater—the rainwater that carries toxic pollutants off roofs, pavement, and yards—is a daunting challenge. It poisons waterways and kills salmon, causes erosion, and fills Northwest basements with smelly sludge. But there’s good news; we already know the best, cheapest solutions for curbing stormwater runoff.

In this series, Sightline Daily editor Lisa Stiffler investigates the fixes for stormwater—and what they cost. (Photo credit: jc.westbrook, flickr) A Green Light for Using Rain Barrel Water on Garden Edibles New research bolsters the case for roof runoff for irrigation—with some notes of caution. Which Way to Clean Industrial Stormwater? The EPA promotes penalties to reach industrial stormwater compliance. Washington Board Upholds Stormwater Rules Stringent regs withstand a challenge by Puget Sound cities and counties. America’s Best Stormwater Monitoring? Washington's monitoring program promises to be smart and effective. It’s the Soil, Stupid.