Case Studies in Urban Watershed Management

If you are interested in viewing a walk through an urban watershed, please play the video below.

Title: Gentrification in America: Data Report in the Nation’s 50 Largest Cities

Website: Summary: The report outlines the tracts of gentrification in 50 of America’s largest cities. There have been significant increases in these numbers since 2000 with the trend of urbanization altering the community landscape. Gentrification is generally rare with it occuring in 8% of neighborhoods nationally since 2000. The term was first coined in 1963, and it was a result of many Americans opting to pursue urban lifestyles. Some cities economic growth is closely linked to gentrification tracking, while others are not. Minneapolis, Portland, and Washington, DC are featured data and map points from 2000-present with more than half of lower income neighborhoods gentrifying.

Title: How Green Infrastructure in Parks Can Lead to Community Empowerment

Website: Summary: This article describes the additional social perks communities created when implementing green infrastructure in addition to the ecological and economic benefits. There are many social justice benefits seen in particularly marginalized communities. Green infrastructure management projects placed in urban public parks provide new clean spaces that improve community health. The communities of Atlanta, Baltimore, Denver and Pittsburgh are all proving how green stormwater management in parks can create an entirely new realm of engaging and empowering underserved communities. These projects are led by non-profits side by side with recreation agencies to design and construct these parks that are creating positive change.

Title: Community Impacts of the Atlanta Beltline

Website: Summary: This article is a case study in Atlanta, GA on the various effects that the growing Beltline will have on its current and future residents. As the area improves, real estate values continue to rise pushing out many long term residents. “Without intervention, it will lead to the economic and possibly racial re-segregation of the city”. Proposals of zoning ordinances are crucial to keeping a diversity of residents of all income levels. Other intervention includes reforming building and tax codes, rental assistance and expansion of the Anti-Displacement Tax fund. This fund seeks to mitigate gentrification market forces. The city will have to balance the needs of residents and developers as Beltline construction continues.

Title: From flood control to flood adaptation: a case study on the Lower Green River Valley and the City of Kent in King County, Washington

Liao, K. (2014). From flood control to flood adaptation: a case study on the Lower Green River Valley and the City of Kent in King County, Washington. Natural Hazards, (1), 723. doi:10.1007/s11069-013-0923-4 Summary: This case study reviews the various problems associated with Flood Control Infrastructure (FCI) and explores flood adaptation as an alternative in the Lower Green River Valley (LGR) in King County, Washington and on its largest municipality, the City of Kent. FCI includes levees, channelization, and dams. These methods of flood control dramatically change the natural flow of the river and degrade riverine ecosystems, among other unintended and unwanted consequences. Problems in LGR include reduced flow variability, an exacerbated interior drainage problem that heightens flood risk, and a degraded ecosystem; Chinook salmon and bull trout (both threatened under the Endangered Species Act) are declining in the valley due to FCI reducing and degrading their habitats. As an alternative to flood control infrastructure, which addresses the human community, this paper suggests flood resilience, which confronts the river. In other words, an alternative option is to work around the flooding rather than against it. The author, Kuei-Hsien Liao, suggests things like waterborne transportation modes and open green spaces to allow for stormwater retention. For LGR and the City of Kent, the author suggests removing the levees and dam in place. “Most buildings are elevated, wet-proofed, or buoyant for at least 2 m above ground, and all open spaces function for floodwater conveyance and storage. Floodwater is directed first to the network of interconnected open spaces before reaching buildings and roads, such that while Kent is flooded frequently, flooding occurs mostly in open spaces. Public and private transportation systems are amphibuous, and elevated pedestrian walkways are assembled quickly right before flooding.” Given that much like other industrialized cities there are hazardous waste sites in the City of Kent, the Liao suggests a “flood control zone” as the only place the floodwater is deterred away from. With the levees removed, Kent would experience more frequent flooding, however it would be “largely benign.” There would be no threat of catastrophic flash flooding triggered by levee or dam failures. Liao also predicts that architectural adaptation would prevent $2.24 billion worth of flood damage.

Title: Wastewater in Lycoming County, PA

Website: Case_Studies.Our_Waters_Our_Towns_LGAC_110811.pdf Summary: Lycoming County in Pennsylvania was struck with a hard decision; wastewater treatment plants in the county needed upgrades with an estimated cost of around $225 million. These plants were faced with extremely tight deadlines, but commissioners were afraid that putting that full burden on ratepay might convince industries to leave the county and would devastate the resident’s ability to absorb costs. Members in the community started to come forward and pointed toward the impact of agricultural runoff, and farmers began to worry that they would be next, with enhanced enforcement of Pennsylvania nutrient management laws. Stakeholders came together and devised a county-based nutrient trading program, which was based off a similar program created by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). Farmers who met the baseline requirements for nutrient reductions can install additional measures to stop even more pollution, which would be certified by the state, and the extra nitrogen and phosphorus they prevented from entering the waters can be counted as nutrient reduction credits. These credits could become an extra source of income for farmers, because they can be sold to permitted point sources, and reduce their compliance costs. Wastewater treatment plant operators or others who need to reduce the amount of nitrogen they put in local waters can then buy these credits to meet their goals, which can also allow them to avoid upgrades and helps them gain more time for future needs or arrange capital.

Comments are closed.