Problem: Green infrastructure such as trees, permeable pavement, and bioswales are often installed to protect water quality in the surrounding surface waters and groundwater. However, the effects of these best management practices on water quality and not well documented and most information is derived from anecdotal trials. In the late 1990’s, The Morton Arboretum, underwent a large scale redevelopment of its visitor center, main entrance, and main parking lot. Simultaneously
with this redevelopment, a complete renovation of Meadow Lake, which lies adjacent to the visitor center and main parking lot, was made possible by a grant from the EPA Clean Lakes Program. The Morton Arboretum constructed a “green” parking lot, incorporating numerous BMP’s (permeable pavement, bio-swale medians, perforated storm sewer, underground compensatory storage, level spreaders, created wetlands, and trees) that filter and infiltrate stormwater prior to entering the lake and ultimately the East Branch of the DuPage River.
Goals: This project represents the most expansive use of these types of BMP’s, especially permeable pavement, in the mid-western United States. The goals of this project are: (1) to collect quantitative data to evaluate the effectiveness of the "green" parking in meeting its stormwater management goals, and (2) we will use this data as a case study for others to implement effective BMPs for managing stormwater.
Methods: Beginning in 2012, the MASS laboratory has been assessing the effectiveness of these BMPs to reduce stormwater flow and nutrient loading. We have installed data loggers to measure water flow rates in our "green" parking lot in comparison to nearby asphalt parking lots and streets. Grab samples during rates events are collected and nutrients analyzed to calculate nutrient loading in these landscapes.
Personnel: This project is led by Dr. Bryant Scharenbroch and Kurt Dreisilker (The Morton Arboretum). Dr. Justin Morgenroth (U Christchurch) is a collaborator on this research.
Funding: The Morton Arboretum and EPA Clean Lakes Program.
Morgenroth, J., G. Buchan, and B.C. Scharenbroch. 2013. Belowground effects of porous pavements - soil moisture and chemical properties. Ecological Engineering 51:221-228.
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