Building Green Infrastructure in Blair County
Building Green Infrastructure in Blair County is a multi-faceted effort to build a green infrastructure program to help create sustainable stormwater solutions across all 13 Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4) in Blair County, PA.
This effort includes both planning and implementation projects in order to help Blair County move forward in meeting water quality improvement goals and develop a sustainable, long-term regional program. In addition, the program will incorporate stormwater education through workshops tailored for the 13 MS4s and materials developed for stakeholders throughout the community.
The Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay’s Pennsylvania office is leading the effort with partners that include Blair County Conservation District, American Rivers,Environmental Finance Center, Landstudies Inc., National Association of Regional Councils, Chesapeake Stormwater Network, Meliora Design and the PSU Dept. Landscape Architecture.
The core project managers of the Alliance, Environmental Finance Center and American Rivers will spend some time poring over land development ordinances, comprehensive plans, capital improvement plans and other municipal documents to tease out opportunities for new green infrastructure. At this stage, staff will also look into existing municipal programs as well that municipalities can work into their MS4 permits that improve water quality, such as urban canopy programs and land conservation that they may already have in place.
Green streetscape being installed in Lemoyne Borough, PA.
The Building Green Infrastructure Program doesn’t stop at the municipality, however. Experienced practitioners in designing and building green infrastructure (Chesapeake Stormwater Network) will offer training to local practitioners on BMP design, standards, plants, marketing, O&M and recordkeeping. LandStudies, Inc. will lead a tour for Blair County officials and practitioners in Lancaster City and beyond to show them green infrastructure projects already installed and quantify the costs and pollution removal of each practice.
Blair County practitioners who attend training will have the opportunity to use their knowledge to enter a design competition for an innovative practice in Blair County at one of the previously chosen sites that will realize water quality improvement. The contest will be judged by Michele Adams, founder of nationally recognized Meliora Design and Professor Stuart Echols of PSU Department of Landscape Architecture, who is known for his research and promotion of Artful Rainwater Design. The prize for the three winning designs is the money to turn their concepts into reality.