Water resources supply drinking water, support recreation, provide habitat, and drive the economy in the Ocean State. Stormwater runoff is the leading cause of pollution in Rhode Island waters, contributing to beach closures and the contamination of shellfish beds, as well as increased flooding. Sea level rise and more frequent, heavy rainfall associated with climate change exacerbate these negative impacts. With gray stormwater infrastructure already at capacity, communities have learned to mimic natural hydrology through the use of low-impact development and green infrastructure. This module describes how communities may accommodate growth while avoiding, reducing, and managing the impacts of stormwater runoff, preserving community character, saving money, and maintaining a high quality of life.
By the end of this module, you will be able to:
- Identify the causes and impacts of stormwater;
- Express the importance of stormwater management in Rhode Island and in your municipality;
- Recognize how a changing climate impacts stormwater; and
- Describe how low-impact development and green infrastructure techniques are used to avoid, reduce, and manage the impacts of stormwater.
Video Time: 9 minutes, 48 seconds Audio: required
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Jennifer West has been the coastal training program coordinator with the Narragansett Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve since 2005. Her primary responsibility is the development and delivery of training events and technical assistance programs for municipal officials and other decision-maker audiences on topics related to water quality, habitat protection, and climate change. She also provides facilitation assistance to a variety of groups, from municipal advisory committees vetting and adopting new zoning ordinances to strategic planning for conservation groups. West has conducted numerous needs assessments, market analyses, and program evaluations and has expertise in planning and implementing collaborative methods and stakeholder engagement and facilitation techniques. She has an M.S. in environmental sciences from the University of Rhode Island and a B.S. in environmental biology from the State University of New York College at Oneonta.
Jennifer Paquet is a senior environmental planner with the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management’s Office of Water Resources. She is in the Nonpoint Source Pollution Program where she focuses on watershed planning and policies and regulations pertaining to low-impact development. Prior to joining RIDEM, she was the town planner for the rural town of West Greenwich for 15 years where, among many other things, she reviewed site plans, visited construction sites to see the plans come to fruition, managed the MS4 Stormwater Program, and worked with the planning board on various updates to the land development regulations. Paquet holds a B.A. in geology from Mount Holyoke College and a master of community planning with a concentration in environmental and land use planning from the University of Rhode Island.
Leah Bamberger was appointed by Mayor Elorza as Providence’s director of sustainability in April 2015. Her responsibilities include identifying opportunities to reduce the city’s energy costs, working with community groups, residents, and businesses to implement the city’s first comprehensive sustainability action plan, and transitioning residents to the Recycle Together program. She previously managed Boston’s citywide sustainability initiative, Greenovate Boston, working on policy and community engagement, and leading the development of the city’s 2014 Climate Action Plan. Prior to this position, Bamberger served as a consultant to a variety of local and regional governments and nonprofits in the Northeast, supporting their climate and sustainability planning work. She has a B.A. from the College of Charleston in political science and environmental studies and an M.S. in regional planning from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.