The Ninth [Business] Day of Christmas: Breakout: Green Infrastructure: Benefits & Maintenance

On the ninth [business] day of Christmas, the Iowa Water Center gave to me…descriptions for the breakout session Green Infrastructure: Benefits & Maintenance.

The following presentations will take place at the Iowa Water Conference in Ames on the morning of Thursday, March 24, 2016. Registration for the conference will open in January.

Pollinators and Water Quality: Five Key Connections
Dan Shaw, Vegetation Specialist/Landscape Ecologist, Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources

Water quality projects can provide benefits to a variety of pollinators  including honey bees, native bees, skippers, native flies, and butterflies. A few adjustments to project designs can maximize benefits for pollinators and help meet their needs for clean water sources, abundant floral resources, expanded corridors, protection from pesticides, and sufficient nesting sites. This presentation will focus on the link between water quality and pollinator projects, summarize research about pollinator habitat needs, and provide suggestions to guide project planning and design.

Up the Brick Street, with a paddle
Steven Diers, ICMA-CM, City Administrator, Charles City, Iowa

In 2010 and then again in 2012 the City of Charles City installed 26 blocks of permeable paved streets.  Due to the overall success of these projects the total number has increased to 28 blocks and there are plans for more in the near future.  In about the same time frame the city also built the state’s first whitewater course, which has brought new life and visitors to what was a “forgotten” part of town.  Learn the successes, challenges and lessons learned from these two innovative projects.

Evaluating the benefits of watershed and stream habitat improvements to fish and other aquatic life
Mike Steuck, Northeast Regional Fisheries Supervisor, Iowa Department of Natural Resources

This presentation explores improving fish populations through watershed and fish habitat improvement practices.

Stream Channel Restoration to Improve Dissolved Oxygen
Rebecca Kluckhohn, P.E., Principal, Wenck Associates, Inc.

Case study of a stream/riparian wetland complex restoration optimizing channel design to improve dissolved oxygen and protect downstream lakes from the soluble phosphorus export. DO concentrations improved, tolerant/super-tolerant species populations declined, improved Hilsenhoff Biotic Index, reduced P export.

The First [Business] Day of Christmas: Day One Plenaries

On the first [business] day of Christmas, the Iowa Water Center gave to me…descriptions for Wednesday’s plenaries.

The following plenary sessions will be presented on March 23, 2016 at the Iowa Water Conference in Ames. Registration for the conference will open in January.

Water Quality in Iowa: What Does the Public Think?
Mary Losch, Professor & Director, Dept of Psychology & Center for Social & Behavioral Research, University of Northern Iowa

Issues of water quality are central to both the physical and the economic well-being of communities and states. Understanding the public’s knowledge of water quality and values placed on various dimensions of water quality is crucial to designing strategies to support evidence-informed decision-making about the issue. This presentation will describe a large statewide quantitative survey designed and conducted by the Center for Social and Behavioral Research at the University of Northern Iowa for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. Beginning in February and concluding in early June 2015, more than 2000 adult Iowans were interviewed via telephone (both landline and cell phones) about their knowledge of and attitudes about water quality in the state. Computer-assisted telephone interviewing (CATI) was used to collect data from a sample of adults in Iowa identified through random-digit dialing (RDD). Interview questions addressed 1) environmental literacy and general views on the environment; 2) understanding of water quality and causes of water pollution; 3) participation in recreational activities and/or employment involving water; 4) positive and negative environmental behaviors that could impact water quality; 5) views about and awareness of strategies for improving water quality; 6) perceptions of responsibility for improving water quality and willingness to pay (WTP) or invest in water quality improvement; and, 7) factors (e.g., demographic, sense of place, information sources) that could impact the knowledge, attitudes and perceptions assessed. Key findings from the survey will be presented and discussed.


Zero Discharge City: Is this Real?
Brett Emmons, Sr. Water Resources Engineer, CEO, Emmons & Olivier Resources, EOR

Stormwater management in an over 3,000-acre, hydrologically land locked area in the City of Inver Grove Heights, MN became an obstacle for the community’s growth. The traditional stormwater management approach proved to be cost prohibitive. Driven by cost and impact concerns to the surrounding Marcott Lakes and Mississippi River, the City explored a new approach of strict, zero stormwater runoff discharge policy for all development in the area.

The paradigm shift from the traditional ‘pipe-and-pump’ to an enhanced low impact development (LID) approach was recognized as a new national trend with a 2015 National Excellence in Engineering Award. The enhanced LID-system significantly reduced the area’s initial infrastructure capital cost by $18 million and reduced lifecycle costs. “Argenta Hills”, one of the first developments in the area, proved to be very challenging. It included a large commercial retail and an extensive single family residential development. EOR took advantage of the site’s natural topography by maintaining its regional depressions, mimicking natural hydrology. Infiltration was maximized by strategically locating an extensive “Treatment Train System” of: raingardens, porous pavement areas, pervious paver intersections, vegetated swales, infiltration basins and stormwater harvesting. Not only did this approach reduce cost, it also helped in retaining some of the site’s unique natural characteristics and add amenities.

These new, creative approaches introduced by EOR, generated a new framework and opportunity for the cities to use this first-of-its-kind in the country approach to accomplish water quality and flood control protection.


Think Outside the Treatment Plant to Improve Your Water Quality and Save Money
Eric Thompson, PE, CFM, Senior Water Resources Engineer, MSA Professional Services, Inc.

The City of Lodi, Wisconsin, received a future phosphorus limit of 0.075 mg/L for its wastewater treatment facility. Costs for upgrading the treatment facility to meet the new limit were compared to the anticipated costs of two new watershed-based compliance approaches called Adaptive Management and Nutrient Trading.

Adaptive Management requires that phosphorus loads in the watershed be reduced to the extent that the receiving stream attains the applicable water quality criterion within 20 years, while enabling the treatment facility to maintain a discharge of 0.5 mg/L phosphorus. Nutrient Trading is similar in that it allows reduction of phosphorus in the watershed. However, it does not require compliance to be measured within the stream. The trade-off for this is that nutrient trades must be made at a ratio higher than 1:1 making nutrient trading a safer, but perhaps more costly alternative.

The City of Lodi has prepared a preliminary assessment of alternatives to meet its future phosphorus limit and Adaptive Management would cost roughly half the cost of upgrading the facility. This presentation discusses the development and implementation of the City’s Adaptive Management Project. Elements included assessment of plant operations, sampling for water quality within the receiving stream, and modeling of urban, rural, and farmstead landscapes to determine phosphorus loads. The project also prioritized alternative management practices to reduce phosphorus in the watershed sufficient to achieve permit requirements for the treatment facility.