Regenerative Stormwater Conveyance: Design Implications of an Urban Case Demonstration in Baltimore
GBCI: 0920011331This case demonstration explores the implementation of Regenerative Stormwater Conveyance (RSC) as a retrofit of an existing impervious drainage system in a small 2.75-acre catchment in the degraded Jones Falls watershed in Baltimore City.
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LEED version: v4, v2009
This case demonstration explores the implementation of Regenerative Stormwater Conveyance (RSC) as a retrofit of an existing impervious drainage system in a small 2.75-acre catchment in the degraded Jones Falls watershed in Baltimore City. RSC is an open channel stream restoration and stormwater control measure that provides both conveyance and water quality benefits through a repeating sequence of riffle–weir step pools, a porous sand media bed and native vegetation. Designed to establish headwater stream ecosystems, the flexible design pattern and small installation footprint of RSC make it highly suitable for implementation in urbanized areas. Over the past 15 years, RSC has been implemented in an array of coastal plain and piedmont sites in the Mid-Atlantic, however it has not typically been employed on a small site scale and not yet in Baltimore City, where Elmore and Kaushal (2008) found up to 73% of headwater streams have been buried. This presentation will provide an introduction to RSC, placing its development within a broader framework of novel ecosystems, biomimicry and Nassauer and Opdam’s 2008 model of ecological landscape innovation. The case site is in Baltimore City’s Hampden neighborhood on City-owned land adjacent to rowhomes, open space and an access point to a popular wooded trail along a local stream. A poorly functioning concrete channel partially drains the site, while additional stormwater runoff escapes the engineered system eroding the hill slope. The design proposal employs RSC to retrofit an ill-performing stormwater system and restore a headwater stream ecosystem, simultaneously providing a range of ecological, social and economic services; water quantity, water quality and economic performance of the proposed RSC are quantified. While the proposed design is site-specific the model is adaptable for retrofitting other small-scale impervious drainage systems, thereby providing a strategic tool for restoring Baltimore City’s buried headwater streams and addressing the City’s stormwater challenges.
- List the three main components of RSC and describe the essential role each plays in establishing the functions of RSC
- Describe the importance of headwater streams and the role RSC plays in restoring these ecosystems
- Detail various ecological, sociocultural and economic benefits of RSC
- Explain how RSC fits into a broader framework of anthropogenic landscapes, novel ecosystems and designed ecological landscape innovations