Seed Money Makes Natural Infrastructure Sprout

Partners in a Lucas County initiative are making great strides using natural infrastructure to lessen stormwater runoff. County officials were eager to find a cost-effective approach, having endured 100-year flood events in 2006, 2008 and 2011 that damaged water quality as well as buildings, bridges, and other infrastructure.

To kick off the effort, studies were undertaken to see which natural infrastructure approaches produce the “biggest bang for the buck.” Test sites included multifamily housing, a commercial site, and a vacant residential property.

Local partners are implementing the findings, converting vacant properties to rain gardens and incorporating natural infrastructure at multi-family housing sites to maximize runoff-absorbing potential. A corporate partner is adding natural stormwater infrastructure into new medical building sites, and officials are looking for additional locations where the newly proven strategies can be implemented. University of Toledo research, supported by NOAA’s Coastal Storms Program, made this effort possible.

More Information: Lucas County Plan

Partners: American Rivers, City of Toledo, Green Stormwater Infrastructure Task Force, Toledo-Lucas County Sustainability Commission, University of Toledo, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Wisconsin Sea Grant