The Narragansett Bay watershed covers so much territory that only 40% of it even lies in Rhode Island. The entire city of Providence is within this watershed, and the contaminants in our stormwater runoff — motor oil, lawn chemicals, animal waste, heavy metals, salt — can end up in Narragansett Bay.
Happily, environmental groups, city officials, and concerned citizens have joined forces, installing infrastructure — green and hard — that can filter, and often divert, this tainted runoff. (Last July we wrote about the new stormwater filtration systems around the lakes in Roger Williams Park. Now similar mitigation has been installed along Pleasant Valley Parkway.)
Alex Kuffner writes in today’s ProJo “Little stream in Providence provides model for making bay cleaner” how the neighborhood has joined in:
Homeowners, too, joined in the program led by the Woonasquatucket River Watershed Council [WRWC], severing their connections to storm drains that lead to the stream and diverting rainwater from downspouts into gardens, where it similarly seeps into the soil.
This whole initiative has taken years of planning. In addition to helping homeowners install rain barrels and permeable pavers on their property, what is known as green infrastructure has been installed along Pleasant Valley Stream that runs the length of the parkway.
Pictured below is a StormTree, a commercially available catch basin with a tree whose roots absorb runoff.
The ProJo notes how the funding came together:
Funding for the work, which totaled about $170,000, came from a variety of sources, including money from an environmental bond issue approved by voters and allocated by the state Department of Environmental Management as well as grants from the state Department of Transportation, The Nature Conservancy and the Rhode Island Green Infrastructure Coalition.
Maybe you voted on this environmental bond issue. Go visit your stuff. You may be inspired to get your own neighborhood involved.
The WRWC provides information to neighborhood groups, renters, homeowners, and businesses on what the future of flooding may look like in the watershed and how to best prepare. This is critical information for our most sensitive communities who may not have the resources to relocate in the event of catastrophe. Contact us for more information.
Learn more at the Pleasant Valley Stormwater Improvement Project.