Soaking in Another Victory

by Tom Damm

It’s a four-peat.

For the fourth consecutive year, the University of Maryland, College Park has won high honors in EPA’s Campus RainWorks Challenge, a national collegiate competition to design the best ideas for capturing stormwater on campus before it can harm waterways.

A UMD team took second place nationally in the Master Plan category for “The Champion Gateway” project.  The project blends green infrastructure features into a campus entryway and pedestrian corridor adjacent to a proposed light rail system.

Along with providing more aesthetic appeal, the 7.9-acre site design – with its 367 new trees, permeable pavement, bioswales, rain garden and soil improvements – generates some heady environmental benefits, like:

  • A 40 percent increase in tree canopy and a reduction in stormwater runoff of 44 percent.
  • An increase in permeable surface from 5 to 74 percent.
  • The removal of 273 pounds of air pollutants and the sequestering of 20,000 pounds of carbon dioxide – each year.

Green infrastructure allows stormwater to soak in rather than run off hard surfaces with contaminants in tow, flooding local streets and polluting local waters.

Chalking up impressive design numbers and wowing the judges is nothing new for UMD teams in the Campus RainWorks Challenge.

The university won first place awards in 2015 and 2016 for designs to retrofit a five-acre parking lot and to capture and treat stormwater on a seven-acre site next to the campus chapel, and won a second place award last year for its “(Un)loading Nutrients” design to transform a campus loading dock and adjacent parking lot into a safer pedestrian walkway with 6,660 square feet of plantings and 18 percent less impervious surface.

Dr. Victoria Chanse, a faculty advisor to all four UMD winning teams, said the competition “serves as an ongoing catalyst to encourage universities to develop innovative, sustainable learning landscapes that draw upon collaborations among students and faculty from a diverse set of disciplines.”

Check out more information on how stormwater runoff impacts your community.

 

About the Author: Tom Damm has been with EPA since 2002 and now serves as communications coordinator for the region’s Water Protection Division

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content, or remove EPA’s identity as the author. If you do make substantive changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

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Hope in Kentucky Farm Country

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Jeremy Hinton is an eighth-generation Kentucky farmer. He and his wife Joanna own Hinton’s Orchard and Farm Market in Hodgenville, Kentucky – the birthplace of Abraham Lincoln. “Our family came to LaRue County the same year that the Lincolns did, but we just stayed a lot longer,” he joked.

Today, Hinton and his wife grow a wide variety of fruits and vegetables which they sell at their two retail markets – one on the farm and one in nearby Elizabethtown. They are also actively involved in agritourism, hosting school tours and festivals as well as building their own corn maze. And, as if he doesn’t already have enough to do, Hinton sells crop insurance to farmers in the area. He knows firsthand how policies emanating from Washington impact farmers and other small businesses in Kentucky.

He believes that some of policies of the previous administration, if gone to fruition, “could have been very detrimental to our business and lots of others.” “There was a good bit of concern about the Waters of the U.S.,” he said. Other policies, like the previous administration’s changes to worker protection standards, “could have been very difficult to implement on a farm like ours.”

But the EPA’s regulatory reform efforts under Administrator Scott Pruitt have “increased optimism about the future,” stated Hinton. He also believes that there is a new, more friendly and cooperative attitude at EPA toward farmers – one that appreciates the environmental stewardship they practice day in and day out. As Administrator Pruitt likes to say, farmers are among our nation’s first environmentalists and conservationists.

“Our operation, like any farm, wants to do the best that we can to protect our natural resources,” Hinton said. “That’s our livelihood.” He and his wife raise their three children on the farm and hope that someday they will become the next generation of Kentucky farmers.

This week, EPA is recognizing and celebrating National Small Business Week. Small businesses, like the Hinton’s Orchard and Farm Market, are the heart of our nation’s economy. EPA is committed to advancing policies that protect the environment and provide small businesses with the regulatory clarity and certainty they need to thrive and support local communities around the nation.

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content, or remove EPA’s identity as the author. If you do make substantive changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is www.epa.gov. Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to specific content on a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.