Stormwater Library Links
The Big Picture
This 8-page color brochure from the Department of Ecology, complete with diagrams and photos, is an excellent overview on stormwater issues and solutions. http://www.ecy.wa.gov/pubs/0710058.pdf
Curbing Stormwater Pollution: A good example of combining narrative and technical writing, this paper at the Sightline Institute website looks at the challenges we face from the toxic cocktail of stormwater that flows in to Pacific Northwest's waterways. Then dives into smart, local solutions we have to clean up our stormwater. http://www.sightline.org/research/curbing-stormwater-pollution/
EarthFix - How We Got Into Such a Mess with Stormwater. Lively, well-written news reporting on stormwater science and policy in Puget Sound. Excellent overview of the main issues. Includes a great video with scuba diver Laura James, plus many internal links. http://www.invw.org/article/how-we-got-into-such-a-me-1322
Swimming Upstream: Six elegant articles (with pod cast by KPLU radio) this series follows one Chinook run from the open ocean to Puget Sound, through the Ballard Locks, past Renton and finally home to native spawning grounds on the Cedar River. Includes information on toxic pollution from human activity. Learn more about the challenges of salmon recovery. http://northwestsalmon.org/
Loving the Puget Sound to Death: Four decades after the passage of the Clean Water Act, regulators haven’t kept up with the pollution pressure that growing populations put on America’s shorelines. An extended article that provides a comprehensive historical overview including native treaty rights.
The King County Stormwater website is a great overview of local issues and actions: http://www.kingcounty.gov/environment/waterandland/stormwater.aspx
2012-13 Action Agenda Highlights: By law, the Puget Sound Partnership is required to create an “Action Agenda” for restoring Puget Sound and update it every two years. This is a foundation resource for learning how different partners are coordinating efforts around three key priorities one of which is reducing the impacts of polluted stormwater runoff.
Encyclopedia of Puget Sound: Maintained by the University of Washington’s Puget Sound Institute, this great resource is the collective knowledge of leading experts from state and federal agencies, academic institutions and Puget Sound area tribes. It is intended as a primary source for synthesized and integrated scientific information about the Puget Sound and Salish Sea watersheds. The Encyclopedia of Puget Sound is aimed primarily at scientists, academics and policymakers, but it is also a gold mine for serious student researchers. http://www.eopugetsound.org/
Saving Puget Sound: Numerous well-written resources for ensuring a healthy sustainable Puget Sound from the Department of Ecology: http://www.ecy.wa.gov/puget_sound/index.htmL
This page is a dashboard of “Vital Signs” used by the Puget Sound Partnership to measure progress towards restoring the health of Puget Sound. Click on any one of the 21 indicators that scientists and politicians use to check on progress. Also click on the “Project Atlas” on the top menu to see a map of where projects are taking place to restore Puget Sound. Click on “Report Card” on the top menu to see charts and graphs of where we are so far.http://www.psp.wa.gov/vitalsigns/index.php
Here are a bunch of links to videos on stormwater: http://www.kingcounty.gov/environment/waterandland/stormwater/videos.aspx
Lost and (Puget) Sound Video: This 29 minute video follows three teens who lose a key down a storm drain. As they search for the key they learn about stormwater pollution in Puget Sound and they discover they can do something about it. The film was produced for Seattle Public Utilities by Ijo Arts and directed by Bogdan Darev. Teaching guide and related lesson plans suitable for grades 3-9 are available here: http://www.seattle.gov/util/environmentconservation/education/
Video of stormwater pollution in Puget Sound: This is also a great “career awareness” video on Laura James scuba diver and filmmaker. http://www.pugetsoundstartshere.org/videos/underwater-filmmaker/#.Uaufx5X0mcA
Take the Pledge for Water Quality in Puget Sound: https://fortress.wa.gov/ecy/waterspledge/WatersPledge.aspx
Learn about the Clean Water Act which is the granddaddy of all water pollution laws beginning at the national level and impacting the next three levels of government, the State of Washington, King County and your own city. The Clean Water Act was first established in 1972 and is managed by the Environmental Protection Agency. http://www.epa.gov/regulations/laws/cwa.html And here is a 5-minute video that provides a great overview on how and why the Clean Water Act became national law. http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=ZEQcUngxbLI
The landing page for Water Quality from the Washington State Department of Ecology outlines all of the different ways that our state manages for clean water. http://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/wq/wqhome.html
Here is the language in the actual Stormwater Permit that the State Department of Ecology issues to all cities in Western Washington. Every local government needs to follow the rules laid out in the permit. http://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/wq/stormwater/municipal/phaseIIww/MODIFIEDpermitDOCS/WWpermitMODsigned.pdf Check out pages 11-13 to learn about the specific Public Outreach and Education actions that cities must do to meet the requirements of their stormwater permit.
Here is the best overview of the Stormwater Permit for cities written by Sightline, again, an excellent example of combining narrative and technical writing. http://daily.sightline.org/2013/05/16/the-skinny-on-was-new-stormwater-permits-2/
This pdf is a list of all the questions that each city holding a permit must answer to meet the requirements of their Stormwater Permit. Talk about a final exam! It’s especially important to notice what the city needs to report on with respect to Public Education and Outreach (see numbers 5-9) because green team actions, senior projects and project-based learning in the classroom can help the city meet this goal. http://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/wq/stormwater/municipal/phaseIIww/5YR/Appx3WWAPhaseII2013.pdf
Compare the Stormwater Permit reporting requirements above to the water pollution - stormwater Level Three Criteria on the King County Green Schools website: http://your.kingcounty.gov/solidwaste/greenschools/water-conservation.asp#criteria_resources
This page explains the stormwater fee that every propriety owner needs to pay. Where does the money from all these fees go? How is it used to help solve the stormwater problem? http://www.kingcounty.gov/environment/wlr/surface-water-mgt-fee/rates.aspx
Here is handy fact sheet on why King County collects a Stormwater Fee from all property owners and what the money that is collected pays for. There should be a similar fact sheet for each of our cities: http://your.kingcounty.gov/dnrp/library/water-and-land/rate-study/swm-fee-fact-sheet-2013.pdf
This page helps you understand how you can reduce your stormwater fee by making improvements on your property to reduce impervious surface area. http://www.kingcounty.gov/environment/wlr/surface-water-mgt-fee/discount.aspx
How is my City Government Taking Action?
To find out what your local city is doing to reduce stormwater pollution Google… “City (name) stormwater.” Every city is working hard on solving the stormwater problem. The actions you take at school, in your community and at home are a critical part of the solution.
Read your city’s Comprehensive Plan which, by law, must be reviewed and updated every five years. Google… “City (name) Comprehensive Plan.” Scroll through the table of contents to find topics on sustainability, stormwater management and the environment.
NOAA Fisheries: The Puget Sound regional office website has many well-written resources on salmon recovery and other species of concern under the Endangered Species Act. http://www.westcoast.fisheries.noaa.gov/index.html
This page from the King County website is on the science of stormwater: http://www.kingcounty.gov/environment/waterandland/stormwater/introduction/science.aspx
Keep Plastic out of Puget Sound: Plastic pollution poses a serious threat to whales, seals, turtles, salmon and all of Puget Sound’s wildlife. Too much of the trash comes from single-use plastic bags, which can choke, suffocate or kill whales, birds and other marine wildlife. Yet 2 billion plastic bags are distributed annually throughout Washington state, and nationwide, less than 5 percent of plastic bags are recycled. http://www.environmentwashington.org/programs/keep-plastic-out-puget-sound
If you Google Toxics in Puget Sound you will find links to a great set of articles and reports on what different groups are working on.
Assessment of Selected Toxic Chemicals in the Puget Sound Basin: Here is just one of the links you will find from searching for “Toxics in Puget Sound”. It’s a great foundation for all of the others. The Washington State Department of Ecology has synthesizing four years of work in a report that describes 17 toxic chemicals, the harmful effects of these toxic chemicals on the environmental health of Puget Sound, the sources where these toxic chemicals come from, and the “pathways” that toxic chemicals travel to reach Puget Sound.
This link reports on the detailed scientific research on Salmon and Copper: http://extension.oregonstate.edu/news/release/2007/03/copper-increases-predation-risk-salmon-other-fish
Ban Copper in Brake Pads: This page from Sightline Institute reports on the success of passing the new Washington State law to ban copper in brake pads: http://daily.sightline.org/2010/03/09/wa-approves-first-copper-brake-pad-ban/
Learn more about why groundwater is so important. This is a goofy animated video, but it’s actually really helpful if you want to learn the basics about groundwater. http://www.kingcounty.gov/environment/waterandland/groundwater/education/animation.aspx
Stormwater Engineering Solutions
Rain Garden Handbook: An excellent guide for pictures, diagrams and step-by-step instructions on how to design, build and maintain rain gardens on your home or business property. https://fortress.wa.gov/ecy/publications/publications/1310027.pdf
12,000 Rain Gardens: Washington State University and Stewardship Partners are leading a campaign to install 12,000 rain gardens in the Seattle and Puget Sound Region by 2016. You can actively participate in this exciting campaign by installing one or more rain gardens in your community. http://www.12000raingardens.org
Caring for Your Rain Garden: This is a colorful and easy to read guidebook for maintaining your rain garden so that it is both functioning effectively as green infrastructure and beautiful to behold.http://www.12000raingardens.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/RainGardenCareGuideComplete.pdf
Spanish Language - Quick Guide to Caring for Your Rain Garden: http://www.12000raingardens.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/RM_RAIN_QS_SPANISH_091913.pdf
RainWise - Tip Sheets for Managing Stormwater at Home: Seattle’s RainWise Program has a great set of one page tip-sheets on how to slow down, filter and infiltrate stormwater on your home property. http://www.seattle.gov/util/EnvironmentConservation/Projects/GreenStormwaterInfrastructure/RainWise/index.htm
Natural Yard Care: Great tips on how to manage your yard for stormwater:
Spanish Language - Natural Yard Care: Great tips on how to manage your yard for stormwater: http://your.kingcounty.gov/solidwaste/naturalyardcare/documents/Five_easy_steps_spanish.pdf
To learn more about the CSO (combined sewer overflow) problem in Seattle this is a good place to start. http://www.seattle.gov/util/Services/Drainage_&_Sewer/Keep_Water_Safe_&_Clean/CSO/HowWeGotHere/index.htm
Green Stormwater Infrastructure: This is a handy list of current projects Seattle Public Utilities and King County are developing using natural drainage techniques such as road-side rain gardens.
Here is the homepage for the city of Seattle’s Green Stormwater Infrastructure Program with more information and resources including related city council policies.
Seattle Green Stormwater Infrastructure Report-2013: This easy to read yet comprehensive overview explains current progress in using green stormwater infrastructure techniques to meet the city’s new implementation target to manage 700 million gallons of runoff annually with green stormwater infrastructure by the year 2025. At present GSI manages 100 million gallons annually.
Green Infrastructure Examples: The US Environmental Protection Agency has a great overview of various green infrastructure solutions that can be applied and combined throughout a watershed. There are 11 solutions available each with Factsheets, Examples, Benefits and related links. http://water.epa.gov/infrastructure/greeninfrastructure/gi_what.cfm
The Value of Trees: A one-page overview on how the city of Seattle is using trees to help prevent stormwater pollution. http://www.seattle.gov/trees/docs/ValueOfTrees.pdf
Learn more about Seattle’s Urban Forest Management Plan. http://www.seattle.gov/trees/management.htm
2012 LID Technical Guidance Manual for Puget Sound. This is a great resource for city governments and for builders who need to know the latest science and engineering on a range of Low Impact Development (LID) techniques. Use the table of contents to zero in on the sections you want to research.
LID Manual for Schools: Sustainability Ambassadors developed a student version of the 2012 LID Technical Guidance Manual for Puget Sound. It has the same technical content (paraphrased) plus lots more pictures and examples. http://www.sustainabilityambassadors.org/lid-manual-for-schools
The Stormwater Pollution Prevention Manual provides the official list of best management practices (BMPs) for single family residential activities in unincorporated King County. Use the table of contents to find activity sheets for each stormwater BMP:http://www.kingcounty.gov/environment/waterandland/stormwater/documents/pollution-prevention-manual.aspx
This section of the Stormwater Pollution Prevention Manual (above) describes typical household BMPs that have the potential to pollute stormwater, surface water and groundwater. http://your.kingcounty.gov/dnrp/library/water-and-land/stormwater/docs-archive/2005-residential-bmps.pdf
And this section of the Stormwater Pollution Prevention Manual (above) lists BMPs for commercial properties. http://www.kingcounty.gov/environment/waterandland/stormwater/documents/pollution-prevention-manual/commercial-bmp.aspx
2009 King County Surface Water Design Manual. This is the actual manual that stormwater engineers use to help them design the right solution for any situation. Its 1,001 pages long but you can find many technical descriptions and drawings. Use the table of contents. http://www.kingcounty.gov/environment/waterandland/stormwater/documents/surface-water-design-manual.asp
Pervious Pavement: This five-minute video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HcY8sfLDeYA
illustrates the sustainable and economic benefits of pervious concrete in mitigating storm water runoff. Produced by the British Columbia Ready Mixed Concrete Association, pervious concrete and the associated benefits are available throughout North America. More information is available at www.PerviousPavement.org. http://www.perviouspavement.org./
A short video that describes the engineering behind a rain garden that combine cool art work: http://vimeo.com/42864199
Stormwater Management in other Nations
China: A study of sustainable stormwater management in China’s mixed use urbanized environments written by a Chinese graduate student studying landscape architecture in the United States. An excellent example of readable, technical writing that explains the problem and proposes solutions. Contains some diagrams and charts.
India: A PowerPoint slide set on the problem of severe flooding in urbanized areas of Mumbai, a city of 12 million people. http://www.preventionweb.net/files/section/230_mumbaifloodShanghai.pdf
Native American Perspective on Puget Sound Recovery
Treaty Rights at Risk: This is the best website for learning about how Puget Sound tribes are fighting for the rights provided to them 160 years ago when they signed treaties with the United States government. Download the white paper: http://treatyrightsatrisk.org/white-paper/
Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission: The Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission (NWIFC) is a support service organization for 20 treaty Indian tribes in western Washington. The NWIFC was created following the U.S. v. Washington ruling (Boldt Decision) that re-affirmed the tribes’ treaty-reserved fishing rights and established them as natural resources co-managers with the State of Washington. The role of the NWIFC is to assist member tribes in their role as natural resources co-managers. The commission provides direct services to tribes in areas such as biometrics, fish health and salmon management to achieve an economy of scale that makes more efficient use of limited federal funding. The NWIFC also provides a forum for tribes to address shared natural resources management issues and enables the tribes to speak with a unified voice in Washington, D.C. http://nwifc.org/about-us/
Billy Frank Jr: This is the blog for Billy Frank Junior, the Chairman for the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission. He is known as the Martin Luther King of local treaty rights: http://nwifc.org/section/being-frank/
Net Zero Water: This is a fascinating policy planning paper written by the Cascadia Green Building Council. What if we could use treat and recycle all of our water right in our own buildings and neighborhoods? http://cascadiagbc.org/resources/TowardNetZeroWater.pdf
Reclaimed Wastewater: King County has created a 30-year plan for analyzing how to increase our use of reclaimed water as a way to be more efficient with our supply of fresh water. The plan will evaluate reclaimed water as a means to reduce reliance on discharging to Puget Sound, to enhance the environment through water resource augmentation, and to further prepare the region for addressing the uncertainty of population growth and climate change. http://www.kingcounty.gov/environment/wastewater/RWCompPlan.aspx
Climate Change Impacts in the Pacific Northwest: Here is a comprehensive but brief overview of projected changes in our region as a result of climate change. http://cses.washington.edu/cig/pnwc/ci.shtml