A Lasting Impression

• Understory vegetation needs sunlight too, so in heavily wooded areas, selectively remove some trees to allow sunlight to reach the ground. Consult a local forester or conservation agent for assistance on which trees should be removed.

• Clearly delineate walks and paths, and make them wide enough to serve the campers in order to avoid their trampling–and ultimately killing–the vegetation along the edges.

• Install permeable pavement to allow stormwater to infiltrate the ground’s surface rather than run off the site.

• Construct rain gardens, vegetated swales and bio-retention areas to collect and filter the stormwater that runs off roofs, driveways and parking areas. These stormwater-treatment areas can serve as excellent educational tools. They may be planted in a variety of ways from a colorful rain garden to a bio-retention area planted to mimic a native-plant community.

• Construct stone drip edges along the sides of paved surfaces to slow stormwater as it runs off these surfaces, such as from tennis courts onto the surrounding ground.

• Diligently perform routine maintenance on areas where stormwater has begun to channelize and erosion has started to occur.

• Construct stone inlets and outlets on culverts to trap any sediment and dissipate the energy of the stormwater flowing through the pipes, preventing erosion.

Environmental-Education Opportunities

If the camp runs an environmental-education program, consider including lessons on stormwater management in the curriculum. Many resources are available to camps and outdoor centers to promote this idea.

Pretty and practical stormwater runoff solutions

Activities may range from simple lessons that teach campers about water pollution to complex programs that address larger-scale and regional issues. A simple online search for “stormwater education for children” will provide a multitude of possibilities for both indoor and outdoor activities.

Here are a few ideas to get started:

• Involve campers in the construction or development of a stormwater-management project, such as a rain garden or vegetated swale. This “hands-on” approach will not only give them a sense of ownership in the project, but also will foster a greater awareness of stormwater-management concerns.

• With the staff’s assistance, have campers draw watershed boundaries on a topographic map of the camp property. Then, lead campers outside to locate these boundaries in the landscape (boundaries can be marked with signs, stakes or stone cairns). An alternative to this approach is to visit the Environmental Protection Agency’s “Surf Your Watershed” Web site that helps identify the watershed on which the camp is located.

• Lead campers on a walk along a ridgeline, and talk about the directions rainfall runoff will flow depending on what side of the ridge the rain falls.

• Go on a rainy-day hike–what better way to observe a watershed than when rainfall runoff is actually flowing along the ground? Point out locations where the camp is dealing with stormwater effectively, such as a rain garden, bioswale or sedimentation basin. Talk with campers about how these systems improve the quality of stormwater runoff. Likewise, lead them to areas where stormwater problems remain, such as an eroding streambank or a wet depression near a camp building, and talk to them about possible solutions (such as a willow/cedar revetment for the streambank or a rain garden near the building).

• Find a topographic map of the camp’s region that shows the surrounding neighbors’ property, rivers, streams and lakes. Help campers locate the camp on the map, and then identify the neighbors, towns, cities and natural areas located downstream of the camp. Talk with campers about how their actions affect the people and natural areas, and how everyone who lives within a given watershed contributes to the water quality downstream.

Tom Neppl is a landscape architect and owner of Neppl Landscape Architecture and Planning, LLC, an environmental design firm that serves clients with interests in the outdoors and the natural environment. He can be reached at (515) 232-6530 or via e-mail at Tom@neppllandscapearchitecture.com.

Page 2 of 3 | Previous page | Next page

Related posts:

  1. A Lasting Impression
  2. Stormwater Infiltration
  3. Green Roofs Boost Solar Panel Efficiency
  4. Sprouting With Green Ideas
  5. Planning For A Rainy Day
  • Columns
  • Departments
  • Issues