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Wisconsin; Implementation of Bioretention Systems: A Wisconsin Case Study

Wisconsin; Implementation of Bioretention Systems: A Wisconsin Case Study

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Wisconsin; Implementation of Bioretention Systems: A Wisconsin Case Study
Wisconsin; Implementation of Bioretention Systems: A Wisconsin Case Study

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Published by: Free Rain Garden Manuals and More on Nov 25, 2011
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 ABSTRACT: The implementation of various bioretention systemswas analyzed, including rain gardens, vegetated swales, trenches,and infiltration basins in the St. Francis subdivision, Cross Plains,Wisconsin. Through the examination of archival data and inter- views with key participants, it was found that although regulatoryand political pressures encouraged the inclusion of bioretention,current standards for storm water management prevailed. Thedevelopers had to meet both existing requirements and anticipatedrules requiring infiltration. As a result, bioretention systems sim-ply supplemented, rather than replaced, traditional storm waterpractices. The confusion surrounding dual standards contributed tosubstantial delays in the negotiations among relevant stakeholdersin the watershed. It is concluded that the St. Francis subdivisionserves as both a cautionary tale and a bioretention success story. Asa caution, this situation demonstrates the need for careful reviewand refinement of existing storm water ordinances to incorporatewater quality improvement technologies, such as bioretention. Thedemonstrated success of the St. Francis development, however, isthat it became a positive prototype for best management stormwater practices elsewhere in the region. In addition, the waterquality monitoring data from the site has contributed to develop-ment of a new county ordinance, the first in Wisconsin to addressboth quantity and quality of storm water runoff.(KEY TERMS: storm water management; best management prac-tices; infiltration and soil moisture; rain gardens.)
Morzaria-Luna, Hem Nalini, Karen S. Schaepe, Laurence B. Cutforth, andRachel L. Veltman, 2004. Implementation of Bioretention Systems: A Wiscon-sin Case Study. Journal of the American Water Resources Association (JAWRA)40(4):1053-1061.
INTRODUCTIONTraditional storm water systems are designed toconcentrate and convey runoff away from sourceareas. Runoff is stored in detention basins to reducethe peak flow and control the rate of discharge, andthe total volume is then routed out of the watershed via streams. These practices are very successful ineliminating frequent flooding and reducing the local-ized and short term impacts of environmental pollu-tion (Butler and Parkinson, 1997; Huhn and Stecker,1997). However, because runoff carries sediment,nutrients, and synthetic chemicals that accumulate inthe aquatic environment, the diversion of storm wateralso reduces ground water recharge and baseflow(Correll, 1997; Huhn and Stecker, 1997).Direct infiltration of storm water, by contrast, canreduce peak flow and total volume, thereby ameliorat-ing stream bank erosion and increasing ground waterrecharge and baseflow (Fujita, 1997; Bucheli
 et al.,
1998). As runoff infiltrates, depending on site condi-tions, suspended solids, phosphorus, metals, somepesticides, and organic compounds are adsorbed andwater quality improves, although highly water solublecompounds, such as nitrates and salts are notremoved and can contaminate ground water (Apple-yard, 1993; Pitt
 et al.,
1996; Bucheli
 et al.,
1998; Lloyd
 et al.,
2002).Bioretention systems are one option for directstorm water infiltration. These systems consist of adepression over porous soil, covered with mulch, and
1
Paper No. 02126 of the
 Journal of the American Water Resources Association
(JAWRA) (Copyright © 2004)
.
Discussions are open untilFebruary 1, 2005.
2
Respectively, Department of Botany, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 430 Lincoln Drive, Madison, Wisconsin 53706; Department of Soci-ology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1180 Observatory Drive, Madison, Wisconsin 53706; Farm Services Agency, U.S. Department of Agri-culture, 8030 Excelsior Drive, Suite 100, Madison, Wisconsin 53717; and Natural Resources Consulting, Inc., P.O. Box 128, 119 South MainStreet, Suite D, Cottage Grove, Wisconsin 53527-0128 (E-Mail/Veltman: rveltman@nrc-inc.net).
J
OURNAL OF THE
A
MERICAN
W
ATER
R
ESOURCES
A
SSOCIATION
1053 JAWRA
JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN WATER RESOURCES ASSOCIATION
AUGUSTAMERICAN WATER RESOURCES ASSOCIATION2004
IMPLEMENTATION OF BIORETENTION SYSTEMS: A WISCONSIN CASE STUDY
1
 Hem Nalini Morzaria-Luna, Karen S. Schaepe, Laurence B. Cutforth, and Rachel L. Veltman
2
 
planted with a variety of vegetation. Runoff from animpervious area is directed into the bioretention area,where it infiltrates or is lost through evapotranspira-tion. The plants maintain soil porosity, encourage bio-logical activity, and take up pollutants (Davis
 et al.,
2001; U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 2001;Prince George’s County Department of EnvironmentalResources, 2002). Bioretention includes window boxesthat capture rainfall, small vegetated depressionsadjacent to downspouts (rain gardens), vegetatedswales (bioretention islands), and infiltration basins.These systems operate in the same general way butdiffer in size.Bioretention was originally designed to minimizesurface water runoff volume, but increasingly it isbeing used to improve ground water quality. Bioreten-tion is recommended as a structural Best Manage-ment Practice used to meet the requirements of thenational storm water program under Section 402(p) of the Clean Water Act (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 1999). In particular, rain gardens haveattracted attention (Table 1) because they are aes-thetically pleasing, simple to build, and can be veryeffective when infiltration is focused to maximizerecharge (Kercher, 2003; Dussaillant
 et al.,
2004). Arain garden is a landscaped garden in a small shallowdepression that receives the runoff from one house-hold or lot through layers of mulch and porous soil(Dussaillant, 2002; Prince George’s County Depart-ment of Environmental Resources, 2002). Although many sites around the country haveincorporated rain gardens and other bioretention sys-tems (Table 1), uncertainty about the implementationand regulatory processes still exists. The process of implementation of bioretention practices in the St.Francis subdivision in Cross Plains, Wisconsin, wasanalyzed. The subdivision was one of the first residen-tial developments in Wisconsin to include bioretentionsystems in its site design. A case study approach wasused because of little prior knowledge of relevant variables and relationships. Two questions wereaddressed: (1) which technical, social, and regulatoryprocesses hindered or assisted the implementationprocess of storm water bioretention practices in theSt. Francis subdivision; and (2) in the future, how canthis process be improved?METHODSThe research proceeded through three phases.Initially, background information on stormwaterinfiltration and bioretention was gathered and a pilotstudy on homeowner attitudes and knowledge of raingardens conducted in the Madison area in 2001(M. Hornung, R. Veltman, and H. Morzaria-Luna,unpublished data) was analyzed. A series of inter- views conducted by the Wisconsin Department of Nat-ural Resources (WDNR) about barriers to adoption of bioretention systems were analyzed. Physical andengineering data on the St. Francis subdivision werethen collected, including reviews of topographic andsoil maps, street and utility construction plans, aswell as historical documentation.In the second phase, in 2002, a series of open endedinterviews was conducted with key participantsinvolved in the development of the St. Francis subdi- vision. The public works engineer for the Village of Cross Plains, two project design engineers who devel-oped the plans for the subdivision, the developer of the project, a representative from the Dane CountyRegional Planning Commission (RPC), and a staff person from the Land Conservation Department whowas involved in monitoring the site were interviewed.The questions were similar for all the interviews, butmodified accordingly to the area of expertise of theinterviewee. The interviewees were asked to describehow the bioretention component emerged and devel-oped and to identify the primary source(s) of resis-tance. Follow-up phone interviews also wereconducted with third parties referred by the initialinterviewees.Finally, in the third phase of the study a list of fac-tors described as assisting and/or hindering theimplementation process was developed. Feedback forthe analysis was sought from two engineers uncon-nected to the project, but with extensive experienceworking with watershed development issues (onefrom Montgomery Associates: Resource Solutions inMadison, Wisconsin, and another from Peer Engineer-ing in Bloomington, Minnesota).
 Study Site
The St. Francis subdivision (Figure 1) is located 19km west of the City of Madison, Wisconsin, in the Vil-lage of Cross Plains (population approximately 3,000).Before development, the property was farmland. Theplat is composed of 20.9 buildable hectares and 8.7environmental corridor hectares. When completed itwill have 102 residential units (Table 2). The subdivi-sion has variable topography with a 2 to 8 percentslope.Cross Plains is located in the transition zonebetween the glaciated and unglaciated areas of DaneCounty. The upland areas contain well drained glacialtill and colluvial deposits. In lowland areas, poorlydrained soils are subject to flooding and a high water
JAWRA 1054
J
OURNAL OF THE
A
MERICAN
W
ATER
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ESOURCES
A
SSOCIATION
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ORZARIA
-L
UNA
, S
CHAEPE
, C
UTFORTH
,
AND
V
ELTMAN
 
table. Environmental corridors exist on the lowerareas and bottomland soils because they are unsuit-able for development (Dane County Regional Plan-ning Commission, 2000).St. Francis is located along a small tributary, Brew-ery Creek. This creek drains into the Black EarthCreek, a high quality (Class 1) trout stream with suf-ficient natural reproduction to sustain populations of wild trout at or near carrying capacity (WDNR, 2003).The downstream segments of Brewery Creek havenatural meanders and fair habitat quality. Brown andrainbow trout sometimes use these areas as a refugefrom predation. Ground water recharge suppliesapproximately 80 percent of Black Earth Creek’s flow volume (Genskow and Born, 1997). Over time, morethan $2 million (public and private) have been used to
J
OURNAL OF THE
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MPLEMENTATIONOF
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IORETENTION
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YSTEMS
: A W
ISCONSIN
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ASE
S
TUDY
TABLE 1. Urban Development Projects Where Bioretention Practices Have Been Implemented in the United States.
LocationImplementerProjectImplementation*Practice**
Frederick County, Maryland
1
Ecosite, Inc.Pembroke SubdivisionN3,4,5Seattle, Washington
1
Seattle Public Utilities andUrban Creeks LegacyR5,7Seattle Transportation DepartmentProgram. SEA StreetsSherwood, Arkansas
1
Terry Paff, DeveloperGap Creek SubdivisionN1, 6Maplewood, Minnesota
1
Maplewood Water GardensR5St. Paul, Minnesota
1
Upper Swede Hollow NeighborhoodMaria Bates Rain GardenR4 AssociationMount Rainier, Maryland
2
Prince Georges County DepartmentHIP Artists HouseR1of Environmental ResourcesPort Towns, Maryland
2
Port Towns, Prince Georges CountyBladensburg Streetscape ProjectR4and Maryland State Highway Administration Austin, Texas
3
 Alta Vista Planned UnitN, M5DevelopmentSomerset, Maryland
4
Prince George's County DepartmentSomerset SubdivisionN4of Environmental ResourcesCarrboro, North Carolina
5
Giles Blunden, ArchitectPacifica Cohousing N1Minneapolis, Minnesota
6
Friends of Bassett CreekBassett CreekR4St. Paul, Minnesota
6
Friends of Swede HollowLower Phalen CreekR4Grayslake, Illinois
7
 Applied Ecological Services, Inc.Prairie Crossing5,6Lake Wisconsin, Wisconsin
8
Heffron and AssociatesThe Waters EdgeN4Seattle, Washington
9
City of SeattleGreen Street ProjectR1,2,5**Implementation: R = retrofit; N = new construction; and M = monitoring for pollutant removal.**Includes housing and living areas. Does not include parking lots or highways. Practices: 1 = bioretention (unspecified); 2 = window boxes;**3 = sediment detention basins; 4 = rain gardens; 5 = swales; 6 = wetlands and natural area preservation; and 7 = retention grading of **lawns.
1
Lehner
 et al.,
1999.
2
Prince George’s County, 2001.
3
 ASCE, 2001.
4
Coffman, 1995.
5
Carrboro Collaborative Development Association, 2002.
6
Friends of Basset Creek, 2004.
7
 Apfelbaum
 et al.,
1994.
8
Daniel Heffron, Heffron and Associates, personal communication, February 13, 2002.
9
Wulkan, 2001.

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