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aylighting Uncovering the natural


benefits of hidden streams

Saw Mill River

By Brad Broberg

S
treams are a simple but valuable natural Returning streams to the
gift. They abate flooding and remove pol-
lutants while adding beauty and value to open restores their function
the land around them. No design or con- as green infrastructure.
struction needed. At least not much. That’s
just what streams do as they glide and tum- “The practice of daylighting is really in its infancy, but
ble along their natural course. the idea that we can in some cases bring streams out of
But thousands of streams no longer follow their natural pipes and to the surface is really attractive to people,”
course. Hijacked to carry wastewater or paved over to says Laura Craig, an associate director at American Riv-
make way for development, they travel in underground ers, a nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C.
pipes, contributing little to the quality of life above as “On the East Coast, many of our cities have 70 per-
cent or more of their streams and rivers underground.”
they flow through the darkness below.
Most will remain buried forever, trapped and forgotten
beneath buildings, streets and parking lots. Yet a select
few are being uncovered — at least in part — through
the growing practice of daylighting.

54 ON COMMON GROUND WINTER 2016