Beyond Tunnel Vision – Green Communities: Sowing Opportunities, Growing Benefits

-by Jen Schuchart

Clean Rivers Campaign Director, Jennifer Rafanan-Kennedy, introduces Dr. Darla Inglis on Tuesday, February 12, 2013.

Clean Rivers Campaign Director, Jennifer Rafanan-Kennedy, introduces Dr. Darla Inglis on Tuesday, February 12, 2013.

Clean Rivers Campaign’s speaker series, Beyond Tunnel Vision, held its third event on Tuesday, February 12, 2013 with a presentation by Dr. Darla Inglis, Program Director for the Low Impact Development Initiative at University of California – Davis’ Center for Land Use and Natural Resources. Held at Carnegie Mellon University’s Doherty Hall, over one hundred people attended to hear Dr. Inglis speak about “Green Communities: Sowing Opportunities, Growing Benefits”.

With experience developing green infrastructure projects in California, Oregon, and Washington, Dr. Inglis’ presentation focused on different green techniques of managing stormwater runoff, including permeable pavements, bioretention, and green roofs. She cited specific uses of low impact development (LID) across the nation, noting their techniques utilized for success. Dr. Inglis spoke of the Ford plant in Michigan, with its ten acres of green roof; Portland’s downspout disconnection program that removed over 1.2 billion gallons of stormwater per year from the combined sewage system; and the redevelopment of Seattle’s Northgate Mall into a bustling, LID shopping center.

Darla talks with Beyond Tunnel Vision audience members prior to her presentation.

Darla talks with Beyond Tunnel Vision audience members prior to her presentation.

Dr. Inglis finished by addressing common misconceptions about LID in urban environments, such as that barriers cannot be overcome or that it doesn’t make enough of a difference to impact combined sewer overflow. Engaged audience members took their turns asking specific questions relating to Pittsburgh’s freeze/thaw climate and soil conditions. She concluded that while adaptations must be made for different cities across different climates, an investment in green infrastructure now will create a growing range of benefits for years to come.

For more information on Low Impact Development, please visit the UC Davis’ Center for Water and Land Use website: http://extension.ucdavis.edu/unit/center_for_water_and_land_use/index.asp