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Developing a Green Slice Watershed Habitat Corridor: A Community Action Strategy for Low-Impact Development, Public Education and Citizen “buy-in” for an Urban Watershed Project

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Abstract:

\Urban infrastructure and development has multiple impacts on environmental systems; these include habitat displacement and non-renewable energy utilization, and the reduction of natural resource quality and quantity resulting from both. Water management is a major component of urban infrastructure development and maintenance, particularly in New Orleans, where parts of the metropolitan area are below sea level and the city as a whole is surrounded by a wetland system that is degraded and degrading further. Resiliency in such an environment requires learning to live with the water around us as a resource, rather than a waste, to be managed. In New Orleans, impermeable surfaces rob the groundwater of the opportunity to capture rainwater and recharge, and thereby contribute to subsidence as the peaty soil upon which the city was built compacts.

The objective of a green urban corridor is to restore habitat function in the urbanized environment, to reduce the negative ecological footprint of the area by incorporating greenways, gardens and green infrastructure, while increasing storm resilience by providing low-impact stormwater management systems that mimic nature. The corridor will include sustainable design components, i.e. systems where renewable energy sources (e.g. solar, rainfall, etc.) reduce usage of ecological inputs, and provide the greatest portion of the energy utilized in the area. The intent is to nest the urban infrastructure into its regional ecological system, in this example, by creating contiguous habitat between the Mississippi River and Bayou Bienvenue to support ecology and urban infrastructure, including jobs to support the people residing in the urban environment.

Keywords: Low-impact infrastructure; Stormwater; carbon footprint; rain gardens

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2175/193864710798170919

Publication date: January 1, 2010

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  • Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation is an archive of papers published in the proceedings of the annual Water Environment Federation® Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC® ) and specialty conferences held since the year 2000. These proceedings are not peer reviewed.

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