I've recently moved to southwest Florida and have been impressed with some of the forward thinking sustainable, 'green' urban stormwater ideas implemented by the local municipalities and contractors.
|#Urban Sustainability and natural stormwater treatment by using grass for filtration|
Water quality is a 'hot topic' to most all here.
Keeping urban runoff clean is important and especially so in this vicinity due to all the migrating water birds making winter homes nearby.
One of my favorite, sustainably easy and inexpensive to implement (during urban design phases) stormwater treatment methods is to install stormwater collectors in grassy areas rather than in black asphalt or concrete lots.
The above photo illustrates how the contractor installed the stormwater collection grate within a grassy swale.
Grass and surrounding vegetation acts as natural filters to clean stormwater before entering collection culverts and pipes.
Grassy areas also allow much of the runoff to infiltrate back into the ground area and eventually replenish the aquifer.
On the other hand, runoff collected from paved landscapes is not filtered per se and contains straight oils and greases and other toxins.
Every little bit helps.
Of course native ground covers and plants would even be better than grasses.
However I am encouraged by this one step in the right direction towards partnering with plants to clean stormwater and helping keep our world a bit cleaner.
I'll be posting some photos of sustainable, innovatively designed swales over the next few weeks.
Another exciting aspect of this area is the SoCo district in Fort Myers. SoCo Cultural District is an area with integrated arts, cultural experiences, sustainability examples and neighborhood food markets.
Check out the above link and watch for more 'urban and cultural sustainability' examples here soon!