The Sustainable Stormwater Coordinator (SSC) position designates a SEFS research aide appointment to spread awareness about and physically improve stormwater treatment on campus. This is accomplished by investigating the current quantity and quality of campus stormwater, analyzing a suite of suitable water management tools, and building a collaborative student-faculty-administration approach to this pressing issue. In sum, continuation of this project seeks concrete and actionable runoff strategies, informed by water quality testing of discharges from parking lots, rooftops and sports fields.
· Conduct outreach and education to students and faculty about stormwater issues
· Engage and support students and departments pursuing stormwater related projects, such as rain gardens, bioswales, smart irrigation and water recycling
· Sample stormwater on campus for oil + grease and metals in order to determine pollution hotspots
· Support Salmon Safe recertification
· Identify stormwater rebates or stormwater project funding possibilities
Presently, the SSC has made significant progress in advancing the responsible handling of our fresh water resource at UW as each of the supported projects/endeavors has benefited from assistance with some or all of the following roles/responsibilities: funding identification, program development, design, materials acquisition, water quality testing, documentation, facilitation of permitting, facilitation of contracted consultations, site visits, and facilitation of administrative collaboration for the following projects/endeavors:
· Development of UW Seattle campus Stormwater Sampling Plan
· Prairie Rain Garden
· Kincaid Ravine Hydrology Improvements
· Kincaid Ravine Memorandum of Agreement (stream and wetland protections)
· Water Recycling System for Society for Ecological Restoration-UW Hoophouse
· Development of campus-wide Curb Cut plan
· UW-Seattle Stormwater Resource Guide
· Identification of Surface Water Management Rebates and Stormwater Project Funding
· Salmon Safe (SS) Recertification, SS Student Awareness Campaign and SS certification of UW Farm
· Sustainable Stormwater resource drive and list serve news updates
Despite this progress in establishing a baseline of momentum, the importance of continuing the SSC position is urgent. Funding from other sources has not been secured and the potential discontinuation of this position would hamper progress and threaten follow-through on many of the projects listed above. The position has increased visibility and awareness of the CSF by connecting promising student led projects to the CSF. In so doing, a strong network of projects has an aggregate effect of success. These projects are all linked and supportive of one another, leading to a tight knit web of sustainability.
The SSC position is overseen by hydrology Professor Susan Bolton and the School of Environmental and Forest Sciences. It consults with campus Environmental Engineer David Ogrodnik, Engineer James Morin, Landscape Architect Kristine Kenney, Environmental and Land Use Compliance Officer Jan Arntz, and Grounds Manager Howard Nakase.
A total of 27,000 gallons of stormwater are produced as runoff from a one-acre parking lot, after one inch of rain. In UW parking lots, stormwater picks up oil, grease, metals and coolants from vehicles, and it proceeds largely untreated into Portage Bay and Lake Washington. Other impervious surfaces, like roofs, compound the quantity of overland runoff and inhibit on-site infiltration.
The SSC is envisioned as a permanent position that provides a forum for students to develop the skill set and knowledge base to pursue projects related to water use and waste, including exposure to important local organizations and partnership opportunities in the Seattle restoration community. A multi-disciplinary core group of students, which meets in various contexts throughout each academic quarter, provides support to the SSC, including communication and networking, outreach and education, and assistance in water and soil testing.
The core student group has identified ‘Continued Accountability’ as a primary objective, and envisioned the student SSC position through SEFS. Department administrator Wendy Star serves as budget administrator for the SCC project. The creation of this position has the written support of HSS, 12,000 Rain Gardens, Puget Soundkeeper, SER-UW, the Kincaid Ravine Restoration team and Salmon Safe. Letters from supporters will be included in the CSF proposal.
Outreach via social media outlets and a blog will have a key place in communicating this project to the student body. Integration into classes for University credit through SEFS and graduate projects for the Masters in Environmental Horticulture have begun but need more time to fully develop.
The ongoing SSC position helps to coordinate student stormwater efforts over the long-term, channel communication between students and admin through one informed and capable liaison, and collaborate with off-campus entities to establish UW’s leadership in the greater stormwater community.
By having this stormwater point person, combined with regular meetings, water projects around campus will begin to unite, heighten impact through symbiosis, and share information and resources. With parking lot redesigns throughout campus, the SSC channels student voices of water related considerations to the appropriate administrators.
Educational signage has been funded for Kincaid Ravine and will describe Hydrology features, as well as recognize project partners like CSF, with a representative logo. Signage for Prairie Rain Garden and SER-UW Nursery, likewise describing hydrology features and acknowledging the CSF, are in the process of development.
Salmon Safe has endorsed the SSC to assist UW in meeting the Salmon Safe Certification standards.The SSC will work to generate an ongoing commitment of political will towards progressive stormwater policy and true environmental stewardship.
Financially, the SSC will research fee-reduction for stormwater treatments (North Seattle Community College saves $60,000+ in annual stormwater fees, the direct result of a campus-wide collaboration where students applied for tax credits through Seattle Public Utilities). Since UW spends ~$1.3 million in annual stormwater fees, economic incentive is clearly justified.
9 months of CSF funding will serve to solidify this position. SEFS will support SSC with ongoing funding options once position is established. Alternate funding has not been secured and one more academic year of CSF funding will provide ample time to identify and diversify funding sources.
15,102 -Student Project Management
(figure based on $1678 Schedule A RA position x 9 months)
1000- Water sample analysis