Evaluating Green Infrastructure Solutions and Stormwater Controls to Mitigate Flooding

Radnor Township, Pennsylvania

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Description

During recent years, flooding of homes and roadways in the Gulph Creek watershed has gone from bad to worse.   Man-made drainage conduits dating back to the 1880s and stormwater swales become quickly inundated during heavy rains.  Much of the area does not fall into a designated FEMA floodplain; it is instead considered part of a Special Flood Hazard Area.  The North Wayne neighborhood of Radnor has been hit particularly hard in recent years.  The protection of life and property is a top priority for the Township, but analysis and planning gets bogged down by indecision.  Recent flooding incidents have become divisive and partisan and residents cannot agree on how to act.  Despite collecting millions of dollars via a municipal stormwater fee and commissioning several studies, residents have yet to see a change.  Reports sit unused on shelves and residents continue to grow frustrated by the inaction.

The Gulph Creek Watershed Partnership (GCWP) was established to unite and educate neighbors and stakeholders about the land that drains to Gulph Creek and implement green infrastructure solutions to slow and clean stormwater before it enters the creek.  The flood group unites at least 70 members and has a Facebook following of over 100 people.  GCWP’s overarching goals include upgrading and improving current stormwater facilities to prevent future damages and loss of emergency services; convincing neighbors that green infrastructure is an effective means of reducing runoff and flooding; and working with neighboring municipalities to slow and control runoff that causes flooding in this part of Radnor Township.

This project has been conceived and designed in partnership with community leaders at GCWP and Flood Forum USA.

Contact

Gale Morrison is the founder of GCWP and will serve as the community lead.  The community lead commits to engaging with the scientific partner on this project and providing strategic direction to ensure that the scientific assessment is in line with their larger vision of flood reduction and use of green infrastructure to mitigate flooding.

Scientist Wanted

As an initial first step, a scientist is requested for 2 months to work with Gulph Creek Watershed Partnership to walk the neighborhood with the community leaders, examine and aggregate existing hydrological assessments and create a short write-up summarizing neighborhood-scale vulnerability and describe some next steps to learn more about and/or start mitigating that vulnerability.  These next steps will provide a foundation and refined scope upon which to shape the remainder of this TEX-FFUSA project.

TEX asks all scientific partners to work with the community to help define a project with concrete local impact that they can contribute to as pro-bono volunteers and collaborators.  This work can also position the scientists and communities to seek additional funding, together, for the next stage.

 

Timeline

Work will begin as soon as possible (September-October 2017).  The first phase of this project will take approximately 2 months.  Once a refined project scope is identified, the remainder of the project is expected to last 12-16 months.

 

Desired Skills and Expertise

  • Background in hydrology or environmental engineering
  • Experience working with or studying green infrastructure for storm water mitigation
  • Experience working on projects that address urban stormwater management
  • Capable of quantifying best remediation approaches in a confident manner in potentially politically-charged environments
  • Ability to translate difficult science terminology to a lay audience
  • Willingness to connect science to local concerns
  • Strong listening and communication skills
  • Competent and open to new ideas
  • Relaxed, easy going personality with a good sense of humor
  • The scientist should be able to visit the community in-person and able to walk the neighborhood with community leaders

Collaborating Organization(s)

This project is part of one of TEXs’ new cohorts.  TEX has partnered with Flood Forum USA which supports grassroots flood groups across the country by helping them develop strategies for a sustainable future.  TEX is working with ten of their grassroots groups to connect them with scientists who can help them better characterize neighborhood-level flood risks and work effectively with local decision makers to mitigate those risks. 

Flood Forum USA