Ohio Stormwater Conference 2023

Last week, the majority of the Cuyahoga SWCD staff attended the 2023 Ohio Stormwater Conference. The Ohio Stormwater Conference is an annual conference dedicated to advancing the knowledge and understanding of comprehensive stormwater and watershed management for those dealing in all aspects of planning, design, implementation and regulatory compliance. This year’s conference was held May 10-12, 2023 at the Kalahari Resort and Conference Center located in Sandusky, Ohio.

Urban Technician, Lauren Conard, gave some insight into a few of the presentations. And, of course, there was some fun and silliness to round out the conference.

Here are her insights into three of the presentations. Be sure to check out the pics above:

The Bloody Run Swamp Gets an Overdue Transfusion –presented by Aaron Van Ostran from Stream & Wetlands Foundation

This wetland restoration project in Licking County was a fascinating journey from start to finish where we got to explore some interesting glacial geology, reflect on unique design/construction considerations, and check in on nearly ½ a million newly planted trees. The project aimed to remove old drainage tile and re-create an environment that would allow wetland plants thrive – but no one expected to uncover dozens of giant beaver fossils and 11,000-year-old trees in this old swamp! On top of being a great example of wetland re-construction, this presentation was a reminder of how environmental work can be full of a lot of fun twists and turns that keep the stormwater world full of surprises!

The N: P Ratio in Urban Stormwater: Implications for HAB Management – Presented by Ryan Winston with Ohio State University

Harmful Algal Blooms are a hot topic at every stormwater conference, but this presentation explored the efficacy of removing Phosphorus and Nitrogen from urbanized areas using Green Infrastructure practices installed throughout a city. Pollutant loads were broken out by land use type, and it was surprising to see that residential and commercial properties contribute to the N & P discharge nearly as much as agricultural land! While we’re not able to remove *all* traces of pollutants from urban stormwater, these Green Infrastructure practices were able to reduce the amount of Nitrogen making its way to the lake - which is the key ingredient that can turn a Harmful Algal Bloom into a TOXIC Algal Bloom.

Plant Selection for Green Infrastructure – Presented by Jason Cooper with Environmental Consulting & Technology, Inc.

The Soil & Water team got pumped up while listening to this Landscape Architect talk about a custom-designed Stormwater plant selection tool that could be used to create a planting list for Rain Gardens, Green Infrastructure, and other wet/damp areas. This Wisconsin-based team created a master list of 300 species of water-loving, hardy, and easy-to-purchase grasses, shrubs, and flowers that is then filtered down to a bite-sized list of 20 plant options that fit a project’s specific conditions. CSWCD staff are excited to get a similar tool started for use here in Ohio to one day incorporate into the Master Rain Gardner program and be able to give to landscapers & contractors installing Stormwater Management Practices.

Blog author: Lauren Conard, Urban Technician

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