Watershed Services Group Manager
City of Portland, Bureau of Environmental Services
and much appreciated Exchange Programs Committee Member
By Tawnee Milko
Portland Oregon is a metropolis enmeshed in water. Bordered on the north by the great Columbia River and bisected by the Willamette River, the city provides water-related utilities to more than 600,000 residents—and protects watersheds through which 13 species of threatened or endangered salmonids migrate annually. Add in the Pacific Northwest’s trademark wet winter climate, and proper stormwater management, usually an invisible city service, could not be more critical.
“Stormwater—it’s rain,” says Jane Bacchieri MEM’94, manager of the Watershed Services Group within Portland’s Bureau of Environmental Services. “When it lands, it has to go somewhere. But unless it’s a problem at their house, many people don’t understand the impact stormwater can have on our natural systems, and the broader impacts on human health.”
Thanks to the pioneering efforts of such dedicated personnel as Bacchieri, Naomi Tsurumi MEM’02 and Henry Stevens MEM’92, the City of Portland has become a worldwide leader in sustainable stormwater management. It is a journey that has been long, challenging, and expensive, but also one that has resulted in the development of new, and green, best management practices that today are being employed by municipal governments nationwide.
When a drop of water falls to earth, it typically faces one of three fates: seeping directly through soil into the ground, merging with an open body of water, or collecting on an impervious surface like a roof, road or parking lot. In dense urban areas, where up to 100 percent of surfaces can be impervious, stormwater management systems, usually in the form of pipes, help direct rainfall to sewage treatment plants or to natural waterbodies like streams and rivers….
For the complete article please see: https://nicholas.duke.edu/about/news/redirecting-flow-how-three-nicholas-school-alumni-are-helping-transform-portlands
(reprinted with permission from Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment from Dukenvironment Magazine, Spring 2016.)
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