By Katrina Stacey
In Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, the Westmoreland Conservation District has been working diligently to install best management practices and green infrastructure in the community. These projects, implemented with the help of local partners including local municipalities, school districts, watershed organizations, farmers and the Westmoreland County Community College, have made great strides in preventing water and erosion issues.
To showcase the phenomenal work completed, the district created a BMP portfolio that highlights 45 of the many projects. The portfolio organizes the projects within four categories – watershed restoration, stormwater management, agriculture and dirt, and gravel and low volume roads.
“We stress all of these types of best management practices and wanted to show that these practices are on the ground throughout the county,” said Jen Novak, the district’s education program coordinator.
The projects within the portfolio can also serve as an education tool for individuals and organizations considering implementing these practices. “Some of these projects have become very good examples, so we can send people out to go see them,” Novak said.
One example of such a project is the Westmoreland County Community College riparian buffer and stormwater retrofit project. The implemented buffer and retrofit captures and retains stormwater runoff from the parking lot, reducing the volume of runoff and providing water quality improvements. Novak says that this project has been highlighted in many presentations to district officials, engineers, architects and more because its before and after photos and impacts are dramatic.
Another project highlighted is the permeable parking lot demonstration (pictured left), featuring multiple paving systems and monitoring devices, implemented at the district’s office. “That was put in a few years ago at the front and back of the building, so people can come and look at it and the staff can monitor its impact,” Novak said.
Novak says the district plans to continue updating the portfolio to highlight more projects as they are completed. So far, the district and its partners have been able to manage an estimated two billion gallons of stormwater and remove more than 35,000 tons of sediment annually through the success of these practices.