DEEP: Comments from Green Infrastrucutre Symposium Attendees

Comments from Green Infrastructure Symposium Attendees
The Symposium's Closing Session was designed to start a discussion and solicit feedback from attendees on the types of financial and technical assistance that would be most beneficial in helping municipalities better implement Green Infrastructure practices. 
We also asked symposium attendees to submit suggestions for financial and technical assistance and other thoughts about Green Infrastructure on 3 x 5 Index Cards.  These suggestions will provide great direction for us as we move forward.
Here are the comments we received:
  • Next Steps: Conceptual
    1. Link this LID (and very water-related) conversation to the large concept of green infrastructure networks--the natural systems that protect clean water, clean air, and habitat.
    2. Involve communities.  We can link this GI effort to quality-of-life issues in communities that matter to people.  Integrated planning is likely a better approach than silo planning!
  • Support enabling legislation to allow towns to create stormwater banks (stormwater management districts).
  • Suggestions (Legislative)
    1. "Ban" conventional (sprawl) subdivisions and instead get serious about providing serious technical assistance (and yes, grant $) for implementing a sound Transfer of Development Rights Program in CT (many water quality benefits). 
    2. Get serious about fixing the disconnect between DPH and DEEP regarding ALTERNATIVE septic systems.  Massachusetts is a good example.  Please stop the finger pointing and fix the problem!  Thanks.
  • Next Steps: ROAD TRIP!!! Bus trips (2-3 buses) to take folks (particularly municipal staff) to UNH Stormwater Center, UConn campus, and other sites to see LID practices and hear directly from staff who installed and/or maintain them, etc.
  • With 169 municipalities and tribal areas, I think it is critical to get more municipal officials at the next session, or at a minimum get more in on the conversations taking place.
  • How was the survey distributed?  The survey should go out to all participants.  This was a great program and I encourage you to have a follow-up.  I would definitely attend.  Next program should have some time for networking too. Thanks!
  • For small towns, offer LID regulation review similar to wetland regulation review
  • Provide a list and email contacts of symposium attendees
  • Workshops for public works department employees
  • Rain barrel installation problem: gutter bends are limited, could use a diverter-type pipe to alleviate the need to actually disconnect barrel during winter to allow water to be diverted elsewhere (i.e., the lawn)
  • A lot of effort was made on education/outreach/training of land use officials and staff, engineers.  When are we going to recognize our other partners--the contractors who build and maintain LID practices?  A system should be in place to train and license contractors that perform this work.  LID practices use many of the same techniques as on-site sewage disposal.  The DPH has a training and licensing system that could be used as a model.
  • Yes, great symposium!  Need documents that give real-world examples of costs of Green Infrastructure.  For example, typical CT cost for sedum green roof per square foot, or cost per linear feet of pervious asphalt.
  • Is there any funding to help modify town regulations to move towards LID?  When and where will the next demo be held in CT for performing an actual rain garden?  I would like to be involved.
  • Has there ever been a formal effort to educate contractors, especially smaller businesses, to understand LID/GI and to install LID correctly?
  • Promote inter-municipal agreements to work on joint LID projects
  • Get a CT news anchor/reporter to "adopt" a series of quick visits to LID/GI projects
    • Broaden community awareness
    • Support for local/state funding
  • Next Step: provide LID Symposium presentation summary to COGs, request their promotion of shared resources and joint project proposals, specialized equipment, regulation review, circuit rider skill pool to share amongst member towns
  • Provide training to Town Engineers on how to design GI projects
  • Provide training to Department of Public Works staff on proper maintenance of GI
  • I like the circuit rider program idea!
  • Think about Green Infrastructure more broadly:
    • difficulty in permitting community septic systems forces larger lot sizes, promoting sprawl and resulting in more impervious cover (roads, driveways, etc.).  Until we address this issue we will not have true cluster development and will continue to develop more and more open space
    • education/training on maintenance--DPWs are reluctant to move toward LID designs in subdivisions such as teardrop cul-de-sacs, swales, etc. due to increased maintenance responsibilities for those areas, limited town resources, and inability to require developers/home owners associations to maintain them
    • publications on cost difference between conventional and LID to help inform developers and local engineers
    • outreach/education of CT surveyors and engineers: need to include surveyors, they often do initial layout and design of subdivisions