Achieving a Fit Stormwater Program Using Science-Based Software
As stormwater managers and regulators strive to continually improve the health of local streams and water bodies, advances in technology have enabled us to better assess our efforts, track our progress, and evaluate our results. Just as many people turn to technology to track changes in lifestyle (daily steps, hours slept, calories consumed) to better understand that dreaded number on the scale, stormwater managers now have science-based software applications available to them to track changes to the landscape (BMP effectiveness, smarter development, targeted community programs) to better understand urban impacts on water quality.
2NDNATURE has taken this holistic view of how sustainable urban land management can achieve healthier water resources and developed a suite of stormwater management tools (2NFORM stormwater software www.2nform.com) that allow municipalities and regulators to quantify and assess stormwater volume and pollutant reductions in a clear format that informs planning, tracking, reporting and the adaptive management of stormwater resources.
Our Rapid Assessment Method (RAM) tools for Best Management Practices (BMPs), urban parcel imperviousness, and paved road condition allow municipalities to quickly assess the status and performance of existing infrastructure and programs to quantify the benefits of effective land management practices. These are our stormwater fitness trackers – they are easy to use and enable stormwater managers to collect useful data more frequently on the ground. This data is then used in our stormwater Tool to Evaluate Load Reduction (swTELR), the analytical hub where geospatial datasets of stormwater routing and pollutant loading patterns can be quantified and assessed with respect to the various land management strategies. Using the swTELR is analogous to using a fitness application where one evaluates their current lifestyle patterns and tracks changes to those patterns to create a feedback loop to understand what is working or not and why.
Whether it is our personal health or the health of our water resources, the systems at work are complicated and interwoven. Utilizing software and data management technology and focused science to isolate the signal from the noise through simple metrics brings transparency, accountability and communication power on short time scales to help stormwater programs achieve their goals to improve the health of their receiving waters.
Gregor Patsch is a Senior Engineer with 2NDNATURE, LLC. Over the past 16 years, he has worked within the field of water resources as both a consultant and a municipal stormwater engineer. His experience includes various projects throughout California, as well as many years spent working within the Chesapeake Bay watershed.