Improving Sustainability of Urban Streets via Rain Gardens: How Effective are these Practices in the Pacific Northwest
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The main goal of this project is to collaborate with the Benton County, City of Corvallis, and multiple other partners to construct, instrument, monitor, model, and evaluate the effectiveness of various engineered green infrastructure practices for improving storm water management on roadways. The project encompasses three integrated tasks related to monitoring, modeling, and cyberinfrastructure. As a result of this project, a research facility (OSU-Benton County Green Stormwater Infrastructure Research Facility, an Oregon BEST Lab or OGSIR) has been developed for conducting field-scale research and testing on green technologies for treatment of roadway stormwater. The major goals of this research project were to: 1) Install a variety of in-situ sensors, spanning from pressure transducers, rain gages, soil temperature and moisture sensors, tensiometers, and infiltrometers, triangular weirs, etc., at rain garden and bioswale sites, and conduct control experiments. 2) Develop and calibrate models for the sites and then test them to predict water balance during observed precipitation conditions. 3) Develop a web-based monitoring portal that will be made available to the community for monitoring these rain gardens in real-time and measure their performance via an embedded modeling framework. We collaborated with Benton County, Oregon Water Resources Department, and Oregon BEST (http://oregonbest.org/) to develop a three-celled stormwater research facility. Funds from PACTRANS were used in developing a rain garden monitoring system by fabricating multiple instruments and components together. During the summer we constructed the site, and had an inaugural event on Oct 16th 2014 that was attended by a large number of community stakeholders. Some of the monitored environmental parameters include stormwater inflow, pump usage, stormwater outflow, precipitation, wind speed, wind direction, solar radiation, relative humidity, barometric pressure, atmospheric temperature, soil water pressure, soil moisture content, and soil temperature. Instrument calibration and estimates of water balance and system performance was done towards the end of the project.