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Cornell University School of Continuing Education and Summer Sessions
The following information pertains to the 2013 program. If you would like to be notified via e-mail when information is available about the 2014 program, please subscribe to the Professional Studies announcement list

Stormwater Management and Green Infrastructure


The program will meet from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. in the Landscape Architecture studio in Kennedy Hall (fourth floor). There will be a one-hour break for lunch (box lunch provided) and an optional afternoon field trip to the Cornell Botanic Gardens to view green infrastructure practices at work.

Overview of Green Infrastructure Regulations and Project Planning (Michele Palmer)

Green infrastructure planning includes measures for preservation of natural features of the site and a reduction of post-development runoff. The major purposes of these practices are to increase pollutant removal from stormwater runoff by intercepting them closer to the source and to reduce the total amount of runoff by enhancing infiltration to mimic pre-development hydrology.

This introduction to the workshop will offer an overview of the following:

  • elements of the planning process,
  • acceptable techniques described in New York State's Stormwater Design Manual, and
  • the fundamental elements of stormwater analysis and design of GI strategies.

The overarching goal is to prevent impacts from occurring rather than attempting to mitigate them once they exist.

Types of Filter Practices (Andrew Sciarabba)

Stormwater filtering systems capture and temporarily store the water quality volume and pass it through a filter bed of sand, organic matter, or soil. We will review the types of filter practices and their applicability, examine examples of each, and discuss the decision-making process that led to their implementation. These will include subsurface filters such as sand filters and surface practices such as bioretention.

Bioretention Case Study and Bioretention Filter Design Problem (Andrew Sciarabba and Michele Palmer)

The Cornell Botanic Gardens Welcome Center was designed to qualify for LEED Gold (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification. The Welcome Center, designed by Baird Sampson Neuert, strives to promote the Botanic Gardens as a leader in environmental stewardship initiatives. Its innovative stormwater management system combines multiple practices, but its key feature is a spectacular garden with underlying filter practices.

Andy Sciarabba was civil engineer for the project and will share his perspective with both a classroom lecture and a field trip to the site at the end of the day.

Participants will learn about the method for designing, sizing, and grading a small bioretention filter practice within the NYS requirements and will practice designing a basic filter system using simplified formulas in which a defined paved area is directed to the practice without considering other contributing areas.

Plant Materials for Water Quality: Nature’s Bioretention Plants (Dan Segal)

Bioretention filter practices present difficult growing conditions for plants, and we frequently see materials failing to thrive. We will discuss the unique challenges of plant selection, including the environmental stresses, species availability, and the logistics of plant installation. Recommended plants that naturally occur in areas of seasonal and fluctuating wetlands will be profiled with all original photos.

Pervious Pavements: Porous Concrete (Greg Novitzki)

Pervious pavements can play an important role in an overall GI approach to site development. We will discuss factors to consider in the design of pervious pavements as well as the effective use of porous concrete in Central New York. We will talk about the design considerations and proper installation of porous concrete and review local case studies.

Pervious Pavements and CU-Soil™ (Nina Bassuk)

CU-Structural Soil™ (also known as CU-Soil™) was developed at Cornell University as a way to safely bear pavement loads after compaction and yet still allow root penetration and vigorous tree growth. While the initial installations were primarily under standard pavements, more recent research has focused on the use of CU-Soil™ base under pervious pavements. We will review recent research and case studies.

Green Roofs and Water Quality (George Irwin)

In a green roof system, vegetation captures rainwater, reducing the amount of runoff entering stormwater systems. We will discuss the benefits and logistics of green roofs and review numerous case studies.

Field Trip to the Cornell Botanic Gardens Welcome Center