From 2003 to 2007 the Credit Valley Conservation (CVC) conducted a detailed study of their watershed, looking at existing and future scenarios measuring water quality, quantity, stream flow, natural heritage, etc. The results of the study were alarming – not only was the health of the Credit River watershed already quite impaired, but future urbanization would put the entire watershed into a highly deteriorated environment if ‘business as usual’ continued. Home already to over half a million people there was a lot at stake to both the natural environment as well as the human population.
Given these facts, the CVC developed a strategic approach to address storm water management and stream restoration in both built up areas as well as developing areas. In so doing, the CVC has embarked on a wide range of successful projects that have addressed storm water management in very unique ways. This three-part series of articles will provide an outline of two of these projects and will conclude with an overview of the successes and lessons learned thus far.
Part 1: Low Impact Development – The Elm Drive Road Retrofit
This retrofit project came about when the Peel District School Board partnered with the City of Mississauga and the Credit Valley Conservation to develop a “Green Street” pilot project on Elm Drive, south of Square One.
Elm Drive drains into Cooksville Creek, which made this project a high priority item. In a number of major storms in August of 2009, Cooksville Creek experienced significant flooding which resulted in damages to property, the storm sewer system reaching capacity, and generated a great deal of concern.
The Elm Drive Road project capitalized on a number of key factors related to the site’s development. By choosing a site that was already slated for capital development, the ‘sell’ of implementing green features was not a tough one, nor was it as costly. The project was located on a site that was partly owned by a school, which made for a perfect partnership. Schools are great partners for pilot projects such as this – they have a great deal of open space, can act as a proof of concept, often include an educational component and provide the opportunity for students to get involved (such as for longer term monitoring).
Low Impact Development (LID) Features of Elm Road:
• Permeable Paving Stone Parking lay-bys increase stormwater infiltration
• Bioretention planters use chemical, biological and physical properties of plants and soils to treat stormwater runoff by mimicking natural conditions.
• Gravel filled trenches installed beneath the planters provide additional storage for larger storm events
By adding green features to a project that was already slated to happen, the CVC was able make a significant improvement to stormwater management for Cooksville Creek, while at the same time creating a proof of concept for how LID functions & can be well integrated into an urban environment.
These articles were contributed to the Greater Toronto Chapter and they have not been fact-checked. The views expressed by the authors in these articles do not necessarily reflect the views of the Chapter, and the authors are responsible for all content represented within.