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Earth Science and Geography
Completed Project

Stormwater Management and Green Infrastructure at Vassar College

Elise Chessman ’18, Mary Ann Cunningham (Geography), and Alistair Hall (Sustainability)

This summer has been focused on laying the groundwork for the future of green stormwater infrastructure (GSI) work to be done at Vassar College. GSI is a stormwater intervention method that seeks to mimic natural water flow and infiltration processes. The goal of this is to reduce pollution, sediment, and runoff volume from entering streams and rivers, to minimize flooding and to provide aesthetic appeal.The ways that this can be done is through permeable pavement that water can seep through, rain gardens that capture and filter water, rain barrels and cisterns, infiltration areas, green roofs, swales, stream bank restoration, and constructed wetlands. ArcGIS Online was used to create two maps showing where Vassar has already begun to implement GSI and where major erosion issues are present, an indication of problematic stormwater management. A survey of campus with Professors Mary Ann Cunningham and Kirsten Menking of Earth Science and Geography, and Sustainability Coordinator Alistair Hall, and community meetings with Facilities and Operations Grounds crew members formed the basis for these maps. Findings demonstrated that more manpower was needed from either outside contractors or the grounds staff in order to successfully implement and maintain GSI at Vassar. Future work will include working with outside consultants to assess campus more thoroughly, devising a plan for a permeable lot at the Vassar Barns, and working closely with Facilities and Operations to effectively implement GSI across campus. This project was made possible through support from the DEC Hudson River Estuary Program.