Urban areas have traditionally been written off as “too far gone” to warrant serious natural resource management attention. This prevailing attitude has led planners, politicians, engineers and businesses alike to handle the landscape with a heavy hand, altering the vegetation, soil and waterways when and as convenient. In spite of various environmental regulations, the cumulative effect of these actions has been to deplete the ground water supply, cause chronically low stream base flows, increase peak flows (resulting in eroded streams or overwhelmed piped systems), and transmit an array of common contaminants directly into receiving waters without treatment. End-of-pipe modifications - in the form of wastewater treatment plant and stormwater collection system upgrades - are expensive. Cities are increasingly interested in restoring the vegetation, healthy soil, and landforms that have the capacity to capture, filter and purify urban run-off as a cost-effective and ecologically conscious way of mitigating urban run-off.
Outside of populated urban centers, the impacts of mining, factory production, military operations, and waste disposal are felt as keenly in contaminated soil, surface water and ground water. Remediation methods have the potential to improve the ecological productivity of contaminated sites. By using plants, microorganisms, and natural geochemical processes, sites may be cleaned while simultaneously enhancing ecological health and leaving the land in prime condition for conservation and recreation.
The Center for Urban Watershed Renewal believes that environmental quality, community vitality, and socioeconomic opportunity are deeply connected. The Center seeks to devise solutions that integrate natural resource management, commercial and residential development, and urban infrastructure. Our goal is to transform stigmatized, underutilized, degraded urban sites into economically viable, ecologically functional, socially valuable amenities. By focusing on Brownfields redevelopment, the Center helps municipalities avert sprawl, strengthen decaying tax bases, and re-use existing infrastructure. By incorporating green technologies and cutting edge planning in Brownfields redevelopment projects, we can bring ecological integrity and social vitality to those areas most in need. For more information about how CUWR can help transform a site in your area, please contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org.