Lessons learned from Stormwater Week 2023
Thank you for celebrating Stormwater Week with us! From guided walks and tours, to beach cleanups and picnics and with information provided by our partners and guest speakers, we learned a lot about the impacts of stormwater and how to better manage it. We are happy to share some takeaways from the week as well as additional resources.
We had lovely weather for our walk around Bayfront Park with the Bay Area Restoration Council. The Bay Area Restoration Council (BARC) was formed in 1991 as a organization that “represents the public interest in the revitalization of Hamilton Harbour and its watershed. BARC encourages public understanding and collective action through school programs, volunteer participation, public workshops, evaluative reporting on current issues and opportunities for digital communications.
Our tour of Bayfront Park started in the parking lot where we learned about the impressively large Combined Sewer Overflow tank that holds water during times of excess rain. This helps minimize the amount of storm and wastewater that flows into the bay.
While walking amongst the picturesque nature, BARC representative Harleen informed us how the park supports an unusually large amount of bird populations. The amount of bird life has an adverse effect on the amount of waste in the water. A good reminder is to please refrain from feeding the birds as it encourages them to stay. When fishing in the park, be mindful of what you catch. Due to high levels of contaminants and bacteria in the water, it is strongly recommended to not consume any fish caught in the bay.
The Bayfront Park is a wonderful place to explore and appreciate some of Hamilton’s green spaces. Thank you to Bay Area Restoration Council for the tour and sharing your knowledge!
Over 80 youth and their families came to help clean up our local beach. With live music and prizes for participants, a wonderful time was had by all while making the beach feel like paradise.
During our EcoHouse Open House we learned about different types of green infrastructure and grants that can be used in residential settings.
- Rain barrels: These barrels can be connected to the downspout from your roof to keep excess stormwater from overwhelming the sewer system. This collected water can then be used to water gardens or flower beds, wash your car, or even used to fill toilets.
- Rain and Xeriscaping: Rain gardens are designed to hold excess amounts of water with plants that enjoy wetter conditions. Xeriscape gardens can be designed in areas where water is scarcer to help with conservation. Both can be used to manage water more effectively.
- Permeable Pavement: There are different types of permeable pavers that allow water to pass through and be slowly filtered out to groundwater supply. The different varieties available allow you to find one that suits your aesthetic preferences while also being a benefit to the environment.
- Mini-forests: Mini forests have become quite popular in recent years! This method of forestry planted, created by Akira Miyawaki, encourages native species to be densely planted together to faster mimic a mature forest and its associated benefits. This style of planting results in a complex root system that absorbs more water faster than individually planted trees or shrubs.
- Grants: Green Venture and Hamilton Conservation Authority have programs designed to help mitigate the costs of installing green infrastructure at residential properties. If you are interested in better managing water on your property, reach out to learn more!
Thank you to our guest speakers for sharing their expertise: Cherish Gamble (Hamilton Conservation Authority), Adele Pierre (landscape architect), and Michael Albanese (Avesi Stormwater & Landscape Solutions).
- Find the Right Project: Virtual Green Infrastructure Tour
- Research Your Project: NATURhoods Reference Sheet
- Plan Your Project: NATURhoods Calculations Sheet
- Design Your Project: NATURhoods Site Map Planning
- Plant Your Project: NATURhoods Rain Garden Recipes
- Finance Your Project: NATURhoods, City of Hamilton, Conservation Halton and Hamilton Conservation Authority
- More Answers Green Infrastructure Answers in our FAQ!
Hector Quintero, from the Stormwater Operations and Maintenance division at the City of Hamilton provided a history of how stormwater management became an issue in Ontario and how the province is handling it.
- Hurricane Hazel struck Ontario in October 1954, bringing large amounts of rain that caused severe flooding and property damage. Over 80 people died due to the destruction which highlighted a need for effective stormwater management and prompted changes for how the province would oversee its water resources.
- In response to the disaster, Ontario introduced stricter regulations for urban development. New building codes were put in place to ensure that structures were more resilient to flooding. Developers were required to consider stormwater management measures when designing and constructing buildings and infrastructure.
- Additionally, Ontario began to create detailed floodplain maps that identified high-risk areas prone to flooding. This helped guide development away from flood-prone regions and informed land-use planning decisions.
- The aftermath of Hurricane Hazel prompted the construction of new stormwater management infrastructure. This included the building of stormwater detention ponds, culverts, and flood control channels to better manage and control the flow of stormwater.
- The disaster highlighted the need for public education about responsible stormwater management practices. Residents were informed about the impact of litter and pollutants on stormwater systems and are actively encouraged to adopt more environmentally friendly behaviors.
- Over the years, stormwater management practices in Ontario continued to evolve. The province adopted more sustainable and nature-based approaches, such as green infrastructure, to manage stormwater while also enhancing urban green spaces and improving water quality.
- Ontario’s cities are working on long-term plans to address climate change and its impact on stormwater management. This involves considering changing rainfall patterns, increased intensity of storms, and rising temperatures.
- In summary, stormwater management in Ontario involves a combination of infrastructure, regulations, education, and environmentally friendly approaches to ensure that excess rainwater and melted snow are properly handled, preventing flooding and protecting water quality in both rural and urban areas.
- For a more detailed look at how stormwater management has evolved in the process, check this link.
Thank you Hector and the City of Hamilton for the support and knowledge!
- Community Groups:
- Save our Streams
- Hamilton 350
- Green Communities Canada – Living Cities
- Environment Hamilton
- City Projects:
- Hamilton’s Climate Change Impact Adaptation Planning
- Chedoke Creek Remediation
- Randle Reef Remediation
- Volunteer Opportunities:
- Bay Area Restoration Council
- Hamilton Conservation Authority
Green Venture is here to assist you with incorporating green infrastructure into your residence and the community at large. Reach out if you would like to learn more about any of the topics we’ve covered during our Stormwater Week or if you have ideas for places that could use green infrastructure!