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Water Quality/Wetlands

Recent Developments

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Listed below are recent developments pertinent to water quality/wetlands from the past six months.  If you would like to suggest a recent development on this topic, please submit a short description to AASHTO (including any pertinent links) on the Share Info with AASHTO form.

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Use of Biochar to Reduce Stormwater Runoff Highlighted by NCHRP

The National Cooperative Highway Research Program has issued a report concerning the use of a type of biochar in soils on highway greenways to reduce stormwater runoff (NCHRP IDEA Project 182). Biochar is a porous charcoal-like material formed by combusting organic matter in an oxygen-limited environment. The report indicates that biochar can increase available water content in soil and is expected to enhance retention of stormwater. The report also illustrates that the material is a cost-effective option and can be used in the existing transportation right-of-way. The study assessed biochar in the laboratory, in a pilot project, and in the field. The report also includes an engineering and construction cost analysis. The NCHRP plans to publish its results and continue field studies. For more information, link to the report. (10-26-17)

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Compendium of Stormwater Resources Available from AASHTO CoP

A list of resources related to stormwater management for state DOTs has been posted on the AASHTO Stormwater Community of Practice web page. The compendium includes practitioner field guides, a practitioner's handbook, state of the practice reports, and AASHTO's stormwater research road map. It also lists relevant low-cost, short term research projects under the National Cooperative Highway Research Program (under project 25-25), as well as full NCHRP reports related to stormwater management issues. To access the report, link here. (10-19-17)

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FHWA Newsletter Addresses Bridge Permitting Process

The coordination between the Federal Highway Administration and the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) for bridge permitting is addressed in the FHWA’s new Successes in Stewardship newsletter. The newsletter highlights the need to involve the USCG in the bridge permitting process and that a lack of awareness by state departments of transportation can lead to project delays. The newsletter provides an overview of the bridge permitting process. To determine jurisdiction and make critical decisions in the permitting process, the FHWA notifies the USCG of any bridge projects prior to National Environmental Policy Act scoping. The USCG and FHWA also have developed training for state DOTs to specify the roles and responsibilities of each agency and provide best practices for coordination. The USCG revised its Bridge Permit Application Guide to incorporate procedures from the 2014 Memorandum of Agreement with the FHWA and other modal agencies. For more information, link to the newsletter. (July 2017)

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Webinar Series Describes SELDM Model for Highway Stormwater Projects

Use of the Stochastic Empirical Loading and Dilution Model (SELDM) for highway stormwater projects was described in a series of three webinars sponsored by the Water Environment and Reuse Foundation. The webinars included: International Stormwater BMP Database: What’s In It for DOTs?; Overview of Stochastic Empirical Loading and Dilution Model (SELDM) and Linkage with Stormwater BMP Database; and Application of SELDM in Transportation and Highway Stormwater Projects. SELDM was developed by the U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the Federal Highway Administration, to help analyze the potential effects of runoff on receiving waters. It facilitates the environmental decision making process by providing results of data mining and analysis efforts for precipitation, receiving-water stormflows, and receiving-water quality by ecoregion. For more information and links to the three webinar recordings and presentations, link here. (6-23-17)

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AASHTO CEE Requests Proposals for Consultant Support for its Stormwater Community of Practice

The Center for Environmental Excellence by AASHTO is requesting proposals for consultant support for its Stormwater Community of Practice. The awardee will support tasks such as development of a white paper/State-of-the-Practice report based on a relevant issue as determined by the Community of Practice, and a peer exchange and knowledge transfer to be organized and hosted in partnership with FHWA. Proposals are due on June 1, 2017, by 4 P.M. EDT. For more information, link to the RFP. (5-19-17)

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NACTO Announces New Urban Street Stormwater Guide

The National Association of City Transportation Officials has announced the development of the Urban Street Stormwater Guide. The guide will address the use of streets as ecosystems by integrating green infrastructure alongside safe places for walking and biking. The document also will highlight the development of sustainable stormwater networks with active transportation networks and includes a green stormwater infrastructure toolbox with specific design elements. The importance of policies, programs and partnerships for long-term success also will be highlighted. The guide will be issued in June 2017. For more information, link to the guide overview. (5-9-17

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Webinar Series Addresses Stormwater Management for Transportation Projects

A webinar series on management of stormwater for highways and the transportation sector has been announced by the Water, Environment and Reuse Foundation, in collaboration with the Federal Highway Administration. The series includes three sessions concerning the international stormwater best management practices database and how it can be applied to transportation projects. The series also addresses an overview of the stochastic empirical dilution model (SELDM) and application of SELDM in transportation and highway stormwater projects. The webinars are scheduled for April 18, May 16 and June 22, 2017. For more information link to the announcement. (4-12-17)

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NCHRP Report Details Watershed-Wide Stormwater Mitigation

Watershed-scale stormwater mitigation strategies are highlighted in a new report issued under the National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP Report 840). The report suggests that DOTs take full advantage of mitigation projects that are not directly in the right-of-way but are within the affected watershed. Such off-site mitigation within the watershed—whether in-kind or out-of-kind—can make use of a greater array of options. The report is accompanied by a spreadsheet-based tool, known as the Watershed-Based Stormwater Mitigation Toolbox or WBSMT, to help transportation agencies characterize a project watershed and identify mitigation options. The report indicates that additional research is needed to understand the relationship between watershed processes, receiving water health, and ecosystem services. For more information, link to the report. (4-3-17)

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Hydraulic Engineering Circular 17 Addressed in FHWA Webinars

The Federal Highway Administration is holding webinars on Feb. 8 and 22, 2017, regarding the recently released Hydraulic Engineering Circular (HEC 17): Highways in the River Environment – Floodplains, Extreme Events, Risk and Resilience. The first webinar will address climate modeling and risk and resilience, while the second webinar will focus on an analysis framework and case studies. The webinars are part of a series that also includes one that addressed floodplains, riverine flood events and nonstationarity. All webinars are being recorded. For more information, link to the FHWA hydraulics information. (1-30-17)

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EPA Releases Green Infrastructure Modeling Toolkit

The Environmental Protection Agency has released a green infrastructure modeling toolkit for communities to manage urban water runoff. The toolkit includes a green infrastructure wizard application to connect communities to tools and resources; a watershed management optimization support tool to facilitate integrated water resources management across wet and dry climate regions; and a visualizing ecosystems for land management assessment model to quantify effectiveness of green infrastructure practices. The toolkit also contains a stormwater management model for stormwater planning, design and analysis and a national stormwater calculator to estimate annual runoff from a specific location in the U.S. For more information, including a recent webinar discussing the tools, link to the toolkit. (11-8-16)

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Featured Case Study

  • Case Study Photo

    New Hampshire DOT uses innovative methods to pump and divert construction stormwater for treatment on I-93 project.

    Read Case Study >Photo: New Hampshire DOT

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New - items posted in the last 7 days

AASHTO (American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials)
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