EPA recently announced that Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS, was awarded first place in the site design category in EPA’s second annual Campus RainWorks Challenge competition.
The university team was comprised of eight students from the departments of Landscape Architecture, Civil Engineering, Biology, Agronomy and Environmental Planning and Design.
Stormwater is one of the most widespread challenges to water quality in the nation. Large volumes of stormwater pollute our nation’s streams, rivers and lakes, posing a threat to human health and contributing to downstream flooding.
“EPA created the challenge to inspire the next generation of landscape architects, planners and engineers to help mitigate the impacts of urban stormwater and reduce pollution,” said Karl Brooks, regional administrator. “The goal of K-State’s team is to reduce stream erosion, irrigation needs, soil erosion and increase student awareness of innovative green infrastructure.”
The Campus RainWorks Challenge engages students and faculty members at colleges and universities to apply green infrastructure principles and design, encourage interdisciplinary collaboration, and increase the use of green infrastructure on campuses across the nation. Teams of undergraduate and graduate students, working with a faculty advisor, developed innovative green infrastructure designs for a site on their campus showing how managing stormwater at its source can benefit the campus community and environment.
The team’s design plan centers on a site adjacent to the Beach Museum of Art at the southeast entrance of campus. The plan calls for a stormwater pocket garden in a high traffic area in front of Hale Library. Consisting of disconnected downspouts, wet meadows, and rain gardens, the system is designed to retain 100 percent of runoff from a one-year storm. The team’s plan also incorporates native prairie vegetation allowing the site to support native songbirds and pollinators and reducing maintenance and irrigation needs.
EPA plans to conduct the third annual Campus RainWorks Challenge in the fall of 2014.