Green Infrastructure Education and Outreach
The goal of the green infrastructure education and outreach program at Onondaga Environmental Institute is to support and create opportunities for youth, adults, and organizations and businesses to learn about and become involved in green infrastructure projects in the City of Syracuse.
Like many cities of its era, Syracuse has been plagued by the flow of raw sewage into its waterways after heavy rainfall. This is a result of the storm sewers and sanitary sewers being connected. During heavy rainfall the capacity of the system to treat the combined stormwater and sewage is exceeded and the stormwater mixed with sewage is diverted to local streams. This is called a combined sewage overflow event. Onondaga County is working to reduce combined sewage overflows using a combination of approaches including sewer separation, increased storage and green infrastructure. In this context, green infrastructure refers to a suite of best management practices that seek to mimic the natural water cycle in order to reduce and slow down the amount of water running off impervious surfaces and increase the amount of water to infiltrating or seeping into the ground. The more water that is kept out of the storm sewer during a storm, the less likely there will be a combined sewage overflow event. Common green infrastructure practices include pervious pavement, rain gardens, rain barrels, cisterns, green roofs, trees and tree pits.
OEI has been working on a variety of projects:
- Partnered with Onondaga County Water Environment Protection to design and install a demonstration rain garden in front of the (name) building at METRO.
- Provided hands-on training in GI outreach, implementation and maintenance for the Onondaga Earth Corps.
- Assisting Home HeadQuarters with incorporating more green infrastructure and environmentally friendly landscapes on their properties
- Building the capacity of the Partnership for Onondaga Creek to educate their neighbors about GI
- Developing educational materials such brochures and Power Point presentations for the general public.
- Piloting green infrastructure curriculum materials with the Onondaga Earth Corps, the Partnership for Onondaga Creek