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Stormwater Solutions for Ohio
Bentleyville, OhioWhat's happening?

A project led by the Old Woman Creek National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR) and the Chagrin River Watershed Partners, Inc., is developing science-based tools to help minimize the impact of stormwater on Ohio's coastal communities and Lake Erie. The project team is using the Collaborative Learning method to work with municipal and consulting engineers, stormwater utilities, developers, regulators, and watershed organizations to generate credible and locally verified performance information about innovative stormwater system. Based on these results, the team will develop credits and incentives to encourage the use of the most effective systems.

Project updates, progress reports, and meeting summaries are available at

Why this project?

Stormwater runoff from impervious surfaces severely impacts Ohio's coastal communities and environments. It erodes streams, overloads drainage systems and water treatment facilities, and increases flooding which damages property and infrastructure. Increased runoff also impairs water quality and degrades habitats, and heightens the risk of waterborne diseases. The severity of these impacts has increased with the number of heavy storms in Ohio, which are up 31 percent over the past 50 years, according to the U.S. Global Change Research Program. This has been reflected in widespread and frequent flooding in Lake Erie counties over the last five years.

State stormwater regulations now require new development to treat the first 3/4-inch of rain, also known as the "water quality volume," and many communities have peak discharge requirements targeted at flood control. Yet, most new developments meet these requirements with traditional "end-of-pipe" ponds that do not adequately reduce the volume or improve the quality of stormwater runoff, and Ohio's streams continue to degrade.

Low impact development (LID) attempts to address these problems by integrating the functions inherent to natural landscapes into site design and stormwater systems. Ohio communities and design engineers have asked for design criteria and incentives if they are to shift to using new approaches.

This project aims to provide clear guidance and tools to help engineers, reviewers, and permitting agencies determine whether LID storm-water systems are appropriate for site conditions and meet state and local requirements. It will also demonstrate the design, construction, performance, and maintenance of these stormwater practices in local soils and climate.

Project FAQs

Download a project overview (PDF)

What’s new?
Read the latest progress report
Innovative Stormwater Solutions for Ohio

If you would like to stay in touch with this project, contact our program coordinator Cindy Tufts

Who needs the science?
Firelands Coastal Tributaries
Ohio EPA
GPD Group
CT Consultants
City of Aurora
Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District
Perkins Township
Erie County Engineer
John Hancock & Associates
City of Sandusky
Forest City Land Group

City of Kirtland

Who’s on the project team?
Chagrin River Watershed Partners, Inc.
Old Woman Creek NERR
Ohio DNR, Division of Soil and Water Resources
Erie Soil and Water Conservation District
Ohio DNR, Division of Wildlife
Consensus Building Institute, Inc.

Where can I learn more?
For questions about the applied science aspect of this project, contact: Amy Brennan, principal investigator and director, Chagrin River Watershed Partners, Inc. 

For questions about the collaborative process, contact:
Heather Elmer, collaboration lead and coastal training program coordinator, Old Woman Creek NERR.

     Last Updated on: Friday, January 16, 2015
Science Collaborative
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