STORM stands for students taking on runoff management. This project consisted of a build day where a rain garden was planted behind a dorm on campus. The plants consisted of beauty berry, ninebark, elderberry, and hydrangea. All of the plants chosen were native to the Pittsburgh region. On build day approximately 10 people attended to shape and plant the rain garden.
The rain garden was successful and has been checked on by members of the original STORM team this past year on a couple of occasions. This spring, after a winter of minimal maintenance, the rain garden was still in great shape and there was no damage. A group of approximately three new members has expressed interest in continuing to check in on the garden and plant new plants as needed.
This same group of new members is looking at new lots in the Pittsburgh area for a new green stormwater infrastructure project. The lot selection process took up a large chunk of time and issues with chosen lots ended up delaying the initial STORM garden significantly, so new members are hoping to streamline this process as much as possible, and have communicated with staff at our university to find options.
Currently, the team is looking for sites on and around campus for next year. This will likely be another rain garden, similar to the rain garden that we built for Build Day. Size and design will be determined by what fits in the space. We are working with university faculty to select the new lot.
In STORM over the past couple years, there has been a growing desire to implement a monitoring system in a rain garden project. Last year, our team mainly consisted of civil/environmental engineers with limited experience with coding or electrical hardware and we were unable to recruit new electrical and computer engineers, but this is still something we would like to work toward in the future and potentially with a new rain garden.
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