City, The Lands Council Partner on Stormwater Pilot Project in Shadle Park Area

Marlene Feist, City Utilities Communications Mgr, 509.625.6505; Mike Petersen, The Lands Council Executive Director, 509.838.4912

Tuesday, September 24, 2013 at 2:51 p.m.

The City of Spokane and The Lands Council are partnering on a pilot project to add a few green stormwater management features, dubbed commonly as “Storm Gardens,” in the Shadle Park neighborhood.

The City is contracting with The Lands Council to reach out to neighborhood residents and businesses to talk about stormwater and the benefits of using such green strategies, generally called low impact development within Washington State.

The Lands Council also will work to identify property owners interested in having a garden installed that will capture stormwater and filter it on site. The gardens would include native plants and special soils, including a layer of biochar, a charcoal-like material that is a by-product of biomass facilities.

The pilot project is part of the City's work to develop a new Integrated Clean Water Plan to manage stormwater and wastewater that impacts the Spokane River. The integrated plan will prioritize projects based on their positive environmental impact to the river. It will include projects to reduce untreated discharges to the river from both separated storm sewers and combined sanitary and stormwater sewers.

One of the goals of the plan is to incorporate new cost-effective, green technologies for managing stormwater on site and reducing the amount flowing into pipes that discharge directly to the river.

“This project is designed to provide education on these techniques and assess their acceptance in our community,” says Rick Romero, the City's Utilities Division Director. “We are committed to improving the health of the Spokane River, and we're pleased to partner with The Lands Council to provide greater understanding of these issues.”

“We are excited to be partnering with the City to capture and treat stormwater with these innovative projects. We look forward to starting our neighborhood outreach in the coming weeks,” says Mike Petersen, Executive Director of The Lands Council.

The Shadle Park Neighborhood was selected because it is part of a combined sewer area that's a good candidate for green technologies because of its smaller size and better, free-draining soils.

Low impact development is an emerging practice that mimics nature's management of stormwater. It emphasizes site conservation and uses natural landscaping features to filter and retain stormwater close to where it falls. The techniques can remove pollutants from stormwater, reduce flooding, preserve open space, and replenish wetlands, among other things.

The storm gardens on South Lincoln Street and the stormwater planters and pervious pavement on West Broadway Avenue are some examples of low impact development.

The City expects to add projects using low impact development as part the Integrated Plan work and to incorporate such features when reconstructing streets and making other infrastructure improvements. As an organization, the City has elevated its work to manage stormwater to save money and provide environmental benefits. In August, the City Council adopted a new ordinance that also encourages private developers to use such techniques.

About The Lands Council
The Lands Council is a local grassroots, non-profit organization dedicated to protecting the quality of life in the Inland Northwest. The organization works to preserve and revitalize Inland Northwest forests, water, and wildlife through advocacy, education, effective action, and community engagement. For more information, go to