Climate Crisis

Green Infrastructure Coalition to host Stormwater Expo

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — The Rhode Island Green Infrastructure Coalition (RIGIC) is hosting Rhode Island’s first ever Stormwater Innovation Expo. This premier event will profile leading edge green infrastructure technology and strategies suited to Rhode Island’s unique characteristics and challenges through a trade show exhibition, expert talks, and tours of Green Infrastructure installations in the park.

The event will take place on October 30, 2019 from 8:30AM to 12:30PM in the Roger Williams Park Casino.

Stormwater is generated when rain hits a hard surface and begins to trickle across the surface. Along the way it picks up fertilizer from lawns and landscaping, animal droppings, automotive fluids from vehicles, de-icing sand and chemicals, and litter and dumps its polluted load into a drain or directly into a river or pond. The result is water that is unsafe for human use or for the aquatic ecosystem.

The Rhode Island Green Infrastructure Coalition, a coalition of 37 non-profits, businesses, and government agencies focused on managing stormwater with natural methods, focuses on projects to manage stormwater, research, and policy changes to make it easier to implement green infrastructure. Sara Churgin of Eastern Rhode Island Conservation District and RIGIC member said, “Green Infrastructure refers to landscape construction using natural and artificial components to ‘soften’ the urban hard structures; to provide climate-change resilience, shade, oxygen, air-quality improvement; and to infiltrate stormwater into the ground. These measures mitigate the impact of human development on water quality and temperature.”

The reality of climate change exacerbates the problems of stormwater management. Rhode Island has seen increasingly intense storms — the number of extreme precipitation events (> 2 inches of rain in less than 48 hours) occurring annually has doubled since 1914. These storms increase the risk of inland flooding and strain the state’s ‘gray’ stormwater infrastructure.

Meg Kerr, Senior Director of Policy at the Audubon Society of Rhode Island and RIGIC member said, “The stormwater management market is expecting continued significant growth over the next several years, so this will be a fantastic networking opportunity to see new and innovative products and services being used in the construction and maintenance of green stormwater infrastructure across Rhode Island and the industry. The is an opportunity for everyone from water quality professionals to interested citizens to learn about stormwater management from experts in the field, and from one another.”

RIGIC is partnering with the City of Providence and specifically the Providence Parks Department, to help set up a Stormwater Innovation Center in Roger Williams Park and to host this trade show. In addition to the exhibits, there will be two tours given of the Park featuring its green infrastructure installations and 5 short presentations given on green infrastructure projects that have been installed throughout the state as well as a discussion on the importance of maintenance.

Event is open to the public, $10 general admission tickets are available online at https://gicexpo2019.eventbrite.com or at the door. Media is encouraged to attend. For more information contact Sara Churgin at 401.934.0842 or [email protected].

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