LandStudies Shares its Expertise with Members of the Sustainable Business Network (SBN)
LandStudies is a proud member of the Philadelphia Sustainable Business Network, which is “a community of local businesses and individuals committed to building a just, thriving and sustainable economy in the Greater Philadelphia region.” Recently, LandStudies employees Bob Gray and Jimmy Kreider were quoted in some of SBN’s Green Stormwater Infrastructure (GSI) Partners online publications about maintenance of green infrastructure (see links to these publications at bottom of page). Kreider also recently participated as a panelist at the GSI Quarterly Meeting on January 24th in Philadelphia in which he spoke about the maintenance of green infrastructure.
The Green Stormwater Infrastructure (GSI) Partners Program
One of SBN’s priority initiatives is the GSI Partners program, which they launched in early 2013 in response to the city’s innovative stormwater management plan, “Green City, Clean Waters.” GSI is a network of industry professionals (engineers, landscape architects, contractors, etc.) working to advance the local green stormwater infrastructure industry and innovation in the Greater Philadelphia region through quarterly meetings, committees, networking opportunities, and educational workshops. Members of GSI can apply for up to $5,000 a year for professional development grants. Click here to learn more.
Discussing the Importance of Maintenance and Monitoring
The focus of Gray’s and Kreider’s message stressed the value of putting a maintenance and monitoring plan in place for any stormwater infrastructure project. “The sooner you introduce a plan, the better,” said Kreider. This will ensure the project performs effectively and meets desired end results.
Because LandStudies staff often manage a project from beginning to end, they get to see the results of their hard work. “This creates an incentive for us to learn from our mistakes. Because we do maintenance and monitoring we get to see some of the mistakes and lessons learned that may not show up for 4-5 years. This allows us to modify our designs and continue to progress,” said Gray and Kreider.
Long-term maintenance and monitoring helps to ensure ecological functions and aesthetics are preserved. “The last thing we want to happen is that people get a negative perception of the work because it wasn’t maintained properly,” said Gray.
It is important to develop a maintenance strategy as part of the design of a project; however, many people think of maintenance and monitoring plans as an afterthought or appendix to the “more important” work. So how do we change that mindset? Kreider says,
We like to educate clients as much as possible at the beginning of the project,
so they understand the long-term maintenance and monitoring plan is critical
for a project’s success. A lot of the work we do is devoted to fixing mistakes
when it is clear that a routine maintenance plan was not in place.
Making sure that specific requirements of a maintenance and monitoring plan, including estimated costs well beyond the typical five-year monitoring window, are included in all contracts is important to ensure the work is completed. In doing so, understanding limitations of staffing and budgets are also necessary considerations for the design and ultimate function of a Best Management Practice (BMP). As this happens more and more often, maintenance and monitoring will become more recognized and valued.
Links to the Green Stormwater Infrastructure (GSI) Partners publications
To learn more about Philadelphia SBN and GSI, go to http://www.sbnphiladelphia.org/initiatives/GSI_Partners.