What is Stormwater Runoff?

Stormwater runoff is rainwater that falls on buildings, pavement or lawns and flows across these surfaces into nearby streams, rivers or lakes. As water flows across these impervious surfaces it collects pollutants, such as sediment, bacteria and nutrients that are then deposited into local waterways. In the summertime, runoff also heats up as it moves across hot pavement, increasing temperature in local water bodies which harms fish and other aquatic life. Fast moving runoff can cause erosion of stream banks or other areas depositing sediment into our rivers.

Stormwater runoff is the number one source of pollution to waterways in Massachusetts and across the country. There are effective stormwater management techniques that can reduce pollutants to waterways. Stormwater runoff, also called non-point source pollution, is a widespread problem as runoff can come from every surface across a watershed. Stormwater management needs to be practiced by both municipal governments and property owners for the most effective results.

Resources for Municipalities

  1. Stormwater GIS Mapping 
    First step screening tool to determine ideal locations

  2. Metropolitan Area Planning Council's (MAPC’s) stormwater management website
    Navigate MAPC's website loaded with resources for stormwater management providing tool kits and finance mechanisms.
  3. Navigate EPA’s Soak Up the Rain website to understand why soaking up the rain is important and to establish techniques
    • A hub website with links to resources, tools and techniques on absorbing rain. Resources are for municipalities, communities and individual residents. Additional links on benefits and funding are also provided.
  4. Navigate Center for Neighborhood Technology's website 
    Strategies promoting sustainable and livable urban communities

  5. Municipal Stormwater Permit, Green Infrastructure and You!
    CRWA's workshop on EPA's MS4 permit

  6. EPA MA Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) permit 

  7. Worcester Polytechnical Institute's central Mass stormwater management project
    Working with MassDEP WPI examines the issues of stormwater management.
  8. CRWA LID brochure

  9. Center for Watershed Protection
    Learn about stormwater management approaches and gain resources
  10. Comprehensive Environmental Inc. MS4 Services
    Up-to-date information specifically for municpial stormwater managers  

Resources for Residences 

  1. Natural yard care guide for homeowners
    Five steps to transitioning to a natural healthy yard

  2. Sustainable sanitation and water management techniques on surface groundwater recharging
    An article explaining the process of surface groundwater recharging, going into brief detail of the different techniques.

  3. Smart- Water landscape design tips
    Landscape design tips on plants, soil and maintenance for reducing water on your property.

  4. Identify appropriate plants for your landscape with EPA’s Watersense 
    List of native plants available by state. Used to identify appropriate plants that will require low maintenance.

  5. Home Water conservation tips from Team A&M Agrilife Extension
    Tips to conserving water at home, geared more towards developing a conscious attitude of conserving water.

  6. EPA Municipal Street Tree Structure and Ecosystem Services
    An article on utilizing trees and other natural resources to beautify urban areas while improving the environment.

  7. EPA green infrastructure brochure
    A brochure listing the green infrastructure practices and their benefits. Great educational resource.

  8. Coloring Book
    Good interactive educational outreach material for younger children with facts throughout coloring book.

  9. CRWA's Rain Garden Guide

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