Stormwater Conversations:
Lessons in Green Infrastructure

Presented by RI Green Infrastructure Coalition and
Providence Parks Department

On September 27, the Rhode Island Green Infrastructure Coalition sponsored a “Stormwater Conversation” held in partnership with the Providence Parks Department. Over 60 people participated, representing a range of expertise including engineers, landscape architects, planners, regulators, community organizers and advocates.

The Green Infrastructure Coalition (GIC) is helping the stormwater management community share experiences and learn from the green stormwater solutions that are being built throughout the state. To facilitate the shared learning, we are hosting future workshop series, “Stormwater Conversations: Lessons in Green Infrastructure”. We encourage wide participation in these workshops so we can learn from each other and move the practice of green stormwater management forward in Rhode Island.

The September 27 workshop was organized into two parts. It began with presentations on several projects and ended with breakout conversations on what is working well with green stormwater management and identifying the challenges ahead.

Scott Wheeler, City of Newport Department of Public Services, Building & Grounds Supervisor/Tree Warden shared his experiences with green Infrastructure installations at the Newport Gateway Center and along Newport’s Broadway near City Hall.

Andrew Silvia, City of Pawtucket Department of Public Works, Chief of Project Development then shared his experience developing green infrastructure for on-site infiltration at Pawtucket Spray Park.

Alicia Lehrer, Executive Director of the Woonasquatucket River Watershed Council described the partnership with the RI Department of Transportation and the project under development at the Citizens Bank parking lot in Olneyville Square.

Sara Churgin, Director of the Eastern RI Conservation District described work underway on Aquidneck Island to engage residential property owners with stormwater solutions using green infrastructure. She also described strategies under development for maintaining projects through partnerships with local organizations.

Maintenance challenges were highlighted in all the presentations. It is important to note that infrastructure maintenance is not a new problem. We have not done a good job maintaining gray stormwater infrastructure like catch basins and detention ponds installed throughout communities, but they are mostly out of sight to the public. Green infrastructure like rain gardens and swales is in the public eye, which increases the urgency of maintenance tasks.

A report on the workshop will be posted on the Green Infrastructure Coalition web site:

For more information you can take a virtual tour of Green BMPs at Roger Williams Park with maintenance insights: Roger Williams Park is becoming a stormwater laboratory where a variety of stormwater practices are demonstrated and tested. The Providence Parks Department prepared a tour map showcasing the 6 existing BMPs with information on the maintenance requirements.

The video of the tour can be found here.

Thank you to the Horsely Witten Group for their sponsorship of this workshop. For more information about future GIC sponsorship opportunities, please contact
Nature At Work is a newsletter designed and distributed by the Rhode Island Green Infrastructure Coalition to bring more green space news to our cities and encourage the use of nature to clean, protect, and cool our neighborhoods. Because of climate change, we are seeing increased heat impacts in our city, especially where there are fewer trees, as well as issues with flooding and polluted runoff in our neighborhoods.

The Green Infrastructure Coalition is a collaborative of more than 40 non-profit organizations, businesses, and government agencies focused on using nature to reduce stormwater pollution. We develop projects to demonstrate the powerful role nature can play to create healthier urban environments. We promote policies to create sustainable funding for stormwater management and green infrastructure solutions. We connect a wide range of partners to share lessons learned in the Providence Metro area and on Aquidneck Island which are applicable all across Rhode Island.

RI-GIC Website