Partnerships Key in Green Stormwater Infrastructure

Organizations come together to improve water quality on Aquidneck Island 

Team working at Hoogendoorn Nurseries
Team reviews plans at Hoogendoorn Nurseries, Middletown, RI
(May 2020 - Photo Credit Aquidneck Island Planning Commission)
In partnership with the Natural Resource Conservation Service, the Aquidneck Island Planning Commission, and the RI Department of Environmental Management, the Eastern Rhode Island Conservation District completed a Green Stormwater Infrastructure project at Hoogendoorn Nurseries in Middletown. This nursery’s location on a hillside causes stormwater runoff from agricultural operations to drain into the Maidford River. This BMP (Best Management Practice) will collect and slow down polluted stormwater, allowing it to soak more naturally into the ground before it reaches Narragansett Bay.
Flooding Adjacent to Nursery
Flooding on Berkeley Avenue upgradient of Maidford River culvert crossing. S. Ribas/RIDEM.
This project is a prime example of how important partnerships are to successful stormwater mitigation installations. In 2016, Hoogendoorn was under a state order to address its stormwater runoff problem. The stormwater going into the Maidford River from Hoogendoorn was described as looking like chocolate milk. In order to rectify this problem, Hoogendoorn turned to the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) to get both technical and financial help under its Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP). EQIP is a reimbursement program whereby NRCS pays up to 90% reimbursement to the landowner. However, due to the large size of the property and the run-off, the cost was exorbitant for the property owners. 
Hoogendoorn Nursery
Hoogendoorn Nurseries site before installation
(May 2020 - Photo Credit Aquidneck Island Planning Commission)

Partners to the Rescue:

In September 2016, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency selected Aquidneck Island Planning Commission’s Island Waters project for funding under its Southeast New England Program – one of only 8 such projects selected by the EPA that year. The purpose of the program was to help the three Aquidneck Island communities (Newport, Middletown, and Portsmouth) work together to better manage stormwater pollution. One of the projects selected to fund under Island Waters was Hoogendoorn. However, this was not enough money to fund the entire portion of the farmer’s share. 
Completed Hoogendoorn Project
Completed Best Management Practice (BMP) at Hoogendoorn Nurseries
(October 2020 - Photo Credit Aquidneck Island Planning Commission)
Recognizing this project was extremely important for the entire Aquidneck Island farming community, DEM said it would be able to make up the difference of the funding owed by working with its partner, ERICD. Together, along with AIPC and NRCS, these four entities worked together to form a partnership that helped the Hoogendoorn project become a reality. It took close to four years for it to happen, but finally, it is complete. 
Hoogendoorn Project Site
Hoogendoorn Project Site
Hoogendoorn Project Site
Hoogendoorn Project Site
Completed Best Management Practice (BMP) at Hoogendoorn Nurseries
(October 2020 - Photo Credit Aquidneck Island Planning Commission)
The Rhode Island Green Infrastructure Coalition provides communication resources, trainings on maintenance of green infrastructure installations, and shared knowledge on successful sites and green infrastructure installations around the state.
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. And we connect a wide range of partners to share lessons learned in the Providence Metro area and Aquidneck Island.

Facebook Facebook
RI-GIC Website RI-GIC Website