College Wins Grant for Sustainability Project


Stormwater Interception Project logo

SUNY Oneonta has received $910,000 in Green Innovation Grant Program funding for a project aimed at reducing the impact of stormwater runoff from the campus.

Administered by the New York State Environmental Facilities Corp., the Green Innovation Grant Program (GIGP) supports projects across New York state that use unique stormwater infrastructure design and create cutting-edge green technologies. The grant was awarded through the NYS Regional Economic Development Councils’ Consolidated Funding Application process and funded through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as part of the New York Clean Water State Revolving Fund Program.

“This grant will support our efforts to formulate an interdisciplinary, systematic, educational and mindful solution toward addressing stormwater management on campus,” said SUNY Oneonta Sustainability Coordinator Hannah Morgan. “As an added benefit, installing green infrastructure technologies across campus will give our students experiential learning opportunities in sustainable landscaping, including the construction of bioretention systems and permeable pavement.”

In July 2013, extreme weather dumped 4.69 inches of water on the city of Oneonta in 24 hours, generating more than 2.9 million gallons of runoff from impervious campus surfaces. The SUNY Oneonta Green Retrofit Project will reduce the risk of flooding through the installation of green infrastructure systems to manage runoff from a 21-acre area with a high-density mix of residence halls, classroom buildings, roads, parking lots and lawn. The design of Phase I—a 1,700-foot-long vegetated swale running along a slope to the south of four buildings—has begun. Phase II will move further upslope to intercept runoff from a larger area of campus, and will involve the construction of a bioretention basin to intercept and hold runoff during storms and treat normal daily runoff adjacent to a roof-covered, permeable pavement walkway, reducing the need for ice-melt agents. The college will partner with the Oneonta Job Corps during various stages of implementation.

The project is part of a larger effort to address the issue of runoff by integrating stormwater management across the curriculum. Last semester, the college awarded a $20,000 Strategic Allocation of Resources (StAR) grant to the Stormwater Initiative Project: An Interdisciplinary Initiative and Experiential Learning Opportunity to Promote the Campus as a Living Laboratory. During this multiyear research, planning, design and construction project, students will be involved in monitoring and analysis of stormwater flow rates; identifying native species to plant within rain gardens; designing landscapes and spaces that are both aesthetically pleasing and effective in capturing runoff; and educating the campus and larger community about solutions for managing stormwater runoff.

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