Green Stormwater Infrastructure Planning in Midwestern Higher Education Institutions

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The Ohio State University

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Green stormwater infrastructure (GSI) is an innovative approach to stormwater management that has the potential to provide a variety of operational, environmental, and human benefits beyond those offered by more traditional gray stormwater infrastructure systems. This study was an exploratory investigation of the degree to which public four-year universities in the Midwest incorporate GSI in their campus planning and stormwater management programs. I conducted a document content analysis of planning documents, policies, and NPDES MS4 permit program documents from sixteen universities in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, and Wisconsin. I then conducted semi-structured interviews with faculty and staff from The Ohio State University-Columbus campus and the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities campus to provide case study insight on these two universities. The findings from this study suggest that many universities plan for GSI, but these efforts have significant room for growth. Few universities had a GSI-specific plan or documents with sections dedicated to GSI; however, select universities and documents did offer GSI implementation strategies that can inspire other higher education institutions. Overall, greater adoption of GSI will require higher education institutions to take the initiative by creating GSI-supportive plans and management strategies that can successfully communicate across a variety of stakeholders.



green infrastructure, urban stormwater, stormwater management, university planning, campus planning, university campus