Draining

Today’s award for best acronym goes to SWIM: Storm Water Infrastructure Matters, a group advocating natural approaches to water management in New York. Stormwater on its own is a little too esoteric, but swimming — most people can get behind that.

It comes to mind because this month’s Landscape Architecture magazine has three great articles on stormwater, about integrating natural drainage into the layered history of Minneapolis’ Grand Rounds necklace; restoration trial and error along a mostly buried, slag-lined stream in Pittsburgh’s East End, and a call by longtime smart growth advocate Lisa Nisenson for municipalities and regions to think globally, not site-specifically, about stormwater. The new stormwater regs popping up, while well intentioned, have already started adding yet another layer of regulatory discrimination against infill projects — which must be stopped before they proliferate much further.

Locally, I’m pretty confident in the efforts of MWRD board member Debra Shore’s ability to work with CNT to bring this research into Cook County’s future regulations — and maybe eventually transition to the bold “eco-boulevards” concept that would finally heal Chicago’s breach in the Great Lakes watershed.

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