Stormwater Management in Response to Climate Change Impacts: Lessons from the Chesapeake Bay and Great Lakes Regions (External Review Draft)

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This report was prepared by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Air, Climate, and Energy (ACE) research program, located within the Office of Research and Development, with support from ICF International. One of the goals of the ACE research program is to provide scientific information and tools to support EPA’s strategic goal of taking action on climate change in a sustainable manner. This report supports that goal by providing insights gleaned from workshops and assessments EPA and the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) held with local planners on ways to further the adoption of climate change adaptation practices in stormwater management. Documentation from the workshops formed the basis for assessing common challenges and opportunities across the Chesapeake Bay and Great Lakes regions and for providing specific examples of tools, data, methods, and actions that can be used to address climate change impacts.

The intended audiences for this report are local and state planners and managers engaged in the development and implementation of stormwater management policies and practices, local climate change or sustainability coordinators, or anyone charged with implementing climate change adaptation plans, and scientists working on climate change adaptation specific to stormwater control.

Water resources in the United States are affected by a number of climate stressors, including increasing temperatures, changing precipitation patterns, and extreme events. These changing conditions have implications for stormwater management as local decision makers look to improve existing infrastructure and build new stormwater systems. A number of recent workshops and other community efforts in cities and counties across the Chesapeake Bay and Great Lakes regions have initiated conversations about how projected land use and climate change could impact local water conditions and how adaptation actions such as green infrastructure and low impact development can fit into decision-making processes to address such changes.

These recent efforts provide insights into how climate change practitioners can more effectively work with communities to incorporate climate change information into local planning and decision making for stormwater management. Lessons learned from these adaptation planning experiences focus on locally identified barriers to addressing climate change, methods to overcome barriers in the short term, and long term information needs to further assist communities in their stormwater adaptation efforts. 


EPA and NOAA held workshops with communities from across the Chesapeake and Great Lakes Regions to initiate conversations about how projected climate and land use changes may impact local water conditions and how adaptation actions can be used to address such changes. This report provides a summary of insights gained into how climate change practitioners can most effectively support communities to increase the resiliency of their stormwater systems to climate change.


U.S. EPA. Stormwater Management in Response to Climate Change Impacts: Lessons from the Chesapeake Bay and Great Lakes Regions (External Review Draft). U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC, EPA/600/R-15/087, 2015.


Date Description
01-2011-2015Collaborative research -- Evaluating Stormwater Solutions for Ohio Collaborative Research Project (NOAA).
02-Aug-Sep 2011Needs assessment and workshops -- Planning for Climate Change in the Great Lakes Region (NOAA).
03-Nov 2012Workshop -- Forwarding Adaptation in the Great Lakes Region (NOAA).
04-2012-2014Economic Assessment of Green Infrastructure Strategies for Climate (NOAA).
05-Apr-Jun 2013Workshops - Stormwater Responses to Land Use and Climate Change in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, Stafford, VA; Baltimore, MD; York, PA (EPA).
06-May-Sep 2013Workshops -- Great Lakes Adaptation Assessment for Cities (NOAA).
07-Jun 2013Workshop -- Supporting Climate and Coastal Resilience Planning in the Western Lake Erie Basin (NOAA).
08-Oct 2013Workshop - Preparing Stormwater Systems for Climate Change—a workshop for Lake Erie basin communities (NOAA).
09-Feb 2015EPA performed an internal review of the draft report.
10-Oct 2015EPA published the draft report for a 30-day public comment and review.

Additional Information

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