Application of Bioretention, Native Plants and Other Low Impact Storm water Management Strategies to Tufts University

EPA Grant Number: SU832498
Title: Application of Bioretention, Native Plants and Other Low Impact Storm water Management Strategies to Tufts University
Investigators: Vogel, Richard , Licht, Jeff
Institution: Tufts University
EPA Project Officer: Nolt-Helms, Cynthia
Phase: I
Project Period: September 30, 2005 through May 30, 2006
Project Amount: $9,444
RFA: P3 Awards: A National Student Design Competition for Sustainability Focusing on People, Prosperity and the Planet (2005) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: P3 Challenge Area - Water , Pollution Prevention/Sustainable Development , P3 Awards , Sustainability


At Tufts, teams of undergraduates have worked for several years in collaboration with Tufts' Facilities to design bioretentive landscapes using native plants. Now, students will take the next step by implementing low impact development (LID) strategies in conjunction with best management strategies (BMP's) which employ local and regional (native) plant communities, to enhance storm water management. Working with faculty familiar with these concepts, students will build an engineering design illustrating LID and BMP practices suitable to educate others dealing with similar sites on the Tufts campus, in nearby communities and the New England region.


A set of campus buildings built near the downward slopes of a drumlin form the backdrop of the project. The existing site has steep slopes, poor drainage and poses many maintenance challenges. In Phase 1, students will engage in the definition of existing drainage and collection problems, data collection; site mapping using a geographic information system (GIS), and the development of a stormwater and habitat plan. Next, the students will select appropriate native plants and choose bioretention strategies. Bioretention strategies will be integrated into new walkways, curb cuts, and constructed wetlands, to name a few possibilities. At the end of the first semester, students will present a finished proposal to the University's Operations department. In the second phase, during the start of semester two, any necessary changes, or budgetary approvals will be completed. Beginning in late March of 2006, students partnering with Facilities will begin site development, helping to complete landscape renovations.

Expected Results:

To dramatize the success of the overall project, students will quantify the benefits associated with their proposed design which should include, but not be limited to: (1) greater pedestrian access, (2) reduced erosion and runoff, (3) capture of storm water for irrigation through bioretention, and (4) a dramatic increase in both the aesthetic and self-sustaining capability of the overall landscape.

Supplemental Keywords:

media, methods/techniques, geographic areas, risk management, Region 1,, Scientific Discipline, Waste, Water, Ground Water, Municipal, Civil/Environmental Engineering, Wet Weather Flows, Environmental Engineering, Urban and Regional Planning, fate and transport, hydrodynamic modeling, flood control, runoff, man-made wetlands, urban runoff, stormwater, bioretention, water quality, storm drainage, stormwater runoff, storm drainage systems, land management, storm water, Storm Water Management Model, water management

Progress and Final Reports:

  • Final