Congratulations to the 2017 EPA Region 4 Rain Catcher Award Winners

During the event, EPA awarded the 2017 Rain Catcher Awards for excellence in implementation of stormwater green infrastructure projects. Nominations were submitted for three of the four possible categories including: Municipal, Commercial, and Neighborhood/Community levels.

The Commercial Rain Catcher Award was earned by James A. Reeder Riverfront Development Corporation for the Beale Street Landing project in Memphis, TN. The Beale Street Landing Project was constructed in five phases with the final phase completed in April 2014. The project is located along the banks of the Mississippi River and is comprised of a terminal building, a parking lot, a 3-acre public park and a passenger boat docking system that facilitates disabled passenger access. The terminal building has a 1.3-acre arched-grass roof providing additional green space and pedestrian access. The arched-grass roof retains nearly 80 percent of rainfall, with the remaining runoff filtered through the vegetation and captured by a drainage inlet or trench drain. The 3-acre public park contains a number of terraces and two protruding islands with articulating concrete block used to stabilize eroding banks of the Mississippi River along the lower areas of the park. During construction of the park, washed sand was used for backfill to quickly relieve saturated soils from high river levels to further reduce erosion.

The Neighborhood/Community Rain Catcher Award was earned by North Carolina’s Collaborative Project Team for the implementation of innovative stormwater infiltration projects in NC. In 2013, the North Carolina Coastal Federation and the National Estuarine Research Reserve developed a collaborative project team, including the Town of Wrightsville Beach, City of Wilmington, Department of Transportation, National Estuarine Research Reserve, N.C. Division of Energy, Mineral and Land Resources, N.C. Division of Coastal Management, N.C. Shellfish Sanitation Section, Cooperative Extension Service, N.C. Division of Soil and Water Conservation, UNC-Wilmington, the Blockade Runner Resort and professional consultants. From 2013 to 2017, the project team completed eight strategically chosen stormwater projects to decrease the transport of microbes to receiving waters by reducing the volume of surface runoff.

The Municipal Rain Catcher Award was earned for two innovative projects. The South Park Watershed Enhancement Project, located in Charlotte, NC, was earned by the City of Charlotte Stormwater Services and the Northwest Park Project, in Morrisville, NC, was earned by the Town of Morrisville, Mullis Design Group and Ballentine Associates, P.A.

The City of Charlotte Storm Water Services South Park Watershed Enhancement Project was designed to treat and remove pollutants from stormwater runoff to the Little Sugar Creek Watershed by implementing green infrastructure best management practices on a 36-acre public school campus in Charlotte, N.C. The project was comprised of five stormwater control measure (SCM) retrofit projects including two bio retention areas, an infiltration trench and a wet detention pond with a sand filter. The SCM retrofit projects helped improve water quality in the on-site creek, which is impaired for fecal coliform, turbidity and dissolved oxygen. In order to treat an area that is hard to access, an inverted siphon pipe is located under the creek to direct runoff from the area to the wet pond. In addition, the SCM retrofit projects are located in areas with permanent easements which facilitate long-term access for maintenance.

The Town of Morrisville created the Northwest Park Project to provide a new neighborhood playground and public recreation space. Low impact green infrastructure stormwater features included in the park design reduce peak flow rates and the total amount of sediment, nitrogen and phosphorus leaving the site. The park includes a permeable playground and parking lot with large subsurface drainage fields, a 3,000-gallon rainwater‐harvesting cistern to capture roof runoff for landscape irrigation, and a series of infiltration beds and vegetated swales to treat runoff from an impervious walking trail. Educational signage in the park highlights watershed concepts and the park’s unique features to treat rainwater to improve local water quality.