As many of you have followed over the last couple of years, the Rosedale Runoff Reduction Project (RRRP) has been a very large, all hands on deck project for NMRWA. So, with all of the hard work we collectively have put into the RRRP, we were very excited to share what we learned with other clean water based groups at the River Rally. Hosted annually by River Network, the River Rally is a national conference for river and water champions. The four day conference draws hundreds of professionals from across the country and focuses on inspiring and educational workshops.
This year’s conference was in Grand Rapids, MI and gave our staff an opportunity to see what is happening in another Great Lakes area of the country. Both our Design Manager Sara Madden and Director of Policy & Outreach Mike Hiller co-presented along with the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District and Clean Wisconsin. The River Network paired up our two projects for presentation, which they felt they were similar enough to create a comparison city workshop.
The title of the workshop was Neighbor to Neighbor: Building a Movement for GI and Ecological Restoration. Attendees learned the different approaches taken to implementing an impactful green stormwater infrastructure (GSI) project throughout an entire neighborhood. We even created a new game for attendees to play at the end to think strategically about GSI projects.
Mike and Sara had a great time exploring Grand Rapids (which is a beautiful city) and learning about the river restoration project taking place there that will transform their downtown. Also impressive is the fact they have reduced their combined sewer overflows to zero per year – great jobs Grand Rapids!
Lastly, we were able to meet dozens of interesting people from around the country working on similar projects to ours. It was inspirational to hear how they are engaging their communities and empowering them around clean water. We are excited to bring these ideas back to Pittsburgh!