Eighty take part in RSWMM workshop

Eighty people take part in workshop on Rural Stormwater Management Model RSWMM.

Eighty people take part in 2014 technical workshop about Rural Stormwater Management Model Project

Eighty people took part in a technical workshop, held on Thursday, July 24, 2014, about a new Rural Stormwater Management Model (RSWMM) being developed for Lake Huron’s southeast shoreline, in a largely rural area stretching from Sarnia to Tobermory.

The new made-in-rural-Ontario technology is in development as an improved tool for use of staff in the field as they support landowners and community groups in their projects and best management practices. Those projects and practices can help to manage water running off of land during storm events.

The model can help determine the kinds of projects that can do the best job to slow down runoff after snow melts or rain falls during a storm. Slowing the water down, letting it soak into the ground to be filtered, can help to preserve valuable topsoil, reduce erosion, and keep sediment, bacteria, and chemicals from reaching creeks, rivers, and Lake Huron.

The workshop was hosted by Healthy Lake Huron: Clean Water, Clean Beaches, a partnership of federal and provincial ministries, public health, local conservation agencies, and other partners. The workshop was held at Trinity Christian Reformed Church in Goderich with 65 people attending in person and another 15 taking part via teleconference and web conference.

Participants heard that a trial version of the new model is expected this autumn. Rural landowners, municipalities, drainage professionals, conservation field staff, and interested members of the public were among those who attended.

Presenters spoke about the agricultural best management practices that are being added to the modeling tool and how the model, when released in a trial version later this year, will be a valuable tool to help in decision-making by landowners and community groups as they consider the projects and best management practices (BMPs) they might consider to limit the effects of stormwater runoff.

There were many questions posed during the day, including questions and answers about the best management practices that are included in the model and possible next steps including future calibration, further monitoring, and ground-truthing to make the model projections as accurate as possible; and how the tool can be used to engage the public in projects that manage stormwater runoff and improve water quality. For more information visit ruralstormwater.com or abca.on.ca.

Five new or upgraded monitoring stations have been created in five sentinel watersheds, in five priority areas along the southeast shore of Lake Huron as part of the rural stormwater project. This is improving long-term monitoring of weather, water quantity, and water quality.

The model will build upon the US Environmental Protection Agency’s Stormwater Management Model (SWMM) and the PCSWMM software which is a powerful support package for SWMM modeling. The new model will combine urban modeling features with rural features such as agricultural best management practices; understanding of changes from season to season or even within a season (such as changes in crop cover); modeling of roads, ditches, and culverts; slope and terrain types; dynamic travel of water running over land; tracking of key pollutants (sediment, phosphorus and nitrogen); and other features.

The model can help in making decisions about the projects that will have the greatest water quality benefit, the priority areas for those projects, and the size the projects need to be to have a demonstrated water quality improvement.




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