Chautauqua Institution – Stormwater Management Park

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As part of a larger comprehensive stormwater management initiative, the Chautauqua Institution is continually working to improve the water quality of Chautauqua Lake, aiming to collect and treat stormwater run-off wherever possible. This project transformed a little-used lawn area (former parking lot) into a natural landscape setting by “daylighting” a small stream and buried stormwater pipe outflow. Previously in this location, stormwater run-off from uphill impervious sources traveled beneath this area in a 24” diameter drainage pipe, carrying unwanted sediments and undesirable nutrients directly into the lake below. This innovative feature diverts and “daylights” this same stormwater run-off and filters the dirty water through a natural bio-swale (series of stepped pools/rain gardens) before returning it to the downhill ravine and into the lake. This landscape feature is intended to simulate a natural creek, with indigenous boulders as weirs and native plantings throughout. The natural process assures that this “dirty” stormwater run-off is properly filtered, which helps to improve the water quality in Chautauqua Lake.

Click below for a case study on “Why Green Infrastructure” by Scott Rybarczyk, PE, LEED AP, Senior Stormwater Engineer