We chose a site that was already a part of the West Creek Restoration Project, and saw the opportunity to further their design for a more comprehensive solution.
A number of issues stood out within this area, and among the largest was the condition of the creek bed, the high amounts of runoff due to impervious surfaces [warehouse roofs and vast parking lots], and the speed at which water rushed across the site without natural filtration, picking up pollutants and delivering them directly into the Cuyahoga, and resultantly, Lake Erie.
Our main goals were to slow the water down, and provide it with a more natural path before entering the Cuyahoga River. To do this, we proposed a divergent stream that would be used to handle excess water during times of heavy rain. This would allow water to be slowed down, and also to be filtered naturally before reaching the main river body. We also proposed effective solutions that could be implemented by businesses, such as porous parking lots, and bioretention. We addressed the issue of parking lot runoff feeding directly into the creek by proposing rain gardens at the edges of these lots, providing an area for water to be slowed and stored before entering the creek.
What we found is that there aren't many new ideas when working with water, it is simply knowing and applying concepts that work. This is something that can be done in any project. With knowledge of how to handle water on site, the amount of storm water runoff entering streams, creeks, and tributaries can be greatly reduced. Until now, it seems that the trend has been to get water off the site as quickly as possible, and into a storm sewer to be sent directly to the main water body. However, we are seeing the devastating effects of these practices, and with simple strategies, we must begin to design with water in mind.