In July 2012, the University of Nebraska – Lincoln (UNL) was awarded a $59,876 grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) through the Urban Waters Small Grant program. The grant work will address challenges in Omaha, Nebraska caused by stormwater runoff through community engagement and the development of new technologies.
UNL has partnered with three Omaha neighborhoods – Saddle Hills, TV Towers, and Benson – to develop educational programs and mobile applications that inform local residents about stormwater issues and green infrastructure solutions. Highlighted tools include rain barrel and rain garden design and construction. These stormwater reduction tools, also known as green infrastructure (GI), increase rain water absorption and redirect stormwater to reduce flooding and pollution.
The University of Nebraska – Lincoln (UNL) Urban Waters Project has three main goals:
Increase local and regional scientific evidence on environmentally beneficial and cost‐effective stormwater management practices.
Develop strategies for improving the quality of urban water.
Improve effectiveness in disseminating information to selected neighborhoods in Omaha.
Area Velocity sensor in storm sewer measuring runoff
A research and education team from the University of Nebraska‐Lincoln obtained funding for the project, and they are working closely with stormwater management personnel from the City of Omaha to successfully accomplish the project goals.
Three neighborhoods in Omaha are directly involved with the grant, including Saddle Hills, TV Towers, and Benson. The project team will be coordinating with neighborhood residents through June 2014 to provide educational programs on the use of neighborhood landscapes to help clean and store stormwater. There will be workshops on topics such as rain gardens and rain barrel design and construction, and activities such as tours of stormwater projects in other neighborhoods in Omaha.