News Release Distributed 04/24/14
BATON ROUGE, La. – The Building Green Cities Baton Rouge organization has scheduled a day-long workshop on May 12 to discuss water issues in the parish.
“The workshop will highlight the goals and action items of the city-parish comprehensive plan, FUTUREBR, as it relates to wetlands, surface water and water quality,” said Jeff Kuehny, LSU AgCenter resident director of the LSU AgCenter Botanic Gardens at Burden.
The plan is to provide attendees with valuable information on opportunities to address these goals and action items, he said.
The conference is sponsored by the LSU AgCenter Botanic Gardens, Louisiana Urban Forestry Council, City Parish Planning Commission, BREC and the Water Quality Enhancement Committee.
“We designed the workshop for developers, planners and engineers in East Baton Rouge and surrounding parishes,” Kuehny said.
The Baton Rouge watershed, through its system of multiple, interconnected waterways, is crisscrossed by waterways just as it is with roads connecting neighborhoods and parks across the City.
“Water flow and the retention ability of many of our smaller watersheds have been changed by land development and drainage improvements,” Kuehny said.
The majority of the parish drains into the Bayou Manchac and Amite River sub-watersheds, emptying into the Lake Pontchartrain basin.
These watersheds have served a valuable function in helping to prevent flooding of Baton Rouge and surrounding areas for ages.
“However, as the urban area has grown, the capacity to handle major rain events has been compromised,” Kuehny said. “Another significant problem is that our watersheds are contributing to the pollution of Bayou Manchac and Lake Pontchartrain. This is due to the many pollutants that are carried by the stream network. ”
Through the comprehensive plan FUTUREBR, the residents, industries and governmental agencies of Baton Rouge have the opportunity to continue to implement change that will improve water quality and reverse the process of polluting our beautiful swamps, bayous and lakes, he said.
Presentations at the workshop will include updates about stormwater management in East Baton Rouge Parish and the progress of best management practices that have been implemented since 2007.
Examples of these best management practices can be seen on the Baton Rouge government website, http://www.brgov.com/dept/planning/WWS/bmp.htm.
Guest speakers at the workshop will include Bob Adair, of the Houston Land/Water Sustainability Forum, who will give an overview on biofiltration practices that have been used in the Houston watershed. Margaret Robinson, of Asakura Robinson Company, will discuss what’s involved in designing green infrastructure, and Nick Russo of, Harris County Texas Watershed Protection, will address green roadway reconstructions and stormwater quality monitoring.
“After lunch at the Botanic Gardens, the participants will then be shuttled to the Bluebonnet Swamp Nature Center to review the use of permeable parking systems and bioswales.
A reception will follow at the Bluebonnet Swamp Nature Center, and participants will then be taken back to the Burden Botanic Gardens, he said.
The LSU AgCenter Botanic Gardens at Burden is located at 4560 Essen Lane near Interstate 10 in Baton Rouge.
Registration for the workshop is available online at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/building-green-cities-baton-rouge-workshop-tickets-10615205365 and is $25 per person. A box lunch and transportation to and from Bluebonnet Swamp are included in the registration.
For more information, visit the Water Quality Enhancement Committee website at
http://www.brgov.com/dept/planning/WWS/default.asp, or contact the Planning Commission at 225- 389-3144.