College of Agriculture & Natural Resources
Landscape Architecture

University of Maryland Students Win 2nd Place in National EPA Campus RainWorks Challenge

College of Agriculture and Natural Resources continues strong history of success in the yearly competition

College Park, MD -- For the third consecutive year, a University of Maryland team takes home high honors in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) fifth annual Campus RainWorks Challenge. The 2016 finish punctuates a remarkable multi-year showing in the national competition where student teams collaborate to design an innovative green infrastructure project for their respective campus. Students from the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources received second place recognition in the Demonstration Project category for their (Un)Loading Nutrients submission, a design that aims to transform a strategic loading dock facility into a reimagined green infrastructure campus amenity. 

Under the guidance of and through a recommendation from UMD Facilities Management, the project team set out to retrofit a .97-acre lot that is 96% impervious and lacks stormwater management best practices. Much of the polluted runoff is conveyed to the nearby creek of Guilford Run, causing significant environmental stress. The design proposal serves as a future model for University-wide stormwater BMP’s that reverse the negative impact on the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.

The design proposal features 6,660 square feet of bioretention, - a process in which contaminants and sediments are extracted from stormwater runoff - 103% treatment of a 2-year storm event, an 18% decrease in impervious surface, a safer pedestrian experience through the parking lot and loading dock, and improved canopy and vegetative cover. This project aligns with Facilities Management’s four strategic priorities as part of their master plan: excellence, connectivity, sustainability, and stewardship. Within these are efforts to improve water conservation and stormwater management, address climate resiliency, enhance the pedestrian experience, and support the academic and educational priorities of the University. 

“I’m immensely proud of our students, and continue to marvel at their commitment to improving the University experience for staff, faculty and students while also solving important stormwater challenges that affect our precious local waterways,” said Victoria Chanse, Ph.D of UMD’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources and advisor to the project. “In our college, we are fully committed to preserving the health of the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries, and the development and installation of green infrastructure to mitigate stormwater impacts is a very important step.”

The interdisciplinary student team led by Mark Dennis, Dylan Reilly and Vince Yi - all in the college’s Plant Sciences and Landscape Architecture department—includes Emma Giese, Tuana Phillips (Environmental Science and Technology); Michael Van Wie (Mechanical Engineering); and Christiane Machado (Architecture) all of whom will split $1,000 for the second place demonstration category.

The team advisor and course instructor was Victoria Chanse, Ph.D (Plant Science and Landscape Architecture). The team was advised by Michael Carmichael, Stephen Reid (Facilities Management); Allen Davis, PhD (Civil & Environmental Engineering); Peter May, PhD (Environmental Science and Technology, Biohabitats); Mitch Pavao-Zuckerman, PhD (Environmental Science and Technology); Diane Cameron (Civil Engineer); William Olen (Executive Director, University of Maryland Design & Construction, Chair of Architectural and Landscape Review Board); Christopher Ho (Civil Engineer, University of Maryland Design & Construction); Rick Scaffidi (Vice President of Sales & Estimating, EQR LLC); Paul Romero (Lead Estimator, University of Maryland Design & Construction); Oswell Osei (Estimator, University of Maryland Design & Construction); Professor Jack Sullivan (Plant Science and Landscape Architecture); Professor Dennis Nola (Plant Science and Landscape Architecture, Member of Architectural and Landscape Review Board) and John McCoy (Columbia Association).

Official EPA results of the 2016 competition are available through this link.

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