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Carpenter leads local green infrastructure initiative

Release Date: July 2, 2014
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       Donald Carpenter

Professor Donald Carpenter of Lawrence Technological University’s Department of Civil Engineering has been retained by the Clinton River Watershed Council (CRWC) to help local communities identify innovative ways to manage stormwater.

Carpenter is a well-known expert in the field of green infrastructure and was instrumental in the creation of innovative stormwater management techniques on LTU’s campus.

He will be assisted by LTU graduate student Rachel Pieschek, who is pursuing a master’s degree in civil engineering after graduating in May with bachelor’s degrees in architecture and civil engineering.

“Getting to innovative stormwater management takes a lot of vision and a willingness to go beyond the norm, and Don really brings that to the table,” said CRWC’s Executive Director Anne Vaara. “That’s why we are so excited to bring his expertise to our communities.”

The effort will focus on identifying site-specific concepts to filter and retain stormwater while also adding beauty and community amenities in the downtown areas of Rochester and Clarkston, and at Clinton Township’s civic center. Stormwater management techniques include bioswales, rain gardens, rain chains, tree boxes, and porous surfaces.

The communities selected for this project are participants in CRWC’s WaterTowns program, which focuses on placemaking as a way to assist communities within the Clinton River Watershed and along Lake St. Clair to maximize their waterways as assets for community and economic development.

“The City of Rochester participated in CRWC’s WaterTowns program to help us envision how an underutilized area below our south bridge can be reimagined and redeveloped into a place where people want be,” said Rochester City Manager Jaymes Vettraino. “Now that we have a vision, we can pursue projects to convert this area into a hub of activity along the Clinton River.”

The first phase of Carpenter’s project launched in June and will wrap up by October. The project is made possible by a three-year funding commitment by the Erb Family Foundation.

“Green infrastructure is more than just stormwater treatment,” Carpenter said. “Green infrastructure also means creating places where people can interact with the environment in a positive way.”

Carpenter is an accredited green design professional (LEED AP) and practicing professional engineer (PE) whose expertise and research interests include low-impact development, innovative stormwater best management practices, hydraulic and hydrologic modeling, and field data collection for performance monitoring.

He is founding director of the Great Lakes Stormwater Management Institute at Lawrence Tech and an active committee leader for the Environmental and Water Resources Institute of the American Society of Civil Engineers. Other local engagement includes serving on the Board of Governors for Cranbrook Institute of Science, the Board of Directors for Pure Oakland Water, and the Rouge River Advisory Council.