stormwater institute bioretention research

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Purpose: The purpose of this website is to provide useful information for the design, implementation and evaluation of bioretention cells. This website includes reports and data from previous investigations and projects as well as data and analysis from current projects conducted at LTU. In addition, this website provides useful links and documents from other leading bioretention research facilities.  

Definition: Bioretention cells, also known as raingardens,  have been identified as cost effective stormwater management tools. Generally, bioretention cells are shallow excavated or natural depressions designed to filter and store stormwater.

Importance: The Great Lakes are a national and international treasure. They contain 20% of the world’s surface freshwater, supply drinking water to 42 million people, and are the center of the region’s economy and cultural diversity. They generate $4.5 billion in sport fishery, $6.5 billion from fishing, in the eight Great Lake states. The increase in urbanization and has lead to an increase in polluted stormwater reaching the Great Lakes. In addition, the increase in urbanization has decreased stormwater recharge and lag time, which have been identified as a major contributor to flooding and deterioration of streams and rivers. This increase in runoff, decreases the ability of surface water to infiltrate and recharge the water table. This leads to a decrease in groundwater, which may negatively impact streams that rely on groundwater for a source of supply.

The negative impacts previously listed have lead to an increase in water quality and quantity regulations. To address the numerous stormwater management issues, innovative stormwater techniques have been developed and implemented internationally.  A stormwater technique that has been identified as a cost effective best management practice (BMP) is the bioretention cell. This website is dedicated to providing research results and determining the effectiveness of bioretention cells for stormwater management for both water quality and quantity.