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Related Projects and ResourcesDeveloping Central New York's Green Infrastructure

Green infrastructure (GI) is increasingly recognized as an effective, attractive, environmentally-sound method of stormwater management. This page seeks to highlight local and regional efforts to explore and implement green infrastructure technology. Some of the GI-related activities at SUNY-ESF, including research/outreach efforts and course offerings, are included on this page, as well as examples of GI projects in central New York. Finally, some helpful GI resources are provided.

Related research/outreach efforts at SUNY ESF :

Doug Daley, P.E. , Department of Environmental Resources and Forest Engineering. Dr. Daley's lab is involved in several green infrastructure projects on SUNY ESF's campus, including the installation of a bioretention basin in 2008. The cell was designed to provide a 0.5’ ponding depth for a peak flow of 2.1 cfs (100-year return interval). Native plants are supported by a mulch layer, planting soil, and 2 feet of compacted granular subbase. The cell receives drainage from approximately 10,270 square feet of the Illick Hall roof through an influent weir box. A trench drain, which connects to the local storm sewer, underlies the basin. The basin was equipped with sensors to monitor flow, soil moisture and temperature during the spring of 2009. Water level sensors will be used in combination with V-notch weirs to measure influent and effluent flow. This work is sponsored by USDA McEntire Stennis. Students in this lab have also been involved in ESF's green roof and porous pavement projects.

Stewart Diemont, Department of Environmental Resources and Forest Engineering. Dr. Diemont's work focuses on determining how ecosystems can be designed for mutual benefit to both humans and the environment, addressing a future of reduced fossil fuel availability through sustainable ecological engineering. Using emergy analysis, the Diemont lab is evaluating the relative sustainability of campus greening in the US. In addition, the lab is interested in determining appropriate ways to remove pollutants from water, potentially including the use of natural systems such as wetlands, which have been used by indigenous groups in East Asia for centuries. Other research interests include the linking of conservation biology, ecosystem restoration, and subsistence production through the study of traditional ecological knowledge and sustainable designs such as agroforestry. Dr. Diemont teaches courses that combine engineering concepts, biocultural restoration concerns, and the current state of affairs. He is currently integrating these concepts with a revitalization effort in the near westside of Syracuse that will challenge students to implement techniques such as community gardens, rain barrels, a rain garden, and edible forest. In addition, this work will engage local refugee populations and seek their involvement in the revitalization of their community.

Ted Endreny, Ph.D, P.H., P.E., Department of Environmental Resources and Forest Engineering. Among other various research efforts, Dr. Endreny's lab investigates stormwater ecological engineering, specifically examining the impacts of green infrastructure on water quality, directly connected impervious cover, and changes in remote sensing spectral signatures. The Syracuse Center of Excellence is involved in an urban renewal project in the Syracuse Near West Side, and asked for help in understanding the water resources impacts of changing from impervious asphalt cover to Flexi Pave. One study measures changes in directly connected impervious area, another focuses on the leaching of polymer from the porous pavement from acid rain, and the third investigates spectral differences between asphalt and flexi-pave and the feasibility of detecting Flexi Pave using remote sensing data. This work is sponsored by the Syracuse Center of Excellence in Environmental and Energy Systems. Collaborators include Drs. Lindi Quackenbush, Jungho Im, and Ivan Gitsov.

Myrna Hall, Research Associate, Department of Environmental Studies. Some of Ms. Hall's research interests include the integration of simulation modeling and GIS for studying the interaction of humans and their environment; urban metabolism; landscape change dynamics; and foreign language communication. Some of her recent presentations and publications relate to the relationships among land cover change, water quality, and the urban heat island effect. Ms. Hall is the Director of the Center for the Urban Environment (SUNY ESF), where she heads their mission of investigating and developing novel ways to mitigate urban environmental problems; educating and training the next generation of urban environmental scientists, engineers, and planners; engaging urban residents in the study and improvement of the urban environment; and working with communities, business, industries, governmental and non-governmental organizations throughout New York State to achieve a more sustainable future. She also teaches courses in geographic information technology and urban ecology.

Maren King, Assistant Director, Center for Community Design Research (SUNY-ESF). Ms. King provides community outreach and technical assistance, service-learning coordination, project management, and community presentations on behalf of SUNY ESF's Center for Community Design Research (CCDR), an outreach program within SUNY ESF Department of Landscape Architecture. She works to promote the CCDR's mission to "educate students, community leaders and citizens about the value of place and, through the shared practices of planning and design, to empower them to manage and direct change that will lead to sustainable communities". Specifically, Ms. King facilitates community design- and planning-related service-learning, outreach, and research projects for the Department of Landscape Architecture. She has extensive experience in private landscape architecture and planning firms, including 10 years with Hanna/Olin, Ltd., Philadelphia. Ms. King has been a registered landscape architect in New York since 1981 and is a member of the American Society of Landscape Architects.

Sharon Moran, Department of Environmental Studies. Dr. Moran's research interests include political ecology, environment-society relations, ‘green’ and innovative technologies, environmental policy, human dimensions of water/ wastewater issues, and sustainability. Recent publications bridge such topics as ecological economics; stream restoration and environmental justice; and the environmental consequences of dam removal. Dr. Moran is also an adjunct professor in Syracuse University's Department of Geography. She teaches courses including Human Dimensions of Water Systems, Human Dimensions of Dirty Water, and Human Dimensions of Water Problems, among others.

Tim Toland, Department of Landscape Architecture. Mr. Toland is an assistant professor in the Department of Landscape Architecture at SUNY ESF. Before coming to ESF in 2005, he worked on a variety of projects that focused on campus planning and design, transit and urban planning, municipal planning, site planning, and detailed design. He currently teaches various landscape architecture studio courses, as well as Planting Design and Practice and a sustainability seminar. As registered landscape architect and LEED-Accredited Professional, Mr. Toland’s scholarly pursuits focus on sustainable design, and more specifically on green infrastructure and construction materials. His work seeks to identify the synergies between various sustainable systems and optimize their performance within the designed and built environment. The goal of his research is to improve the economic and ecological sustainability of projects by providing information to design professionals that will allow them to make informed decisions during the design process and understand the implications of those decisions.

Related Courses offered at ESF:

  • Engineering Hydrology and Hydraulics: FEG 340/ERE 540- Introduction to water resources engineering. Hydraulics processes explored include pipe flow, open-channel flow, flows within control structures, flow through porous media, scaling rainfall across time and space, computing the timing and magnitude of watershed run-off, and routing flood waves through detention basins and streams. This course includes a bioretention basin component.
  • Ecological Engineering I: FEG 275-  Overview of ecological engineering theory and practice. Key concepts, empirical models, and case studies of ecological engineering. Living machines, treatment wetlands, bioremediation, municipal composting, agroforestry, traditional ecological knowledge, emergy analysis, and ecosystem restoration.
  • Ecosystem restoration design: ERE 496/596- Explores the state of the science and engineering for ecosystem restoration. We will examine prairie, forest, wetland, stream, lake, coral reef, and urban ecosystems, among others. Considers how stakeholders are incorporated into ecosystem restoration design, and how culture and government can help in developing a framework for sustainable ecosystem restoration projects. For the final course project, students will develop designs to restore a local degraded ecosystem.
  • Ecosystem restoration and designing for sustainability: ERE 796- Examines the nature of the very large challenges in front of us as our premium fuels are depleted. Explores and attempts to develop solutions to consequent societal and environmental problems in a changing world that is facing climate change and regional water shortages. Focuses on examining less energy intensive, lower pollution, and resource conserving approaches to the main needs of society. Explores the ecological engineering and sustainability literature and considers case studies of the built environment.
  • Phytotechnology: ERE 796- Introduction to terrestrial plant-based systems to address contemporary pollution of surface water and unsaturated soils. Examines concepts to describe the plant-soil-water-atmosphere continuum and includes instruction in field and laboratory measurements of soil and water properties. Explores modeling of phytotechnology applications in stormwater management and soil remediation. Upon completion of the course, students will be able to describe governing relationships of the plant-soil-water-atmospheric continuum, design and implement a plan to monitor performance of terrestrial phytotechnology applications, and collect and analyze data to characterize and design phytotechnology systems using contemporary models. 
Green infrastructure projects in Central New York:

GI projects can be found on the ESF campus, as well as at the following locations throughout central New York:

Project Details Organization(s) involved Related Website(s)
Rain garden, 515 Tully St., Syracuse Demonstration project in Syracuse's Near Westside neighborhood

Syracuse Center of Excellence (COE)

Near Westside Initiative

ASLF newsletter (pg. 2)

COE- photograph of garden

Syracuse University article

Syracuse Post-Standard article

Rain garden, Zen Center of Syracuse Demonstration project intended to educate and provide hands-on training for the use of rain gardens in stormwater management

Onondaga Lake Partnership

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Onondaga County

Rain garden, rain barrels, & porous pavement, Dunbar Community Center Integration of green infrastructure on Dunbar’s property on South State Street in Syracuse. Includes installation of a rain garden, native trees, porous pavement, and cisterns.

Atlantic States Legal Foundation (ASLF)

Dunbar Association, Inc.

Save the Rain

ASLF project website

ASLF newsletter (pg. 7)

Save The Rain article

Rain garden, Henninger High School Demonstration project and "living laboratory" that resulted from a collaborative effort by the high school and the Sunnycrest Park Association

Henninger High School

Sunnycrest Park Association

Central New York Community Foundation, Inc.

Syracuse Post-Standard article
Urban gardens and other proposed green infrastructure, Northside of Syracuse The "Freedom Garden" is an urban garden that was planned and planted by local residents. It beautifies the neighborhood, is the location of the weekly Farm Fresh Mobile Market, and will be used for future community events and cultural celebrations. Additional green infrastructure will be implemented in the Northside as a product of the Green Train Landscaping and Urban Ecology training program, conducted in partnership with SUNY ESF Outreach.

The Northside Urban Partnership

ESF Outreach

Freedom Garden

Community Garden on Lodi

McGroarty Park porous patio, rain garden, & urban tree plantings

Southside garden, Southside of Syracuse Young people with the Onondaga Earth Corps plant and care for new trees, maintain the Southside Garden, and undertake various volunteer service projects. Creation of the garden was funded by a Gifford Foundation grant.

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Onondaga County

Southside Interfaith Community Development Corporation

Gifford Foundation

Southside Interfaith CDC page

Green roof, Jamesville Correctional Facility Each of four roofs was replaced with either a baseline roof, a cool roof, a solar reflective roof (white roof), or a Green roof (Sedum tiles). Monitoring systems were installed to allow continued data collection comparing the four approaches. Jamesville Correctional Facility

Etera case study

Onondaga County press release

Onondaga Creekwalk trail The trail is currently complete from the historic Franklin Square district to just north of the Syracuse Inner Harbor. Extensions have been proposed and are in the design phase.

City of Syracuse


City of Syracuse project description

Onondaga Environmental Institute document (Ch.6 of Onondaga Creek Conceptual Revitalization Plan, pg.78)

Rain gardens, City of Oswego and Village of Fairhaven Demonstration projects that reduce stormwater runoff into local tributaries to Lake Ontario and encourage residents to build rain gardens. Supported by a USDA Rural Development Technical Assistance Training grant.

Syracuse University Environmental Finance Center


SU EFC project description
Rain garden, Syracuse University Covers 400 square feet and captures up to nearly 2,000 gallons of water runoff. Contains plants that tolerate salty runoff and alternating flooding/drought.

Syracuse University

Syracuse Center of Excellence (COE)

Syracuse Post-Standard article

Inside SU article

Rain garden, Syracuse Water Department, Skaneateles Located in front of the Syracuse Water Department on Genesee Street in Skaneateles. Cornell Cooperative Extension of Onondaga County Syracuse Post-Standard photograph
Rain barrels, Onondaga County Residential use of rain barrels throughout the county Save the Rain

Save the Rain- Rain Barrel Program


Rain barrel resources/companies

Green roof and stormwater retention tank, Syracuse Center of Excellence Roof planted with 6 species of Sedum. Storm water retention tank to control run-off entering the sewer system. Syracuse Center of Excellence (COE)

Syracuse COE building overview

Syracuse COE green roof description

Cistern, rain garden, and porous pavement, and green roof; Rosamond Gifford Zoo Porous pavement, rain garden, and cistern at the primate exhibit; Rain garden, infiltration areas, and green roof at the elephant exhibit

Rosamond Gifford Zoo

Appel Osborne Landscape Architecture

Cistern picture- Save the Rain
Green roof, C&S Companies Company Headquarters; Syracuse Installed on the front entrance vestibule to replace existing roof; planted with 6 species of Sedum.

C&S Companies

Apple Roofing Corp.

Carlisle Construction Material.

C&S Companies press release