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Land Use, Land Cover and Stormwater Management in Massachusetts under Conditions of Climate Change: Modeling the Linkages

Principal Investigator/Project Leader: 
Sponsoring Unit(s): 
Department of Project: 
Landscape Arch. & Regional Planning Dept.
Project Description: 

Stormwater BMPs have emerged as essential tools in the mitigating impacts on hydrologic functions resulting from urbanization and its associated impervious surfaces. Yet the effectiveness of the BMPs has been understudied in relationship to effective impervious area and land development patterns linking neighborhood and watershed scales. In addition, there is a need to understand the effectiveness of BMPs under various precipitation patterns, particularly extreme storm events based on the IPCC climate change scenarios. In this study, six development patterns varying in land use and land cover will be developed as stormwater modeling units at a neighborhood scale. These will be tested using various storm events from four climate change scenarios (past trend, low, moderate, and extreme scenarios), and retested with the inclusion of selected structural stormwater BMPs (porous paving, infiltration trenches, bioswales, and green roofs) on stormwater runoff volume and peak flow rate. GIS data in conjunction with hydrologic and hydraulic simulation software (HEC-HMS and SWMM) will be used to model the results. The results will provide a basis for understanding the effectiveness of stormwater BMPs at the neighborhood scale and demonstrate the need for integrating non-structural BMPs such as land use and open space preservation into watershed scale planning. The results of the study will highlight the implications for adaptation to flood mitigation risk under climate change scenarios in the Boston Metro Area and other urbanized watersheds.

Grant Award Year: 2012-2013