In the late 19th century, the banks of the Charles River near the Harvard campus were covered with marshes, cut through with small streams that advanced and retreated with the tides.
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Then engineers took over. The tidal marshes were filled, land was reclaimed, and many of the streams were buried underground in pipes.
Now, as Harvard begins its expansion on the Allston side of the Charles, there is a push to return the area to a more natural state – part of an emerging national movement that touts the environmental benefits of landscape restoration.
For the last two years, Harvard, the city, the local community, and various groups including the watershed association have worked – sometimes contentiously – to determine the best course for the project. Bowditch said her group’s main goal is to figure out how the drainage systems in North Allston work and how to make them work better.
Could Harvard expansion restore Allston’s watery ways? – The Boston Globe.
It’s a quest similar to those undertaken by neighboring communities after a six-year building boom that changed the landscape of the once mostly-rural suburbs southwest of Chicago. Since 2000, Will County’s population surged 33 percent, making it the fastest-growing county in Illinois and among the most rapidly expanding in the U.S.
Now that the building has slowed, many communities are taking a step back to identify areas straining under the weight of urbanization.
“We know the slowdown isn’t going to last forever,” DeVivo said. “Now is the perfect time to focus our attention toward protecting our natural environment.”
The environmental survey of Long Run Creek, released late last year and funded by an $80,000 state grant, revealed a creek under assault. Researchers documented garbage dumps similar to what DeVivo had seen, but also areas of the creek where natural buffers have eroded, contributing to a loss of native plants and insects.
Stopping the flow of urban pollution — chicagotribune.com.
Environmentalists eager to save urban trees are promoting the Evergreen Cities campaign, naming it one of their top four priorities for the legislative session that starts next Monday. They’re pushing a $1 million program to improve urban forests statewide.
Protections for urban trees vary widely in the Puget Sound region, contributing to a dramatic decline in the tree cover. Satellite images from the ’70s are dominated by green swaths with black specks of buildings and roads. Recent pictures are practically reversed, with black oozing across the image and green patches shining through.
It’s an urban deforestation seen nationwide. About 25 percent of city tree canopy vanished over the past 30 years, based on satellite image analysis by American Forests, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit group.
Environmentalists push $1 million program to save urban trees. Seattle – LISA STIFFLER SeattlePI
EVERY year, about 500 billion litres of stormwater washes off the roofs, roads and footpaths of Melbourne into our rivers and bays.
That’s about the same amount of water that Melburnians consume each year.
Often it comes in a thunderous rush, surging out of drains, damaging waterways, and pouring litter into Port Phillip and Western Port bays.
But a $20 million bid to use Melbourne’s stormwater on “rain gardens” across the metropolitan area has gathered speed since early last year.
Rain gardens are designed to absorb large volumes of water from downpipes, road surfaces and paved areas.
Melbourne leads Australia in cleaning stormwater naturally | Herald Sun.