What is Buffalo Rain Check? A Pictorial Introduction

Students in a summer program test out the porosity of the porous pavement installed in the bike lane as part of Buffalo Rain Check’s Kenmore Avenue Green Streets Project.

In addition to public works departments, many cities find a driving force for urban forestry is the water and sewer agencies who are responsible for managing stormwater. Buffalo Sewer is one such entity who is fighting for more tree canopy cover throughout the City of Buffalo through its Rain Check program. In partnership with residents, businesses, developers, and local institutions, Buffalo Sewer is finding myriad ways to capture and absorb water in the City and its spaces, with environmental justice and equity as a main priority.

Here’s a pictorial highlighting some of the projects. You can also take a virtual tour of eight ambitious green infrastructure projects in Buffalo through the Rain Check site.

Located at the foot of West Ferry Street on the scenic Niagara River, Broderick Park is steeped in history, most notably as a major terminus of the Underground Railroad between the United States and Canada. The park pays tribute to the people who crossed the water from that point to freedom in Canada and is listed as a designated Network to Freedom site by the U.S. National Parks Service, a national network of historic places and educational or interpretive programs associated with the Underground Railroad. Recent renovations to the park include new entrance features, a small performance amphitheater, a waterfront promenade, new shelters, and revised parking facilities—all with the intent to uplift the space as a public memorial to the incredible local history of the Underground Railroad. The City of Buffalo recently invested over $1 million in a range of renovations to the park, including updated parking facilities with green infrastructure elements. By using porous pavement in the parking areas, the pavement surface keeps over 124,000 gallons of stormwater from entering sewers in a typical rainfall event, protecting local water quality. The porous pavement looks just like regular asphalt but allows water to drain through the paved surface into a recharge bed and infiltrate into the soils below the pavement.

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Updated Guide to Shrubs for Stormwater Retention

Woody Shrubs for Stormwater Retention udpated

Cornell’s Urban Horticulture Institute (UHI) has released the second edition of its Woody Shrubs for Stormwater Retention Practices (Northeast and Mid-Atlantic Regions). The updated and expanded 57-page guide is an essential resource for choosing plants that can provide low-maintenance, attractive cover for filter strips, swales, rain gardens, and other stormwater retention and infiltration practices.

“For plants to thrive in stormwater retention areas, they need to be able to tolerate both dry and periodically saturated soils,” says UHI Director Nina Bassuk, professor in the Horticulture Section of the School of Integrative Plant Science. “These can be tough sites with high pH and salt levels, so it’s important to choose the right plants for the job.”

In addition to profiling more than 35 shrubs—including their hardiness, sun and soil requirements, potential pest issues, and deer resistance—the guide also details site assessment and design considerations for stormwater retention structures. Descriptions also include cultivar information and ecological impacts, such as attractiveness to pollinators. Download the guide here.