The Connecticut Metropolitan Council of Government’s (MetroCOG) Beardsley Zoo Green Infrastructure Project is a highly visible green infrastructure retrofit at the zoo located along the Pequonnock River in Bridgeport. This collaborative project between MetroCOG, the Beardsley Zoo, the Connecticut Fund for the Environment, and Save the Sound will build on regional resilience planning efforts and the successful completion of a previous green infrastructure demonstration project at the Zoo.
In urban centers such as Bridgeport, the construction of impervious surfaces in the upper watershed eliminates natural infiltration of groundwater, increasing both the volume of runoff and the peak flow during a storm event, particularly as annual precipitation rates and the severity of storms increase due to climate change. This project will reduce the volume of stormwater contributed by the Zoo to the Pequonnock River. This Municipal Resilience Grant award was for the amount of $35,980.
Through the installation of 2,000 square feet of porous pavement and up to 2,000 square feet of bioretention gardens, over 1,000,000 gallons of stormwater runoff will be captured and filtered annually from an acre of existing parking area at the Zoo. Interpretive signage, targeted outreach, volunteer engagement opportunities, and workshops will help educate the 275,000 people who visit the Zoo each year about stormwater runoff and flood resiliency. Workshops conducted by a partnership of CFE/Save the Sound, the Beardsley Zoo, and the Northeast Organic Farmers Association of Connecticut (CT NOFA) will also reach target audiences of underserved, urban youth and adults to promote an understanding of stormwater infrastructure issues in Long Island Sound, increase environmental awareness, and enhance green job skills. CIRCA’s funding for this project is supporting installation and outreach efforts including signage and workshops.
The project will launch a hybrid of retrofits identified in the Beardsley Zoo Long Range Plan, which supports the Pequonnock River Watershed-Based Plan developed in 2011 by MetroCOG and a coalition of partners. This plan identified the Beardsley Zoo as a priority site for Green Infrastructure retrofits. Problems associated with urban runoff will be accomplished through the project’s outcomes: 1) measurably reduce the volume of stormwater entering the Pequonnock River through the treatment of 1,000,000 gallons of polluted stormwater; 2) demonstrate a suite of green infrastructure “Best Management Practices”(BMP) to practitioners in the region; 3) educate practitioners in the landscape construction industry about the uses and benefits of green infrastructure through a hands on workshop so that they may utilize these technologies; and 4) provide significant opportunities for volunteer engagement in an EPA-designated “environmental justice” community.
Project Team Members
Matt Fulda - MetroCOG
Gwen Macdonald – Save the Sound
Kristine Baker – Fuss & O’Neill