Under Rain Check 1.0, Buffalo Sewer supported investments that built green infrastructure into streetscape projects, reconfigured parking lots to collect and soak up rain and snowmelt, greened vacant lots after demolitions, and engaged residents to disconnect their downspouts and install rain barrels. These projects were driven by collaboration with partners from various City of Buffalo departments and with community organizations from across Buffalo.
Buffalo is getting ready for the next generation of green infrastructure – Rain Check 2.0. Starting in 2018, this multi-year initiative will focus on building new partnerships and targeting projects geographically. The process starts with a deep dive analysis of green infrastructure opportunities across six sewer basins. We’ll look to what the data tells us and meet with stakeholders about opportunities. Together, we’ll build new projects, programs, and policies that can maximize the impacts of our investments.
Rain Check 2.0 will take Buffalo’s green infrastructure to the next level
Launched in 2018, Rain Check 2.0 represents the next generation of Buffalo Sewer’s green infrastructure program. This phase of the program will focus green infrastructure investments in six sewer basins. Unlike Rain Check 1.0 which focused investments in the public domain (like streets, public parking lots), Rain Check 2.0 will think bigger. This effort may involve partnering with large and small property owners, local colleges and schools, non-profit agencies, housing authorities, and even residents.
A Road Map for Rain Check 2.0
Throughout 2018, Buffalo Sewer is working with a team of consultants to identify the best opportunities for green infrastructure in its six priority sewer basins. These areas are prioritized for investment because they offer the best soils and topography for soaking up water before it enters the sewer system.
Buffalo Sewer uses a computer model to simulate how water falling on land in the City enters and moves through the sewer system. Using that model, we learned that in many areas of the City we can reduce combined sewer overflow events by managing runoff from impervious surface. In 2014, Buffalo Sewer made a legal commitment to use green infrastructure to manage the runoff from at least 1,315 acres of impervious surfaces in targeted areas of the City. In 2017, Buffalo Sewer mapped and analyzed the impact of work completed in the first phase of Rain Check. Based upon that work, it selected six focus areas for Rain Check 2.0 where Buffalo Sewer will focus on managing runoff from approximately 500 acres of impervious surfaces.
Expanding Public Partnerships
To date, Rain Check has focused on adding green infrastructure to public property, particularly on green streets, parking lots, and vacant lots. This work involved collaborating with the Department of Public Works to integrate green infrastructure into streetscape and park improvements, and with the Department of Permits and Inspections to improve stormwater retention on demolition sites. Buffalo Sewer would like to continue these efforts and expand our partnerships with local government to explore opportunities to work with entities like the Buffalo Public Schools, Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority, Buffalo Urban Development Corporation, Buffalo Urban Renewal Agency, and the Regional Economic Development Council.
Exploring Private Partnerships
As Buffalo Sewer prepares for the next generation of green infrastructure, we will be exploring opportunities to partner with the private sector (both commercial and nonprofit). Building these partnerships will allow Buffalo Sewer to maximize the benefits and minimize the burdens of Buffalo Sewer’s on-site stormwater management requirements for new development. This approach will also attract private sector investment in Buffalo green infrastructure projects to manage stormwater on private, with an opportunity for landowners to share costs with Buffalo Sewer. Through Rain Check 2.0, we are meeting with property owners, community based organizations and neighborhood leaders to explore how Buffalo Sewer investments can help further community revitalization.
Making Projects Happen
With a data-informed portfolio of potential investments and new partnerships to make them happen, Buffalo Sewer will take green infrastructure to the next level in Buffalo and tackle the stormwater challenge project by project.
Be a part of Rain Check 2.0!
Buffalo Sewer is seeking partnerships to build the next generation of green infrastructure in Buffalo. Reach out to our team to learn more and join us as we address the stormwater challenge and restore our waterways.