the Neighborhood Design Center



April 7, 2021

Stormwater Management and Trees- A Dynamic Duo

If you are passionate or curious about forestry and landscaping, you don’t want to miss this! 

Jason Sprouls, a Virginia Tech alumnus and forestry program manager at NDC, recently had his Master’s in Forestry research featured in the Chesapeake Tree Canopy Network!  His graduate research project investigated the growth of trees in a gravel bed stormwater retention system as a novel approach to stormwater management in challenging urban sites. 

Dense urban areas are typically covered by impervious surfaces that are used to construct roadways, parking lots and sidewalks. This tends to seal over soils, which increases stormwater runoff volume and reduces water quality downstream. Through his research, Jason was able to construct a pilot study of a gravel bed stormwater retention system that addressed a combination of needs. 

The design specifications of the system are intended to be low-cost, technically simple, and highly adaptable based on site configuration and intended stormwater capture. The first pilot was constructed at the Virginia Tech campus. This study will raise awareness of trees in green infrastructure systems while providing information about the cost-effectiveness and practicality of the gravel bed stormwater retention system. The ongoing project aims to evaluate the hydrological function and tree growth in the system.

 Jason’s hope is that practitioners gain interest in this system and configure new installations to make urban forestry and green infrastructure more accessible and equitable. Improving public spaces and preventing water pollution, through the planting of trees and creation of green space in urban areas, essentially affects our health, environment, and equity of our communities.

We are so proud of the work that Jason is doing to make this possible. 

Click here to learn more about the gravel bed stormwater retention system!

If you’re interested in diving into Jason’s “deep-rooted” research and practice, click here!