Stormwater Irrigation: A Comparison of Soil Moisture at Curb Cuts with and without Rain Gardens
Originally from Santa Fe, New Mexico, Aaron Kauffman has over fifteen years of experience analyzing and implementing simple and pragmatic solutions to watershed degradation. Aaron has a broad background in land management including reforestation projects in the Dominican Republic, monitoring and evaluation of pre- and post-fire erosion rates in oak savanna environments near the US-Mexico border, and stream restoration throughout the Southwest. Recently Aaron has turned his attention to urban watershed issues including river degradation resulting from excess runoff, remediation of stormwater pollutants through Green Infrastructure design and implementation, and providing technical workshops for municipal planners, private contractors, and the general public.
Title: Stormwater Irrigation: A Comparison of Soil Moisture at Curb Cuts with and without Rain Gardens
Vegetation planted around rain gardens presents an opportunity to remediate stormwater pollutants, diversify habitat, and improve community aesthetics in urban settings. In semi-arid regions where water resources are scarce, it is unclear whether stormwater captured in these basins is sufficient to sustain plant growth without supplemental irrigation. Aaron has been monitoring soil moisture at curb cuts with and without rain gardens at the Santa Fe Community College since 2014. He will share recent results from the study including those from a publication in the May 2017 issue of Stormwater magazine. Results indicate average volumetric water content of soils in rain gardens significantly increased at multiple depths compared to areas without rain gardens. Enhancements in soil moisture in rain gardens could potentially sustain vegetation for extended periods without precipitation and thus reduce the burden on potable and effluent water sources for irrigation in urban settings.