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On Beyond Q: Brookings Green Stormwater Infrastructure Study

Students collecting soil samples.

The Landscape Architecture Program at South Dakota State University recently won a nationally recognized grant from the California Landscape Architectural Student Scholarship Fund (CLASS Fund).  Grant funding was awarded to study appropriate policies and strategies for small rural cities to implement green stormwater infrastructure (GSI) practices into the landscape of existing built-out neighborhoods.  The grant has also been matched by funding from the East Dakota Water Management District to provide the SDSU researchers with resources necessary to evaluate concepts in student design studios during the Fall 2019 semester.  This research project is investigating and proposing new approaches for managing stormwater in small distributed and disconnected landscape-based practices throughout the City of Brookings.  GSI practices including rain gardens, bioretention systems, permeable pavements, and other tools have been implemented and tested in communities throughout the country for over 20 years, leading to a greater understanding of the effectiveness of the practices and their appropriate applications.  But, successful GSI programs are reliant on community-wide acceptance of a new landscape aesthetic and a willingness to implement, manage, and maintain these smaller distributed systems on both private and public property.


This project is beginning the GSI discussion through a clear understanding of community character, values and constraints to identify and recommend appropriate GSI practices for the City of Brookings.  Recommended practices are being selected from the large toolbox of existing GSI practices already proven and understood.   During the summer months, landscape architecture students assisted with soils infiltration testing and soil sampling and in the Fall 2019 semester, students will be exploring GSI design strategies for multiple sites to help visualize what GSI practices could look like at homes, at businesses, and in the right-of-way in Brookings.  By beginning with community values and character, researchers are looking for a unique starting point that will hopefully assist the community in developing a stormwater management program that can be expeditiously adopted and implemented with broad constituent support. 


The project is a collaboration between Dr. Crawford, Director of the School of Design and Landscape Architecture Program faculty members Don Burger, Dr. Elizabeth Tofte, and Jeremiah Bergstrom.  For more information, please contact Jeremiah Bergstrom at the SDSU Landscape Architecture Program at  The research project is scheduled to be completed in December 2019.