Through a multi-agency cooperative agreement, the University of Rhode Island Cooperative Extension Program, Nonpoint Education for Municipal Officials (URI-NEMO) developed RI Stormwater Solutions, a statewide stormwater education and outreach program. Rhode Island faces many stormwater pollution challenges, as much of the State's stormwater is carried to streams, reservoirs, and coastal waters by roadway drainage systems. RI Stormwater Solutions, a six-year initiative funded by the Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT), provides education materials, outreach methods, trainings/workshops and related tools for local agencies and municipalities operating as Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4s), and others in implementing effective stormwater education programs.
Most of Rhode Island's municipalities, as well as RIDOT, are regulated as MS4s under the Rhode Island Pollutant Discharge Elimination System General Permit. This regulation, monitored by the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (RIDEM), requires MS4s to develop comprehensive Stormwater Management Program Plans that outline the methods and means of achieving compliance with the Permit. These means and methods require initiatives for public education and outreach, illicit discharge detection and elimination, construction and post-construction site stormwater control, and good housekeeping for municipal operations.
To achieve compliance with the education and outreach requirements, RIDOT entered into a cooperative agreement with URI-NEMO and RIDEM. All of the agencies contributed in different ways to support the project; RIDOT provided the funding for the program, RIDEM supplied the technical oversight, and URI-NEMO offered education and training services on a statewide level. The RI Stormwater Solutions project is truly unique in the level of coordination among these and other partners, including the Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council, the Rhode Island Association of Conservation Districts, and a broad-based advisory group that included private sector and nonprofit organizations.
Thirty-two Rhode Island municipalities participated in RI Stormwater Solutions. RIDOT, RIDEM, and URI-NEMO are currently developing a second agreement to continue the success of stormwater education in Rhode Island. RI Stormwater Solutions serves as a successful example of how agencies can increase public awareness through outreach, training, and education on statewide stormwater issues.
For more information, please visit the project website: www.RIStormwaterSolutions.org or contact Allison Hamel, Rhode Island Department of Transportation, at AHamel@dot.ri.gov, Lorraine Joubert, University of Rhode Island Cooperative Extension, at LJoubert@uri.edu or Eric Beck, Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management, at Eric.Beck@dem.ri.gov.