HomeUnintended Outcomes

“Rain gardens are like children,” said Dennis Shelly of PEER Environmental, LLC. “You can never really trust them to be alone.”


Because of this, Charles Brenton of Brenton Landscape Architects asserts that project managers could “do a better job communicating with clients about what rain gardens look like years after installation.”


Although this nature-based approach is proven to effectively capture stormwater, rain gardens are not a set it and forget it best management practice (BMP). As living systems, GSI sites require a long-term maintenance vision to ensure that the stormwater regulations driving Green City, Clean Waters are being met. 


Because of this, SBN’s GSI Partners developed the 2017 GSI Operations and Maintenance Course, a three-day learning experience designed to increase the knowledge of local landscape professionals as it relates to public and private GSI operations and maintenance. On the third day of the course, Dennis Shelly and Charles Brenton will lead the field day with a tour of La Salle University’s rain gardens. Attendees will also tour a public site, Kemble Park, led by Rachel Streit from CHPlanning


The field day will provide an opportunity to discuss how landscape professionals can both avoid and respond to unintended outcomes that occur throughout the implementation and maintenance process. 


GSI professionals may encounter unintended challenges along a project’s timeline. For example, what happens when the community expresses concern only after the construction begins and not during the community engagement process? 

At the 2017 Operation and Maintenance Course* we will address many of these issues. Students will also leave this course with a basic understanding of the regulatory context of stormwater management, BMPs and their components, how to maintain the vegetation and above-ground components using adaptive and prescriptive management techniques, and how to diagnose and respond to safety and performance issues. The course takes place over three days: November 2, 3, and 10



Although we are proud to convene a community of GSI professionals to share best practices that address unintended outcomes, it is also important to note that sometimes unintended does not solely imply that the outcomes are negative. Especially as it relates to the benefits of GSI, we celebrate the unintended, or at least lesser known, social impact of a nature-based approach to stormwater management. 


Join us next week on October 25 at our Quarterly Meeting. Michelle Kondo, Ph.D of the USDA-Forest Service will join us to explore the question: Does GSI Make Our Communities Healthier and Safer? 


“Although safety outcomes are not typically included in cost-benefit assessments of GSI programs, our findings indicate that they should be included,” wrote Dr. Kondo. 


We look forwarding to you joining the conversation and exploring more deeply the potential for GSI projects to have a positive social impact in our communities. This event will also include

programmatic updates and structured time for networking. 


*Need assistance in paying for this year’s Operations and Maintenance Course? GSI Partners are eligible for up to $5,000 in Continuing Education Grants per business per year. Members can use this benefit to pay for O+M course registration. Not a member? Click here to join today


In addition to access to education grants, GSI Partners enjoy membership within the larger Sustainable Business Network of Greater Philadelphia (SBN) community, increased visibility through our online searchable directory, free access to events including SBN’s policy breakfasts*, and networking opportunities.