University of Wisconsin–Madison

Green Infrastructure

Nature has a talent for multi-tasking, CPLA believes we need to encourage this characteristic across our 936 acres.  Green infrastructure uses vegetation, soil, and natural hydrologic features to manage stormwater and provide environmental and community benefits.   While ‘green’ implies something that must be actively maintained and/or potentially restored, ‘infrastructure’ implies something that we must have (utilities, roads, etc.).  When combined they emphasize interconnected systems that use or mimic natural processes to infiltrate, evapotranspirate, or reuse stormwater for the benefit of our campus community and environment.  Per UW-Madison’s framwork plan, “For Wisconsin and the World” stewardship is identified as a leading priority.  It is the goal of CPLA to promote and integrate the most current and applicable research and education in the arena of green infrastructure on our campus development projects.

The Green Infrastructure and Stormwater Management Master Plan (link) suggests both structural (bioinfiltration, permeable pavements, BMP’s, etc.) and non-structural (street sweeping, education of faculty/students/staff, etc.) approaches to achieving the goals established in the report.  The report also estimates potential numeric progress toward achieving regulatory objectives offered by major structural changes. While the specific policies and practices recommended in the report should not be considered mandates, it is important to recognize that there are specific regulatory mandates driving many of the recommendations. Therefore, the decision to implement, not implement, or modify each of the identified practices will impact progress toward meeting regulatory mandates.

Wellhead Protection zones located within or near campus are indicated on the above map due to their significance on the impact of the type of green infrastructure that can be used in proximity to the well.  Green infrastructure in these areas must comply with city Wellhead Protection Area (WHPA) plans (Wells 6, 19, 27).

Rain Garden/Bioswale/Bioretention

Porous/Permeable Pavement

Green Roof

Detention Basin/Stormwater Pond

Proprietary Device (Sediment/Oil & Grease)

Cisterns/Other (per Description)

Wellhead Location (Corresponding Zone Indicated on Map)

Green Infrastructure & Stormwater Management Recommendations

The recommendations for green infrastructure and stormwater management on the UW-Madison campus can be grouped into five categories which are summarized below.

The following suggests structural and non-structural approaches to achieving stormwater management/green infrastructure goals and estimates potential numeric progress toward achieving regulatory objectives offered by major structural practices. While the specific policies and practices recommended in this report should not be considered mandates, it is important to recognize that there are specific regulatory mandates driving many of the recommendations. Therefore, the decision to implement, not implement, or modify each of the identified practices will impact progress toward meeting regulatory mandates.

  • Stormwater Performance Standards and Policies

    This section (link) provides a discussion on the current and proposed stormwater management performance standards which individual construction projects on campus are required to achieve, as well as alternatives to achieving the standards where it is not feasible.

  • Multi-Site Green Infrastructure Practices

    This section (link) describes structural green infrastructure practices, or BMPs, which if implemented would provide treatment on a larger scale than just one building site and which may include street right-of-ways and other parts of campus which are not necessarily slated for a redevelopment project.

  • Site-Based Green Infrastructure Practices

    This section (link) offers descriptions of structural BMPs which could be used on individual redevelopment project sites to achieve the proposed performance standards, and summarizes the list of BMPs in a matrix to allow UW–Madison staff and design teams to easily identify site appropriate BMPs as projects are planned for development.

  • Opportunities with Future Land Use Changes

    This section (link) highlights the most significant areas of campus which are planned for redevelopment and describes the impact of the proposed land use changes on the overall campus stormwater management and green infrastructure objectives and permit requirements.

  • Opportunities with Utility Improvement Projects

    This section (link) identifies planned utility improvement projects which will disturb areas of campus and which may provide an opportunity to implement green infrastructure practices which may not be advanced through other means.

Green Infrastructure Practices on Campus

Rain Garden/Bioswale/Bioretention >>>

Among the most prevalent types of BMP's on campus. These practices are designed to collect runoff and promote groundwater recharge and evapotranspiration through deep-rooted plants and engineered soil. These practices can take many forms and shapes.

<<< Porous/Permeable Pavement

Pervious pavements help achieve several stormwater management goals including a reduction in impervious surfaces, and total suspended solid (TSS) removal. Permeable pavements should be designed in accordance with WDNR Technical Specification 1008.

Green Roof >>>

Green roofs have been implemented on campus via extensive (shallow) and intensive (deeper) systems. They are best when multiple benefits can be gained; not only stormwater management and heating/cooling but also visual enjoyment for building users.

<<< Detention Basin/Stormwater Pond

These traditional stormwater management facilities are highly effective at treating TSS, but are limited in potential due to space requirements. Smaller footprint BMP's that treat pollutants at the source rather than the end of pipe are preferred.

Cisterns >>>

As buildings become progressively more sustainable, water will become part of the larger picture. Capture and beneficial reuse should be considered in the context of project budget, current codes, and educational value.

<<< Underground Detention Systems

Detention systems work as an integral part of the storm sewer system to provide a temporary storage area for excess urban stormwater. Runoff is stored and discharged over time whenever runoff inflow exceeds the predetermined discharge rate.