USDA Forest Service

Pacific Southwest Research Station

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Our research demonstrates new ways that trees add value to communities, converting results into financial terms to stimulate more investment in trees.

Pacific Southwest Research Station
800 Buchanan Street
West Annex Building
Albany, CA 94710-0011

(510) 559-6300

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Center for Urban Forest Research

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Have you ever gone outside after a rainstorm and looked around thinking, "where does all this water end up?" Communities across the U.S. are faced with the problem of too much water and not enough places to put it. The expansion of impervious surfaces, such as roads, parking lots, driveways, and buildings, results in heavy flows of stormwater runoff into streams, wetlands, lakes and marine waters.

Computer simulations of deciduous trees in California's Central Valley estimate that for every 1000 trees, stormwater runoff is reduced nearly 1 million gallons - a value of almost $7000. These values are clear evidence of the role trees play in reducing runoff of polluted stormwater and in reducing the need for engineered controls.

Image of rainwater on leaves.

Measuring and Modeling Hydrologic Processes at the Residential Level
The goal of this project is to examine and model stormwater management techniques at the residential level. In collaboration with TreePeople in Los Angeles, we selected two single-family sites in L.A. to evaluate four stormwater management techniques - cisterns, retention/detention basins, swales, and a driveway grate and drywell. By combining these traditional stormwater management techniques with an urban tree canopy that can intercept rainfall, we hope to demonstrate the significant impact that a comprehensive solution will have on rainfall interception, runoff, and landscape water use. This project is a partnership between the USDA Forest Service, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, and the Department of Land, Air, & Water Resources at the University of California, Davis.

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Last Modified: Mar 28, 2013 02:57:01 PM