'Green infrastructure' could prevent flooding, beautify your community

There is growing interest in protecting and creating wetlands in New Brunswick as a flood-control tool, according to the head of conservation delivery for the Atlantic arm of Ducks Unlimited.

Man-made systems used to capture, treat stormwater water runoff

Adam Campbell of Ducks Unlimited says a naturalized stormwater pond, like the one pictured, can be an effective flood-control measure and enjoyable urban green space. (Ducks Unlimited)

There is growing interest in protecting and creating wetlands in New Brunswick as a  flood-control tool, according to the head of conservation delivery for the Atlantic arm of Ducks Unlimited.

Adam Campbell says an emerging shift to "green infrastructure" not only alleviates the impact of floods and heavy-rain events but establishes an enjoyable green space in urban centres.

Green infrastructure refers to man-made systems that mimic natural environments, like stormwater ponds, and capture and filter water runoff.

"It's capitalizing on these services that those natural features provide," Campbell told Information Morning Moncton.

"We've lost some over the years and now we're recognizing they do some wonderful things for us."

Adam Campbell is head of conservation delivery for Ducks Unlimited in the Atlantic Region. 8:05

Ducks Unlimited is a leader in wetland conservation — a mission that proved difficult for years when development outpaced their ability to protect the natural habitats. Campbell said provincial and municipal policies have evened the playing field, and now the organization can focus on protection while also taking on new projects to make up for historical losses.

As flooding and rain events increase in both frequency and severity, governments are keen to find solutions to help mitigate the issue, he said.

"There's no better way to do that than with the natural systems that do that already," he said.

Municipal projects

The City of Moncton and the Southeast Regional Service Commission have both been active with green infrastructure projects — in particular naturalized stormwater ponds that swell during a heavy-rain event and slowly release the water.

Campbell said instead of the ponds releasing all the water, the naturalized ones retain a certain volume.

"Along with that water level we create a terrace and wetland habitat," he said.

Although not providing any figures, he said protecting wetlands "doesn't cost very much" and the cost to a municipality of developing green infrastructure is offset by increasing nearby property values and limiting water damage.

With files from Information Morning Moncton