Erin Blasko | July 20, 2019
From an office in a converted former flooring factory southeast of downtown, a team of four student interns is developing stormwater management solutions for the city of South Bend. A graphical user interface will help business owners calculate the cost of “soft” stormwater infrastructure, from permeable pavement to rain gardens. A tutorial will instruct residents and business owners on how to collect and reuse stormwater with rain barrels.
Nearby, a second team is surveying a restored section of Bowman Creek. Stormwater flows into the creek, which flows into the St. Joseph River. Sensors will measure the flow and depth of the creek and communicate with existing sensors upstream, in the sewer system, to prevent flooding and sewer overflows, which foul the river.
Across town, a third team is working to convert as many as six vacant lots into a scattered site tree nursery. The nursery will host as many as 500 native trees, from poplar, red oak and hackberry to Kentucky coffee and buckeye. Once mature, the trees will be planted along medians and boulevards in the city, as well as in parks and on golf courses.
The city expects to save hundreds of dollars per tree compared with the cost of the same trees from a private grower.
Representing dozens of schools, including the University of Notre Dame, the interns are part of the Bowman Creek Educational Ecosystem (BCe2).
Operated by the Center for Civic Innovation at Notre Dame with support from area schools as well as local governments and business and nonprofit organizations, the BCe2 seeks innovative solutions to pressing civic issues in South Bend and Elkhart, from affordable housing and transportation to clean water.
Read more here.