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Cal Poly Pomona Receives Honorable Mention at EPA’s First-Ever Campus RainWorks Challenge

Release Date: 04/22/2013
Contact Information: Nahal Mogharabi, 213-244-1815,

LOS ANGELES – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today announced the winners of the Campus RainWorks Challenge, a new design challenge created to inspire the next generation of landscape architects, planners and engineers to develop innovative green infrastructure systems that reduce stormwater pollution and support sustainable communities. California State Polytechnic University, located in Pomona, Calif., was recognized as a runner up among small institutions.

The Campus RainWorks Challenge engages students and faculty members at colleges and universities to apply green infrastructure principles and design, foster interdisciplinary collaboration, and increase the use of green infrastructure on campuses across the nation.

Stormwater is one of the most widespread challenges to water quality in the nation. Large volumes of stormwater pollute our nation’s streams, rivers and lakes, posing a threat to human health and the environment and contributing to downstream flooding.

The California State Polytechnic team focused on three priority areas along the campus’ southern periphery: the Agricultural Valley, the Agriscapes Valley, and the South Campus Gateway. The team’s design proposes a system of bioretention ponds, bioswales, percolation wells, and wetlands to meet the design goals of pollutant reduction, runoff reduction, and improving campus connectivity and aesthetic appeal. The goals of the team’s design plan were to address gaps in the campus’ proposed Stormwater Management Plan, reduce pollutant loads and runoff volumes, and to create a more aesthetically appealing landscape with improved pedestrian and bicycle connectivity.

The four winners are the University of Florida, Gainsville (1st prize, large institution), the Illinois Institute of Technology (1st prize, small institution), University of Arizona, Tuscon (2nd prize, large institution), and the Missouri University of Science and Technology (2nd prize, small institution). Teams from Kansas State University, Columbia University, and University of Texas-Arlington were recognized as honorable mentions for their entries.

The challenge received submissions from 218 teams, which were reviewed by more than 30 expert judges from EPA, the American Society of Landscape Architects, the Water Environment Federation, and the American Society of Civil Engineers. The winning teams were selected based on six criteria: analysis and planning; preservation or restoration of natural features; integrated water management; soil and vegetation management; value to campus; and likelihood of implementation.

Green infrastructure helps communities to maintain healthy waters, support sustainable communities, and provide multiple environmental benefits. Green infrastructure captures and filters pollutants by passing stormwater through soils and retaining it on site. Example of effective green infrastructure include green roofs, permeable materials, alternative designs for streets and buildings, trees, rain gardens and rain harvesting systems.

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