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As a non-resident fellow with the Brookings Institute, I have the honor of collaborating with some of the best policy minds in the country. A recent piece by my colleagues Joe Kane and Ranjitha Shivaram, “As flood risks intensify, stormwater utilities offer a more resilient solution” offered compelling insights on the regional variation in how stormwater is approached. Being a relatively new resident of Minnesota, I was surprised to see that it leads the… Read More

When WEFTEC descends, bringing up to 25,000 people and six football fields worth of exhibits, it’s hard for a city not to notice that water geeks are in town.  But in recent years, organizers have begun to ask the question “What’s left after we go?” Undoubtedly we leave tons of landfill material behind, much of which could be avoided, but that’s another blog for another time. On a more positive note, the water industry’s… Read More

We’ve lived in our house nearly fifteen years, which is the exact amount of time that I’ve wanted to make our driveway smaller and my garden larger.  Previous owners expanded the driveway to make for better basketball, something my sons appreciated when we first arrived.  But given that the driveway is in the sunniest portion of our Wisconsin yard, through the years I’ve been slowly encroaching on that space with an expanding… Read More

Last Friday I, along with about a dozen others affiliated with The Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, was treated to a tour of some of Madison’s stormwater control projects, hosted by Greg Fries, the principle engineer for the City of Madison’s Storm and Sanitary Sewer Section.  I’ve seen a lot of rain gardens in my day, but I was especially interested in hearing from Greg and seeing… Read More

Fall is always a busy season which, for me, generally includes a disorienting amount of travel and meetings, all of which is intensified by the exciting conversations and insightful people I meet along the way. Fall 2012 is no exception, with this year’s season kicking off in late September with a White House convening entitled “Municipal Stormwater Infrastructure: Going from Grey to Green.” The all-day meeting of about 80-100 people focused on… Read More

I recently returned from one of those magical summer vacations, this one catalyzed by the goal of reconnecting with Ingrid and Signe, our exchange student ‘daughters’, in their home countries of Norway and Denmark.  I’m embarrassed to say that, with our family’s hectic schedules, the only advance planning we did focused on fundamentals like plane tickets and passports. The rest of our research was done literally ‘on the fly’, hovering over the Atlantic… Read More

I’ve had the pleasure and fortune to spend my summer working at the Johnson Foundation, where for the last two months I’ve accumulated a great cache of hands-on learning experiences to take with me when I go. But last week I was able to take experiential learning to a new level when the subject of a Wingspread Briefing, stormwater, came literally flooding into my life and home. On Wednesday the foundation hosted… Read More

On July 15th, 2010 I had the opportunity to address the White House’s Interagency Climate Change Adaptation Task Force during their meeting in Chicago. Here are my remarks, based entirely on the input we’ve heard through The Johnson Foundation Freshwater Forum: Good afternoon, and thank you Chair Sutley and members of the task force for the opportunity to speak to you. I’d like to first commend you for taking on this critical issue of… Read More