In collaboration with The Russell Family Foundation (TRFF), Sightline Institute is working with a small, focused, professional network of 20-25 regional champions who work on low-impact development and related green solutions to stormwater runoff. We call it a “learning cohort,” and the group primarily includes city, county, and state stormwater experts—as well as a few representatives from the private and nonprofit sectors.

The goal is to accelerate progress on regional stormwater projects by building support for the most effective advocates of green solutions.

This page is meant to serve as clearinghouse for participants to access recent event materials and information.

Sightline’s current research on Curbing Toxic Runoff:

Learning Cohort Events 2014

July 17, 2014—Finding solutions to NPDES permit asset management requirements

Agenda (PDF)

  • Pierce County:A performance-standard based community stormwater asset management program (PDF)

Dan Wrye, Water Quality Manager
John Collins
, Permit Management Unit Supervisor
Travis Nelson
, Inspection Unit Supervisor

Pierce County Public Works and Utilities, SWM

  •  Seattle Public Utilities: Efforts to integrate Green Stormwater Infrastructure (GSI) practices into Seattle’s asset management program (PDF)

Tracy Tackett, Green Stormwater Infrastructure Program Manager
Drena Donofrio, GSI O&M Manager
Joe Lalley, Drainage & Wastewater (DWW) GIS Data Maintenance Team Lead

Seattle Public Utilities

March 20, 2014—Biofiltration Soils:  Using the right mix to optimize bioswale performance

Agenda (PDF)

Presented by:

Curtis Hinman, Herrera, Inc.
Scott Struck
Geosyntec Consultants

  • Evolution of Bioretention Studies in Western WA & Primer on Hydraulics and Hydrology of Media Systems
  • Primer on Water Quality Treatment
  • Performance Results

Learning Cohort Events 2013

November 14, 2013—Lessons Shared: San Francisco’s Watershed Program & City of Portland Green Asset Management

Agenda (PDF)

  • From Grey to Green Streets: Agency Tools for Institutionalizing Coordination (PDF)

Sarah Minick, San Francisco Public Utilities Commission –
Urban Watershed Management Program – Wastewater Enterprise

  •  Green Asset Management: City of Portland – Bureau of Environmental Services (PDF)

Maggie Skenderian, Johnson Creek Watershed Manager
Nancy Hendrickson, Columbia Slough Watershed Manager
Henry Stevens, Green Streets Project Manager

  • A Balanced Approach to Implementing Green Infrastructure: San Francisco’s Urban Watershed Assessment Program (PDF)

Rachel Kraai, San Francisco Public Utilities Commission –
Urban Watershed Management Program – Wastewater Enterprise

August 13, 2013—Green Infrastructure Planning and Implementation: Lessons Learned and Confessions Shared

Agenda (PDF)

  • Lessons from the Field: Siting, Design, and Public Engagement Strategies to Ensure the Social Feasibility of LID Right-of-Way Retrofits in Established Neighborhoods (PDF)

Pam Emerson, Green Stormwater Infrastructure Policy Advisor – Seattle Public Utilities
Shanti Colwell, Environmental Engineer – Seattle Public Utilities
Gretchen Muller, Senior Associate – Cascadia Consulting

  • Local LID efforts: Regional highlights and project lessons shared

Pierce County Surface Water Management: Dawn Anderson, Civil Engineer—LID Specialist
Tulalip Tribes Natural Resources: Val Streeter, Stormwater Planner (PPTX)

  • Confessions of LID Designers: An Honest Critique of Design Choices for Successful Implementation (PDF)

Dustin Atchison, Water Resources Engineer – CH2M HILL
Nate Cormier, Principal Landscape Architect – SvR Design
Alice Lancaster, Senior Civil Engineer – Herrera Environmental Consultants

March 20, 2013—Green Stormwater Retrofits: How to identify and prioritize retrofit projects and act on them.

Agenda (PDF)

  • Green Stormwater Infrastructure Retrofits: Lessons from the Chesapeake Watershed (PDF), Cecilia Lane, Chesapeake Stormwater Network
  • Retrofit Plan Development: Kitsap County Case Studies & Design Roundtable

Christopher W. May, PhD—Senior Program Director, Kitsap County Public Works, Surface and Stormwater Management (SSWM): Kitsap County Stormwater Retrofit Plan (PDF)
Alice Lancaster, PE—Senior Engineer, Herrera Environmental Consultants: Silverdale Retrofit Plan (PDF)
Robin Kirschbaum, PE, LEED AP—Stormwater Lead, HDR Engineering: North Kitsap Retrofit Plan (PDF)
Greg Giraldo, PE, LEED APSenior Engineer, SvR Design Company: Manchester Retrofit Plan (PDF)

Learning Cohort Events 2012

October 18, 2012—Maintenance of Green Stormwater Solutions

Agenda (PDF)

  • Misunderestimating Maintenance: An empirical approach to quantify maintenance expectations for BMPs (PDF), James Houle, Outreach Coordinator & Program Manager for UNH Stormwater Center

Resources from the University of New Hampshire Stormwater Center:

UNH Stormwater Center 2012 Biennial Report
UNHSC Maintenance Forms

  • Green Infrastructure-O&M (PDF), Peg Staeheli, President and Principal, SvR Design Company
  • Adaptive Management in an Urban Environment (PDF), Denis O’Brien, Natural Resources Ecologist, City of Portland’s Bureau of Environmental Services Green Streets Program
  • Post-meeting Summary Notes (PDF)

June 20, 2012—Building Support for Green Stormwater Solutions

Agenda (PDF)

  • Portland’s Path and Lessons Learned (PDF), Anne Nelson, Environmental Program Coordinator, City of Portland; Ivy Dunlap, Landscape Architect, City of Portland’s Sustainable Stormwater Management Division
  • Portland Resources:

Tabor to the River survey I report
Tabor to the River survey II report (follow up with subset of survey I respondents)
Tabor to the River newsletter – 5th annual, received by 17,000 in program area
1% for Green program information
Green Street web page with links
Grey to Green brochure

March 14, 2012—Permeable Pavement: Realities, Research, and Experience

Agenda (PDF)

  • Pre-meeting document: Sightline Case Study: Permeable Pavement’s Uncharted Territory (PDF or blog)
  • WSDOT: Permeable Pavement Issues and Challenges (PDF), Jeff Uhlmeyer, State Pavement Engineer, WSDOT
  • Post-meeting Research Product: Fact & Fears: The Promise of Permeable Pavement (PDF or blog)

Interested in learning more about the Learning Cohort? Please contact Meaghan Robbins at