‘Sunday Scientist’ explores stormwater management

Street flooding from stormwater runoff in a new housing development.
Street flooding from stormwater runoff in a new housing development.

April showers bring May flowers — and sometimes floods, destruction and contamination of the water people depend on. On April 21, the University of Nebraska State Museum's "Sunday with a Scientist" program will explore stormwater management.

The "Running Rain: Keep it Clean! Slow it Down! Soak it In!" event is 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. in Morrill Hall. The event will feature hands-on activities and demonstrations led by UNL researchers.

Stormwater runoff is water from rain or melting snow that does not soak into the ground. It flows from rooftops, streets, sidewalks, bare soil, sloped lawns and other areas. As it flows, this runoff can collect and transport soil particles, miscellaneous items and various pollutants. While rain is often welcome during a drought, it has the ability cause major damage when if it moves quickly into storm drains, sewer systems, and drainage ditches.

The researchers will showcase ways in which UNL researchers are working to reduce stormwater runoff and improve water community in communities.

Activities will include: holding a "cloud" in your hand; taking photos with the "Stormwater Sleuth;" pretending to be a water droplet that picks up pollutants; making a watershed out of paper and see how water and pollutants flow; viewing living examples of rain garden plants; and how to construct a rain barrel kit.

Participants can also register to win a rain barrel kit.

Presenters from UNL will include: Kelly A. Feehan, Extension educator – horticulture; Thomas G. Franti, associate professor, biological systems engineering and Extension surface water management engineer; Bobbi A. Holm, Extension educator – stormwater management; Katie A. Pekarek, Extension educator – stormwater management; Steven N. Rodie, associate professor, agronomy and horticulture and Extension landscape horticulture specialist; David P. Shelton, professor, biological systems engineering and Extension agricultural engineer; and Patrick J. Walsh, graduate research assistant, biological systems engineering.

For more information on stormwater management, go to http://water.unl.edu/stormwater.

For more information about "Sunday with a Scientist," go to http://www.museum.unl.edu.