Ryerson Conservation Area Visitor’s Center

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Problem: The Ryerson Conservation Area Visitor’s Center is located within 1,000 feet of the Des Planes River and within 75 feet of the base flood elevation and ADID wetlands. The challenge was to provide an ecologically sustainable approach to managing stormwater run-off from the developed area of the site and to prevent harmful impacts of pollution on the surrounding natural areas.

Solution: The project included a 100 car porous asphalt pavement parking lot, rain garden and four bioswales. A reservoir course below the parking lot facilitates infiltration and provides temporary detention, thereby reducing the amount of site disturbances required to construct detention basins. Parking lot islands or vegetated bioswales, were designed to infiltrate and carry stormwater run-off. Flood tolerant vegetation was incorporated to provide shade and reduce heat island effects. A rain garden, a depressed are planted with native flood-tolerant species, was constructed to collect stormwater and facilitate slow ground infiltration.