Northampton Designs with Nature to Reduce Storm Damage

Northampton, MA
Key Elements
  • Massachusetts Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) Action Grant project
  • Nature-based stormwater management
  • Green infrastructure

The Northampton Designs with Nature to Reduce Storm Damage project, which is being funded by a Massachusetts Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) Action Grant, involves designing new and retrofitting existing green infrastructure facilities that will manage stormwater with nature-based solutions.

Nitsch provided stormwater planning, green infrastructure design, and civil engineering services to support the design. During the first phase of the project, we worked with City stakeholders to analyze and compare 10 potential sites based on their capacity to mitigate stormwater quantity, increase flood resilience, improve water quality, increase the urban tree canopy, create public recreation areas, and restore wildlife habitat.

In the second phase of the project, Nitsch progressed four of the selected green infrastructure sites through conceptual design and 25% construction documents. We designed site preparation, erosion and sedimentation controls, layout and materials, drainage infrastructure, and planting design.

The Industrial Drive rotary, one of the four locations Nitsch designed for Phase 2, offered a potential opportunity for stormwater retrofitting within an existing vegetated traffic circle. The existing depression was proposed to be modified into a bioretention basin, improving water quality treatment and peak rate mitigation, while protecting the existing tree, enhancing the urban tree canopy, and creating a walking path for employees within the industrial complex.

The stormwater quality and quantity benefits for each site were analyzed throughout the process using hydrologic modeling, which allowed the resilience benefits of each site to be optimized. The final designs also included opportunities for signage to support the city in ongoing public education efforts.

Key Collaborators

Owner: Town of Northampton
Environmental Engineer: GZA GeoEnvironmental