University of Connecticut

CLEAR keeping track of stormwater on UConn Storrs Campus

Storrs Hall green roof

Storrs Hall green roof

Photo and article by Mike Dietz for UConn Extension
Although UConn is in the midst of a pastoral setting in the quiet corner of northeast Connecticut, we sometimes have problems like a big city. This is because the buildings, roads, parking lots and sidewalks that make up the core of campus do not allow water to pass through into the ground. Instead, rainfall is directed into storm drains and ends up heading towards either the Fenton River to the east, or Eagleville Brook to the west. All of the excess stormwater and pollutants that get picked up along the way cause problems with the aquatic life in these rivers. The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection has identified Eagleville Brook as impaired. UConn Extension’s Center for Land Use Education and Research (CLEAR) has been involved in efforts to reduce the impacts of all of these impervious surfaces on Eagleville Brook. Green infrastructure practices like bioretention, green roofs and pervious pavements have been installed around campus to help restore a more “natural” hydrologic balance. A Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) has been established for the brook, with impervious cover as the “pollutant” (read more about this project at An interactive map tour with photos and videos is available online here.

Bioretention at Oak Hall

Bioretention at Oak Hall

With all of the changes taking place on campus, keeping track of the actual impacts of the green infrastructure implementation is not an easy task. Traditional water monitoring could be done, but this is very expensive and time consuming. Recently, UConn Extension Educator Michael Dietz at CLEAR created a unique system to estimate the benefits of the green infrastructure on campus. This tracking system uses real precipitation data from UConn and estimates the amount of stormwater treated by each practice installed, given how big the practice is, when it was installed and the condition of the practice. This allows for a running total of the volume of stormwater treated. Through June 2014, more than 42 MILLION gallons of stormwater have been treated! To put this in perspective, this is enough to fill more than 63 Olympic sized swimming pools!

This information is being used to track progress on the TMDL, along with other regulatory obligations between UConn and DEEP. Dietz plans to continue this tracking, along with other monitoring he and Jack Clausen perform on Eagleville Brook (real-time data available here).

Photo and article by Mike Dietz for UConn Extension

Saturday, September 27: Faces of the UConn Pre-Vet Club Dog Wash

Check out new guide to reptiles and amphibians

reptiles-amphibeansDid you know that many species of reptiles bromate, or hibernate, during the winter? This is because reptiles and amphibians are cold-blooded and depend on heat from the sun in order to stay warm. Therefore, before the reptiles and amphibians in your area begin bromating, make sure you grab a copy of Reptiles & Amphibians, head out into nature and see which species you can spot!

Reptiles & Amphibians, by James Kavanagh and Raymond Leung, is part of the Pocket Naturalist series. The guide is a compact 4” x 8” size and is conveniently laminated, making it perfect to bring out into the field. It contains colored pictures of more than 115 familiar species of reptiles and amphibians, including salamanders, frogs, toads, turtles, lizards, snakes and crocodiles, for easy identification. Reptiles and Amphibians is now available from CAHNR’s Communications Resource Stores for only $6.95.

For those interested in reptiles and amphibians specifically in the New England area, check out New England Wildlife. This is another Pocket Naturalist guide of the same dimensions and price as Reptiles & Amphibians. It contains colored pictures of more than 140 species of wildlife in New England.

Our Stores. Shop online ( or in the physical Communications Resource Store (room 4, Ratcliffe Hicks Building, 1380 Storrs Rd., Storrs campus, next to the UConn Dairy Bar) for these and other Pocket Naturalists Guides. Store hours are Monday through Friday, 8 AM to 4 PM. The Store accepts cash, check, MasterCard and Visa. Handicapped parking and access are available.

by Lauren O’Malley

Historical image of the week

Men in greenhouse with plants

If you can provide any information related to this photo or program, please let us know in the comments.

Meet undergraduate Lauren Sheldon


Lauren Sheldon

Lauren Sheldon didn’t have to travel far from her hometown of Storrs, CT to find the right program for her. As a student in the CAHNR athletic training program, Lauren has had the opportunity to work with UConn sports teams and conduct innovative research. Here is what she said in an interview.

What attracted you to UConn? At first, I did not want to go to UConn because it was so close to my Storrs hometown and my E.O. Smith High School alma mater. However, I was really interested in UConn’s great athletic training program. I decided to live on campus so that I could feel like I was away from home and have a full college experience.

Why did you choose your particular major? During high school, I had to see an athletic trainer for knee problems. It was really helpful, and it seemed like an interesting and rewarding job. I also worked in a physical therapy clinic. After these two experiences, I saw the variety and excitement in the field of athletic training, and I knew that was what I wanted to do. I applied to the program during the fall of my sophomore year and was accepted. (more…)