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Focus on Sustainability Water Infiltration and Improved Soil Carbon Storage

Water infiltration replenishes groundwater and is a normal part of healthy hydrology. Also, undisturbed soils store carbon, and carbon depleted soils are less productive for food value and have less infiltration capacity. In the face of climate change and the move toward more resilient practices, both green infrastructure and regenerative agricultural practices offer the same effect: they improve the soil’s ability to infiltrate water and store carbon. In this presentation, Ann English will explore strategies for increasing the carbon storage capacity of soil, including adding biochar, for increasing both carbon and infiltration capacities. She will also look at techniques for restoring degraded and eroded lands through planting and mulching.

Ann English, PLA, ASLA, LEED® AP BD+C is the RainScapes Program Manager for the Montgomery County, MD Department of Environmental Protection. Under her direction, the RainScapes program has developed its incentive program into a model that others have copied. The incentive program is based on three elements: clear technical guidance, diligent data management, and excellent customer service. The program has right sized its rebate structure and streamlined its application process and grown to greatly expand the amount of land converted to manage stormwater using RainScapes practices. A key component of RainScapes practices is the improvement of local site hydrology with a focus on native plants and improving infiltration capacity through planting and working with in situ soils to achieve runoff reduction goals. An ongoing effort is being made to evaluate practices as they relate to climate change, carbon storage, carbon footprint reduction. Ann is both a designer and teacher who has worked in the private, non-profit, and governmental sectors. She is passionate about plants, and how to design and evaluate plant performance in the environments in which they are planted.

This presentation is part of the Focus on Sustainability Webinar series: a collaboration of the Ecological Landscape Alliance, Chesapeake Conservation Landscaping Council, Deep Roots Kansas City, ReScape California, and the American Public Gardens Association. This presentation is eligible for for APLD, NOFA AOLCP, and MCLP CEUs. 

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