Overview

The toolset was initially developed and applied using state funding and collaborations with the cities of San Mateo and San Jose. The initial phase involved developing the locator tool and testing and applying it in the two city areas and then developing and applying the modeling and optimization tools in San Jose. The focus of these two pilot applications was on the priority development areas within the two cities. Now with funding from the USEPA water quality improvement fund, we are continuing to work with San Jose to expand the tool application and to further explore the PCB load reductions associated with optimal GI scenarios. SFEI is also working with the cities of Sunnyvale and Oakland to explore ways to optimize PCB load reduction, applying the locator tool in a collaboration with ABAG to explore feasible locations for GI along the East Bay corridor from Fremont to Pinole and Hercules, and working exploring PCB load reduction potential in the greater Richmond area and the development of a pilot scale GreenPlan-IT Tracker Tool through a collaboration with the City of Richmond and Contra Costa County. A case study report on these new tool applications will be presented in 2017.

The following high-level overview introduces you to the various parts of the toolset.

GIS Site Locator Tool

What is the GIS Site Locator Tool?

The GIS Site Locator Tool is a flexible planning level tool, within the Green Plan-IT Toolkit, to aid municipal planners with strategic Green Infrastructure (GI) implementation at the watershed scale.  The tool can be used to create custom maps that identify and rank potential GI locations.  The tool incorporates many regional, publicly available data layers and has built in flexibility to add local data layers to best identify suitable locations and rankings of GI.  The site locator tool has end-user flexibility with access to the tool’s engine resulting in an iterative tool that can be fine-tuned as additional local data, or data with better resolution, become available.

What can the GIS Site Locator Tool do?

The GIS Site Locator Tool allows the user to create custom outputs for their municipality and allows for multiple levels of refinement of outputs based on available local data. Local GIS data can be added to the Tool to increase the Tool’s delivery of priority GI locations. The tool can create maps of suitable locations for different GI types. The GIS Site Locator Tool allows for custom ranking of local and regional layers according to local priorities and municipal or County plans.  Suitable GI locations are distinguished by both private and public designation.  The tool also has flexibility to remove unsuitable areas for GI placement consideration, such as riparian or wetland areas, by adding exclusion buffers to the data layers.

Who should use the Site Locator Tool?

The GIS Site Locator Tool is designed for city and County planners to organize and synthesize available data for planning level efforts.  The Tool outputs, in combination with other local knowledge such as flood prone areas, areas for redevelopment, educational and funding opportunities can be used to identify and plan for optimized GI placement.

How does the GIS Site Locator Tool work?

Siting Tool Workflow SVG

Iteration 9 Model Refinement 8 Site Visit 7 Public ERASE Layers buffer(ft) Building Footprints 0 Wetlands 0 Knockout Analysis 6 Tool Outputs For each LID type: Public and Private Ranked Locations Combined Ranked Locations selected LID type Google Earth Fil es Public and private ranked locations Combined ranked locations Shapefiles Google Earth files Summary table Private UNION Ownership Analysis SM_Public Public = 1 Query 5 Layer weight Factor weight Priority Layer LID Rank 1:nf local development 1:nl Priority Development Areas 1 1:nl Capital Improvement Projects 1 1:nl Recently retrofitted streets 0 1:nl Proximity to storm drains 1 1:nf Water Quality 1:nl Pollutant loading 1 1:nl Proximity to wetlands, streams 1 1:nl Areas of known flooding -1 1:nf Community Needs Conservation 1:nl 1 1:nl Park and open space deficits 1 1:nl Population density 1 1:nl High crime areas 1 1:nf Local Opportunities and Constraints Analysis 4 UNION 1:nl -1 Priority Habitat/biodiversity areas Connectivity / linkages INTERSECT 3 Location Type (1/0) LID 1 LID 2 LID 5 Wide Streets 0 1 1 Wide Sidewalks 0 1 1 Pedestrian Streets 1 1 1 Uncovered Parking Lots 1 0 1 Publicly owned open space Locations Analysis X LID1: BIOR X LID2: SWWT LID3: WTPD LID4: PRPV X LID5: VGSW X LID6: INFT LID Best suitability polygons (1/0) 2 Regional Base Analysis Prep work: Goals, Data, local expertise 1 Tool Structure 1. Prep Work Before running the tool, it is important to: ● Identify the goals of the planning effort ● Gather available data and determine what layers to use ● Determine weight of each data layer ● Identify local expertise required for interpreting the Tool output ● Identify the Tool modules to be included in the analysis Note: It is important to understand that the scale, accuracy and quality of the input data determines the scale, accuracy and quality of the final outputs from the tool. 2. Regional Base Analysis If The Regional Base Analysis is checked in the user interface, then a layer that identifies the most suitable locations for each LID type will intersect with all other layer, excluding possible locations outside of that area. The Base Analysis LID layers identify the most suitable areas using categorical weighted overlay of depth to groundwater, land use, liquefaction risk, hydrologic soil type, and percent slope. 3. Locations Analysis The Location analysis takes layers identified as possible locations for LID and assigns them for suitable LID types. For example it may identify side street parking as possible locations for bioretention but not for a wet pond. Other possible locations include road medians, sidewalk planters, parks, open spaces, vacant lots etc. These possible location layers also indicate if they are by nature public or privately owned locations. 4. Local Opportunities and Constraints Analysis The Local Opportunities and Constraints Analysis unions potential locations identified with a ranking layer that is developed based on the Opportunities and Constraints table which weights and ranks different layers within weighted priorities and factors, such as Water Quality, Development Plans, Installation Feasibility and Community Visibility. These factors are completely customizable and one can add or remove them based on their local priorities and information availability. 5. Ownership Analysis The Ownership Analysis applies a public or private ownership value to each possible location. This allows for separate public and private outputs to be generated from the LID Site Locator Tool. 6. Knockout Analysis The Knockout Analysis removes areas where LID is not a possible location by erasing them from the output. Possible knockout layers include wetlands, other natural habitats or water features, and building foot prints. 7. Site Visit The Outputs should then be reviewed by either visiting locations or remotely checking (eg. in Google Earth) locations that are ranked as highly ranked locations as well as low-ranked locations in order to ensure that the tool is ranking possible LID locations appropriately. 8. Model Refinement Based on review of the LID Site Locator Tool’s outputs, either via remote sensing or by site visits the user may choose to adjust their weighting or ranking or even refine their possible location layers in order to create a more refined output for the LID Site Locator Tool. 9. Iteration Through Iteration and refinement of parameters in the data tables one can refine the outputs to create a useful planning level map to help identify and prioritize different possible locations for Low Impact Development.

1. Prep Work:

Before running the tool, it is important to:

  • Identify the goals of the planning effort
  • Gather available data and determine what layers to use
  • Determine weight of each data layer
  • Identify local expertise required for interpreting the Tool output
  • Identify the Tool modules to be included in the analysis
Note: It is important to understand that the scale, accuracy and quality of the input data determines the scale, accuracy and quality of the final outputs from the tool.

2. Regional Base Analysis

If The Regional Base Analysis is checked in the user interface, then a layer that identifies the most suitable locations for each LID type will intersect with all other layer, excluding possible locations outside of that area. The Base Analysis LID layers identify the most suitable areas using categorical weighted overlay of depth to groundwater, land use, liquefaction risk, hydrologic soil type, and percent slope.

3. Locations Analysis

The Location analysis takes layers identified as possible locations for LID and assigns them for suitable LID types. For example it may identify side street parking as possible locations for bioretention but not for a wet pond. Other possible locations include road medians, sidewalk planters, parks, open spaces, vacant lots etc. These possible location layers also indicate if they are by nature public or privately owned locations.

4. Local Opportunities and Constraints Analysis

The Local Opportunities and Constraints Analysis unions potential locations identified with a ranking layer that is developed based on the Opportunities and Constraints table which weights and ranks different layers within weighted priorities and factors, such as Water Quality, Development Plans, Installation Feasibility and Community Visibility. These factors are completely customizable and one can add or remove them based on their local priorities and information availability.

5. Ownership Analysis

The Ownership Analysis applies a public or private ownership value to each possible location. This allows for separate public and private outputs to be generated from the LID Site Locator Tool.

6. Knockout Analysis

The Knockout Analysis removes areas where LID is not a possible location by erasing them from the output. Possible knockout layers include wetlands, other natural habitats or water features, and building foot prints.

7. Site Visit

The Outputs should then be reviewed by either visiting locations or remotely checking (ex. View in google earth) locations that are ranked as highly ranked locations as well as low ranked locations in order to ensure that the tool is ranking possible LID locations appropriately.

8. Model Refinement

Based on review of the LID Site Locator Tool’s outputs, either via remote sensing or by site visits the user may choose to adjust their weighting or ranking or even refine their possible location layers in order to create a more refined output for the LID Site Locator Tool.

9. Iteration

Through Iteration and refinement of parameters in the data tables one can refine the outputs to create a useful planning level map to help identify and prioritize different possible locations for Low Impact Development.

Modeling Tool

Description

The GreenPlan-IT Modeling Tool is a spatially distributed hydrologic and water quality model that simulates watershed processes and LID performance. Built upon the publicly available EPA Storm Water Management Model (SWMM) version 5.0, the modeling tool can be used to establish baseline conditions as well as evaluate relative effectiveness of implementing LID across different areas within a watershed, based on the potential of each LID type for reducing contaminant loads and runoff volume.  Within the GreenPlan-IT toolkit, the Modeling Tool serves as a bridge between the LID Site Locator Tool and the Optimization Tool - it takes potential LID sites identified through the LID Site Locator Tool as constraints and simulates the performance of various LID combinations created by the Optimization Tool.  

Capacities

The Modeling Tool can simulate the generation, fate and transport of stormwater runoff and associated pollutants from landscape, as well as resulting flow and pollutant loading reduction as they pass through various LIDs. Municipalities can use the tool to 1) establish the baseline conditions through the characterization of the modeled watershed before any new management activities are implemented; 2) identify high-yield runoff and pollution areas; and 3) more importantly, quantify any reduction made from LID implementation by performing before and after LID simulation.  SWMM 5 is currently capable of simulating the hydrologic performance of seven types of LIDs.  As with most modeling exercises, the model is calibrated using local data before it can be used by municipalities to simulate LID scenarios for their local watersheds.

Applications

The Modeling Tool is intended for use by city engineers and planners to develop and evaluate various management scenarios at the watershed scale, alone or within the Toolkit.  The model outputs provide quantitative information on flow, pollutant loading, and reductions from management actions for studied watersheds, and can assist in developing watershed master plans or city and county general plans for stormwater runoff or pollutant control.  

 

 

Optimization Tool

Description

The Optimization Tool is intended to assist stormwater managers with selecting the best LID placement alternatives among the many options available that satisfy user-defined management targets. It uses an evolutionary optimization technique (Non-dominated Sorting Genetic Algorithm II) to evaluate the benefits (runoff and pollutant load reductions) and costs associated with various LID implementation scenarios (location, number, type, and size of LIDs) and identify the most cost-effective options for achieving desired flow mitigation and pollutant reduction at minimum cost.  The tool incorporates site information from the GIS Site Locator Tool and local cost information, and is interacted with the modeling tool during the search process in an iterative and evolutionary fashion to systematically generate viable LID scenarios and compare their performance.

Capacities

The Optimization Tool provides critically needed support to stormwater managers at all levels for selection and placement of LID at strategic locations in urbanized watersheds for stormwater runoff or pollutant control.  The tool develops and evaluates alternative management scenarios and identifies the optimal combination of LID location, type, size to meet specific management goals on the basis of cost and effectiveness. The tool generates a cost- and pollutant-reduction effectiveness relationship that provides quantitative information on a range of optimal LID solutions for achieving various reduction goals at minimum costs to facilitate decision making.  The outputs of the tool can be overlaid with the LID opportunity maps produced by the Site Locator Tool to create a map /tabular output of suitable and most effective locations for LID implementation for achieving specific reduction objectives.  

Applications

The Optimization Tool is designed to help local watershed planning agencies to develop stormwater management plans and coordinate watershed-scale investments to meet their program needs. It is intended for knowledgeable users familiar with LIDs and the technical aspects of watershed modeling. The tool outputs, combined with other site specific information and management requirements, can be used to develop watershed-scale Green Infrastructure master plans.

 

GreenPlan-IT Tracker Tool

GreenPlan-IT Tracker Tool

At a very basic level, the GreenPlan-IT Tracker is a web-based tool that accounts for the impact of implemented Green Infrastructure within a municipal, county-wide, or user-defined footprint. It is an extensible custom database designed to record, display, and exchange data regarding currently installed green infrastructure sites.

Adding Value to the Collected Information

The Tracker is more than a simple database. It helps assess performance of the installations as well.
 
The GreenPlan-IT Tracker uses the same SWMM modeling engine as that build into the GreenPlan-IT Modeler to assemble a profile of Green Infrastructure installations and determine their collective effectiveness in reducing stormwater run-off, as well as attenuate PCB and mercury pollution. In this way, the GreenPlan-IT Tracker reports on the location and details of GI implementation while also reporting their cumulative programmatic outcomes.

Product Details

  • Records and display information about GI implementation for individual sites
  • Aggregates information across multiple sites within a city or area of interest
  • Generates standardized reports to track progress for regulatory compliance
  • Calculates effectiveness based on modeling outputs
  • Illustrates the broader lifecycle of GI implementation and outcomes using score cards and key information

Current Status

The tool will be released for the City of Richmond in August 2017. Until then, it is being tested with select project stakeholders.