Students might explore ways of developing and implementing an integrated management of water resources in the Indian Creek Watershed upstream of Greenbelt, Berwyn Heights, and College Park, including the entrepreneurial opportunities for green roofs, green walls, downspout disconnects, rain barrels, rain harvesting, rain gardens, swales, tree canopy enhancements, other greenscaping and other water-retaining methods with a goal of mimicking a forest hydrology for the Indian Creek watershed. Students could study co-benefits related to climate change, energy cost-reductions, aesthetic improvements, property value increase, and economic development and job support, and analyze cost reductions through integration with transportation and other infrastructural improvements (e.g., complete streets, buried power lines, local generation of clean energy).
Students might review ways of developing and implementing an integrated management of water resources in the portion of the Northwest Branch Watershed between New Hampshire Avenue and University Boulevard, including the entrepreneurial opportunities for green roofs, green walls, downspout disconnects, rain barrels, rain harvesting, rain gardens, swales, tree canopy enhancements, other greenscaping and other water-retaining methods with a goal of mimicking a forest hydrology for the Northwest Branch watershed Students could study co-benefits related to climate change, energy cost-reductions, aesthetic improvements, economic benefits, and analyze cost reductions through integration with transportation and other infrastructural improvements (e.g., complete streets, buried power lines, local generation of clean energy).
The Low Impact Development Center proposed a study of Guilford Run on the southern border of campus, with the goal of improving water quality by modernizing stormwater management facilities. The University can help support the development of such a study, and/or otherwise engage in collaboration on the protection and restoration of the Guilford Run Watershed, which flows from Adelphi Road to the Northeast Branch of the Anacostia River.
The University of Maryland created an arboretum on its College Park campus, and there is potential to create a collaboration that creates a larger entity that might encompass off campus communities. Students could examine the value of such an arboretum to surrounding communities and efficiencies of scale in creating joint efforts at preserving and restoring tree canopy. Students could seek to quantify value of the co-benefits of trees, both existing stock and a future ideal canopy for the campus and its surrounding areas. Research could take into account strategic green corridors where trees could provide riparian buffers to protect and restore streams, as well as commercial and transportation routes where arbor could provide shade and enhance the visual surroundings.
Students would also want to identify energy savings potential of properly located trees to reduce heating and cooling costs to buildings, and the potential for increased public safety and health through the reduction of heat islands of highly paved areas. Prince George’s County government is also pursuing tree canopy goals in public schools and other government property, and collaboration could result in synergistic benefits.
The University of Maryland has begun generating solar energy on its College Park campus, and there is a potential for collaboration with Prince George’s County communities for the purpose of increasing the generation or distribution of clean renewable energy. Prince George’s County has a Sustainable Energy Program. Students could explore some aspect of developing a clean energy market in Prince George’s County – including the development of one or more micro-grids, and potentially with the impact of reducing or eliminating dependence upon the larger regional grid. Other aspects to explore are job support of local clean energy generation and other facets of economic benefit.
Chesapeake Bay Trust funded the Environmental Finance Center at the University of Maryland to work with communities to increase pet waste management as a means of reducing the nitrogen load in waters of the Anacostia, Patuxent, Potomac and Chesapeake Bay Watersheds. Students could examine the economic costs and benefits of this program, and potentially look at financing means of expanding or enhancing pet waste management to reduce or eliminate this form of water pollution.
Prince George’s County Public Schools are active in the Maryland Green School Program, with a significant increase in schools qualifying in the past year. The University of Maryland potentially can increase its engagement with these environmental literacy efforts. Smith School students could research the potential economic implications of improved environmental literacy, using a business process to look at cost and benefits.
Students could look into the economic effects of all the public schools surrounding the University of Maryland in College Park becoming Green Schools. It is not certain how to estimate this impact, but if there is a business process that would do such an evaluation it would be of benefit to local communities, as it would help generate support for the effort towards 100% attainment of Green School status.
Prince George’s public schools have a requirement for a certain number of hours of community service for graduating seniors. Students often achieve these hours through community projects that foster sustainability and resilience. Researchers could also examine the impacts of improved participation in community service by public school students, including financial projections for such engagement.
Every school and every building in the immediate vicinity of the University of Maryland is located in a subwatershed of the Anacostia Watershed. If, as a part of Green School certification or otherwise, every Prince George’s County public school in the immediate surrounding area of the University of Maryland were to adopt a local stream, the potential for increased engagement in reduced contamination could be significant. Using available data on stream adoption efforts, students could explore the possible economic impacts of such adoptions on local communities and businesses.