CMRSWC and MassDEP: Public Awareness Through Youth Watershed Education

Project Description:

Stormwater runoff is the leading cause of water pollution in the United States. Signed on April 4, 2016, the updated version of the MS4 Permit requires municipalities to comply with six minimum control measures to address stormwater runoff. The first of those measures is public outreach and education. Municipalities are required to provide education materials about stormwater to four distinct audiences; residential, industry, commercial, and construction. These education materials provide audiences with information on the impact of their actions on stormwater runoff. Our group worked in collaboration with the Central Massachusetts Stormwater Coalition and the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection to create an updated 5th grade watershed curriculum for the communities of Shrewsbury and Holden. This watershed curriculum helped these communities comply with the first minimum control measure in the Municipal Separate Storm Source Systems and the Massachusetts Next Generation Science Standards.


Project Sponsors: 

Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP)- mass dep

The MassDEP is a state environmental agency that is responsible for ensuring clean air and water, and the preservation of wetlands and coastal resources. Also, the MassDEP is the liaison between the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) and the municipalities in Massachusetts.

Central Massachusetts Regional Stormwater Coalition (CMRSWC)-cmrswc logo

The CMRSWC is a coalition of 30 communities across Central Massachusetts helping communities address stormwater management issues. The communities collaborate to meet the requirements of the Municipal Separate Storm Source Systems (MS4) Permit in an efficient and cost-effective manner.

Student Researchers:

Michelle Hull, Mechanical Engineering

Sam Malafronte, Civil Engineering

Victoria Nassar, Mechanical Engineering

Connor Sakowich, Civil Engineering

Project Goal and Objectives:

In collaboration with our sponsors, our goal was to create a new 5th grade Watershed Curriculum, a curriculum encompassing the water cycle, stormwater runoff and the watershed, for the towns of Shrewsbury and Holden that met the new Massachusetts Next Generation Science Standards and complies with the first minimum control measure in the MS4 Permit. To accomplish our goal we completed the following objectives:

Objective one: Develop an understanding of current watershed curriculum, awareness and teaching methods used in elementary schools in Holden and Shrewsbury elementary schools.

Objective two: Gain knowledge of current stormwater education and awareness practices.

Objective three: Use data collected from objectives one and two to create the Watershed Curriculum for use in Shrewsbury and Holden classrooms.

Objective four:  Pilot, evaluate, and refine the Watershed Curriculum for Shrewsbury and Holden classrooms.

Objective five: Develop and present final recommendations.