Maintaining the quality, reliability, and security of our water resources will be one of the defining challenges of this century. Because it is depended upon so completely for food, health, power generation, and economic development, water is in many ways a more critical and less substitutable resource than any other. Greenleaf Advisors has deep experience with water resource management projects for both environmental and social well-being. Our work with the full spectrum of stakeholders, scientists, and policymakers helps to ensure that water resources will meet the needs of a growing world and the challenges of a changing climate.
Our staff and service partners have extensive experience managing and coordinating projects including:
- Supply and demand planning
- Water resource management
- Invasive species control
- Stormwater management
- Nutrient reduction
Innovative Stormwater Management with Opti
OptiRTC, Inc. (Opti) is partnering with Greenleaf Advisors to serve as an extension of its go-to-market team and expand its presence across Illinois. Through this partnership, Greenleaf will assist in bringing Opti’s cloud-based solutions for improved stormwater management to public entities serving communities and commercial landowners in the region. See Opti's case study in Albany, NY (pdf).
Sustainable Water Infrastructure
Greenleaf co-hosted a roundtable of water experts to guide the establishment of a new economic research initiative by Resources for the Future, a Washington, DC based independent institution. The deliberations on urban infrastructure needs focused on the availability of safe, affordable water, and the mitigation of flood risks through improved stormwater management. Issues of governance, fragmentation, equity, and affordability were explored. Greenleaf brings water leadership and partners to this initiative and works with those partners to frame program priorities for RFF’s investigation.
We are currently working to guide the optimization of water resources to develop a strategy for more efficient water allocation in northern Illinois, where some communities face dwindling groundwater supplies.
Healthy Soils for Healthy Waters Initiative
Soil and water research and policy leaders, headed by The Ohio State University with support from Greenleaf Advisors, LLC, and the University of Arkansas launched a workshop and symposium series dedicated to the development of multidisciplinary and whole system management practices for the agricultural lands that impact our nation’s waters. A collaborative multi-year effort, the series has been organized around the development of data-driven, region-specific case studies highlighting Best Management Practices (BMPs) to reduce nutrient exports to water resources.
Nutrient runoff from agricultural fields impacts the integrity of aquatic ecosystems, and the quality of water resources across the country. Nutrient loading from farm activities contributes to annual algal blooms in Great Lakes systems, killing wildlife, polluting drinking water with toxins, and disrupting economic growth.
Research results in the Maumee Basin of Ohio (led by The Ohio State University) and the Walnut Creek watershed in Indiana (led by Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis) demonstrate how gypsum helps sediment and nutrients stay on the land and out of the water – phosphorus concentrations leaving the fields declined by as much as 50%.
Greenleaf, alongside our research and industry partners, helped inform NRCS Conservation Practice Standard Code 333 on the use of gypsum as a soil amendment. Through coordinated outreach work, Greenleaf has educated policymakers and the community members to support beneficial reuse of this valuable tool.
Perennial Biomass to Reduce Nitrates
Agricultural production in the Midwest has been associated with nutrient resource losses through water, causing eutrophication in Great Lakes and Mississippi River watersheds, local impairment of drinking water sources, and Gulf Hypoxia.
Greenleaf provided communications, development, and outreach for Argonne National Laboratory on its agricultural research in Illinois where they studied the growth of native grasses in otherwise unproductive farmland to produce bioenergy crops, thereby reducing nutrient pollutant flows into streams and sequestering greenhouse gases in soils.
Regional Water Supply Planning
Greenleaf assisted the Illinois DNR with jumpstarting its stalled region water supply planning process. We conducted extensive research into the funding models employed by other states to support their regional planning programs and supplied recommendations for the unique legal and political context of the state of Illinois. We also identified and coordinated organizing agencies in water planning regions that had not yet begun the planning process.
Envisioning the Chicago Area Waterway for the 21st Century
Greenleaf Advisors led the outreach and hydrologic analysis to provide effective solutions to the problems caused by invasive species. The wide variety of knowledge provided resulted in a multidisciplinary approach, accommodating both ecological and economic needs.
Sustainable Stormwater Management
Greenleaf Advisors sees managing water resources as a national priority. Along with our partners, we were selected by the Great Lakes Protection Fund because of our expertise in sustainable stormwater management models and market mechanisms.