RCE North Texas - 2023

Campus Rainworks Design Challenge
Basic Information
Title of project : 
Campus Rainworks Design Challenge
Submitting RCE: 
RCE North Texas
Contributing organization(s) : 
University of Texas at Arlington, Environmental Protection Agency Region 6, City of Arlington, One Architecture Urbanism, Climate Resiliency Consulting, Sherwood Design Engineers
Focal point(s) and affiliation(s)
Meghna Tare
Organizational Affiliation: 
University of Texas at Arlington
Format of project: 
Language of project: 
Date of submission:
Thursday, July 13, 2023
Blue Green Infrastructure
At what level is the policy operating?: 
Geographical & Education Information
United States
Dallas Texas ( Tarrant County)
Address of focal point institution for project: 
The University of Texas at Arlington
701 S. Nedderman Drive
Arlington, TX 76019
Target Audience:
Socioeconomic and environmental characteristics of the area : 
The City of Arlington is located between the cities of Fort Worth and Dallas and forms
a major part of the rapidly-growing metropolitan area, with nearly 400,000 residents
living across its almost 100-square-mile area. It has expanded hand-in-hand with the
university in the decades since World War II. The University of Texas at Arlington is a public research university founded in 1895 which has occupied its current campus in the southern edge of downtown Arlington since its founding. The university traces its roots back to Arlington college in September 1895, and turned into a public junior vocational college called the Arlington State College (ASC) by 1949. It joined the University of Texas system in 1965 to accommodate expansion and the development of the existing campus which was blocked by the
Texas A&M University governing board. As of Fall 2021, Arlington campus enrollment consisted of 45,949 students. Its 420 acre main campus includes the largest branch of public library, city hall, theater Arlington and numerous types of businesses south of the railway line, around which the city of Arlington was established.
Below the campus sits the Barnett shale formation, a natural gas production site. Trading House Creek, a tributary of the Trinity River, runs along the southern portion of the campus. The campus sits within the Trading House Creek watershed , the Johnson Creek watershed, Lower West Fork Trinity River Watershed, and the Trinity River
watershed. The green areas of the campus significantly increased in the 2000s with the creation of Greene Research Quad, the 5 acre Green at College Park, a sunken courtyard at Davis Hall, Brazos Park, and the Davis Street west campus edge.
Description of sustainable development challenge(s) in the area the project addresses: 
Any discussion of green infrastructure planning must utilize an understanding of environmental conditions and
natural systems. Green infrastructure harnesses plant and soil systems and conditions, therefore, to work effectively, planning must take into account climatic conditions, soil characteristics, and location in the watershed, among other factors. Understanding environmental conditions is critical to optimizing the
efficacy of green infrastructure in terms of placement and size.

The Campus RainWorks Challenge program seeks to engage with the next generation of environmental professionals, foster a dialogue about the need for innovative stormwater management techniques and showcase the environmental, economic and social benefits of green infrastructure practices. The EPA-funded pilot project linked all the stakeholders to discuss blue-green infrastructure and water planning on campus and how climate change impacts those plans.

The context of watersheds and drainage flow paths are critical to understand how water conveys through an area, how much water is reaching any one point on campus, and where pollutants might be expected to accumulate on campus. A watershed (i.e. drainage basin, drainage area, catchment) is an area of land where all surface runoff generated within that area drains to one common point. Watersheds can exist on a variety of scales and depend on which common point is selected for analysis. For example, a location in the northwest corner
of campus can be located in a campusscale watershed and simultaneously the Trading House Creek watershed, the
Johnson Creek watershed, the Lower West Fork Trinity River Watershed, and the Trinity River watershed. For the purposes of this analysis, watershed analysis was restricted to campus-scale watersheds.
To understand campus-scale watersheds and their associated drainage patterns, drainage paths of surface runoff and
watersheds were generated with GIS based on a Digital Elevation Model (DEM) obtained from the United States Geological Service’s online database that was generated via LIDAR Satellite data.
Delineated watersheds are based on the topographical patterns of the ground that are represented in the DEM, and not the subsurface stormwater pipe network, but watersheds for pipe networks often align
as stormwater pipe networks usually rely on gravity to convey water. Based on the analysis, UTA is composed
of 36 campus-scale watersheds that all drain to Trading House Creek. Generally, most stormwater that falls within these watersheds is intercepted by storm pipes and drains to the creek at point source
outfalls. These pipe interceptions ultimately still convey water to the Creek, but concentrate the points at
which stormwater drains to the Creek so that the amount of water reaching the creek at any one time is significantly increased, exacerbating water velocity issues and bank erosion. Stormwater within these watersheds that drains to Trading House Creek is additionally not treated of pollutants before reaching the creek system, disrupting water quality for downstream communities and wildlife.
May, 2022
Within the UTA Campus, 83% of the Campus is classified as Impervious Area. The majority of contiguous pervious areas are in locations of previously demolished buildings characterized by heavily compacted soils that inhibit the infiltration of water and is hostile to the majority of ecological character. With this in mind, any future design considerations for the Campus should aim to maximize the amount of pervious area in order to optimize stormwater infiltration, facilitate additional room for habitat and ecology, and also mitigate the urban heat island effect that is exacerbated by heat reflection off impervious surfaces.
1) Establish a framework, goals, and objectives to guide upcoming campus planning and design efforts,
including responding to the climate emergency, addressing climate change impacts, elevating the place of green
infrastructure on campus, and linking it to connectivity, livability, open space design, and environmental quality.
2) Build consensus among campus, City, and community stakeholders around shared goals, values, and opportunities
for watercourse restoration, watershed management and biodiversity, with a focus on Trading House Creek.
3) Establish priorities and direction for future green infrastructure research
and campus projects that are eligible for State or Federal funding.
4) Identify opportunities for academic research, programs, campus pilot projects, and coursework.
5) Showcase campus leadership and student work on green infrastructure, water planning, and sustainability
projects and efforts to encourage future adaptation and/or implementation.
6) Equip UTA as an Urban Lab for the Dallas- Fort Worth metropolitan region in green infrastructure, climate sensitive design, and sustainability education, research, and implementation.
Activities and/or practices employed: 
The Campus RainWorks Charrette was a day-long event held in October 2022. It brought together UTA campus leadership with faculty, staff, students, and key stakeholders to discuss green infrastructure
and water planning on campus, linking it to climate change, connectivity, livability, open space design and environmental quality. Participants toured the campus, learned about campus leadership as well as recent and ongoing university and City planning efforts and sustainability initiatives, and reviewed RainWorks entries by students as well as their current research on green-blue infrastructure.
Participants took a campus tour to examine landscaping projects. The afternoon sessions included planning for water-course restoration, creek health, watershed management, biodiversity, flood retention, climate change, trails and amenities. Part of what stakeholders built at the charette exercise could be used in developing challenges and goals for the next Campus RainWorks Challenge. UTA CAPPA teams have won the EPA challenge twice and were acknowledged three times with honorable mention awards in the 10-year history of the event.
Working in groups, they explored opportunities for watercourse restoration, watershed management, and biodiversity, with a focus on Trading House Creek and its surroundings. Participants learned
from expert presentations, engaged in small group discussions, identified opportunities and strategies for future campus planning, green infrastructure implementation and education.

*More Details in the Report submitted

Size of academic audience: 
Charrette participants collaboratively identified strategies that leverage green infrastructure for stormwater capture and storage, pollution reduction, urban heat mitigation, ecological restoration,
climate resilience and strengthen the spatial quality, livability, and connectivity of the campus to surrounding areas. They considered ways in which green infrastructure could not only be
compatible with and integrated into the physical campus but could complement academic objectives, deepen connections and partnership between students, faculty, staff, and city stakeholders, and
contribute to UTA’s identity and legacy. This report provides an overview of the campus context for the charrette, documents the ideas that emerged, and explores opportunities for research, campus visioning, implementation, and leadership. The opportunities relate both to day-to-day stormwater management and managing extreme rain and heat
events, linking these to placemaking and connectivity. Drawing on the findings of the charrette, this report elaborates a set of guiding principles for green infrastructure and key opportunities for
UTA in several distinct areas, which can inform campus planning and growth. Investment in green infrastructure can
deliver co-benefits for academic programs, campus capital projects, energy demands, culture and aesthetics, and local mobility. This report also includes resources to complement other planning and strategic
planning and support decision-making for academics, research, facilities, and engagement with the City of Arlington and the State of Texas, specifically:
• A strategic green infrastructure framework with guiding principles and a structure for designing, implementing, and maintaining green infrastructure.
• A green infrastructure prioritization matrix, which consolidates technical, ecological, economic, and community considerations to provide a reference and toolkit for future planning. UTA has an opportunity to leverage green
infrastructure planning as it advances its institutional goals and continues to grow its campus. The opportunities, tools, and references contained in this report offer a starting point for ongoing and deepening
engagement in the role of stormwater planning and climate resilience at UTA.
Lessons learned: 
The Campus RainWorks competition represents a continuing source of engagement and motivation for UTA
faculty, facilities staff, and students to advance green infrastructure research, planning, design, and engineering. Many of the ideas and topics that emerged from the charrette can become topics or issues
for future semester projects, capstones, and competition submissions. These
include, among other topics:
• Continuing engagement with the restoration and integration of Trading House Creek into the UTA campus
as an invaluable asset for ecological restoration, recreational value, campus identity, water management, and
climate resilience.
• Green infrastructure strategy and site design for new buildings on campus as
well as restoration/ retrofit projects for buildings and open spaces.
• Initial groundwork to develop campus planning initiatives, such as examining green infrastructure as part of open space and recreation, mobility, or climate action and resilience visions.
• Develop modeling and decision support tools for campus and community stormwater management projects.
• Applying open-source tools and resources, such as EPA’s Storm Water Management Model (SWMM) software.
• Piloting and documenting maintenance and stewardship initiatives to support ongoing student engagement in green
infrastructure installations on campus. Ongoing participation in Campus Rainworks provides a venue, framework,
and motivation to engage further with existing campus constraints and opportunities. For example:
• Providing research and other groundwork in support of future green infrastructure grant applications.
• Establishing engineering criteria or exploring alternative design concepts to jump start or advance campus capital projects.
• Exploring and testing design strategies for campus buildings, roadways, open spaces, and natural resource
management to be incorporated into campus master planning initiatives.
• Reinforcing communication and expanding collaborative relationships between students, faculty, staff, and
community stakeholders. Competition submissions can equally be unique projects or multi-year research initiatives, building a deeper understanding of the campus context,
needs, and site/engineering analysis
Key messages: 
A charette is a meeting in which all stakeholders attempt to resolve conflicts and map out solutions. Participants included faculty, students, professional alumni, UTA facilities management staff, Office of Sustainability representatives, city of Arlington officials and consultants.

The EPA-funded pilot project linked all the stakeholders to discuss blue-green infrastructure and water planning on campus and how climate change impacts those plans. The Campus RainWorks Challenge pilot program seeks to engage with the next generation of environmental professionals, foster a dialogue about the need for innovative stormwater management techniques and showcase the environmental, economic and social benefits of green infrastructure practices. Part of what stakeholders built at the charette exercise will be be used in developing challenges and goals such as the Campus Master plan.
Relationship to other RCE activities: 
North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCO) is a member of RCE North Texas
NCTCOG promotes the planning and construction of green or sustainable infrastructure in the region to help reduce carbon emissions, mitigate urban heat islands, reduce pollution from stormwater runoff, and provide health benefits to communities. Types of green infrastructure include LED and solar lighting, permeable pavement, “cool” pavement, bio-retention drainage areas, parks, community gardens, and shade trees.
This project was in support of that regional goal and policy supported by the EPA Region 6
In 2022, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency provided technical assistance to UTA as part of the tenth anniversary of the Campus RainWorks Challenge, a national design competition that advances green
infrastructure design on college and university campuses across the country. The Campus RainWorks Challenge is a green infrastructure design competition for American colleges and universities that seeks to engage with the next generation of environmental professionals, foster a dialogue about the need for innovative stormwater management techniques, and showcase the environmental, economic, and social benefits of green infrastructure practices.



File Name Caption for picture Photo Credit
Image icon 4F3CA9FE-1745-40B7-B747-70A498DA1B48.jpeg (715.8 KB) UTA Group Photo UTA
UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
(https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdgs) and other themes of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD)
SDG 4 - Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all 
SDG 6 - Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all 
SDG 9 - Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialisation, and foster innovation 
SDG 11 - Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable 
SDG 13 - Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts 
SDG 15 - Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification and halt and reverse land degradation, and halt biodiversity loss 
Traditional Knowledge  
Curriculum Development 
ESD for 2030-Priority Action Areas
Priority Action Area 1 - Advancing policy 
Priority Action Area 2 - Transforming learning and training environments 
Priority Action Area 3 - Developing capacities of educators and trainers 
Priority Action Area 4 - Mobilizing youth 
Priority Action Area 5 - Accelerating sustainable solutions at local level 
I acknowledge the above: