For months a committed group of Surfrider volunteers from the Portland Chapter have been helping with the Green Streets Stewardship Program, which is a program of the City of Portland that gets volunteer groups out in the community, cleaning up their neighborhoods, and local bioswales. Bioswales replace traditional stormdrains but instead allow stormwater to be cleaned by the plants in the bioswale. The stormwater then percolates into the ground instead of flushing through our stormwater system and eventually into local streams and rivers. Bioswales are a key component of Surfrider’s Ocean Friendly Gardens program and Know Your H2O, and are crucial at capturing and reducing urban runoff before it pollutes the coast. “Green Streets volunteering is a lot of fun," said one Surfrider volunteer. “Its a chance to help out my neighborhood, hang out with friends, and have a lot of fun on a Tuesday night. Walking around as a big group there are a lot of laughs and stories, as we pick up trash along the way."
Find out if your City has a green streets stewardship program, if not, work with them to start one or get permission for the Chapter to assist with bioswale and stormdrain maintenance once a month.
As a Green Street Steward, you will be partnering with your City to help with simple activities like picking up trash and debris and making sure curb openings and overflow drains are unobstructed. This keeps stormwater and pollutants out of our streams, rivers and ocean while maintaining attractive streetscapes for your community and improving the health of our watersheds!
Some of the most important times to check on a bioswale or stormdrain are before or after a storm event when heavy rains can cause trash and debris to collect around curb openings and drains, preventing stormwater from entering the facility. If you have only a few minutes to spare, you can help ensure the facility functions by removing any trash, debris, and leaves from curb openings and overflow drains.
Please be aware that maintaining a Green Street requires additional safety awareness not encountered in your own landscape or garden. Care should be taken at all times to make yourself safe and visible to vehicle and bicycle traffic. Please read and follow the full instructions in the Green Street Steward Maintenance Guide.
As a Green Street Steward, please be aware of the nature of the activities in maintaining and caring for Green Streets; read and follow the safety instructions below:
I have read this disclaimer and the safety information in the Green Street Steward's Maintenance Guide and I understand the potential risks involved with maintaining a Green Street. I agree not to hold the City of XXXX or Surfrider Foundation responsible for damages or injuries that may occur as a result of my participation in the Green Street stewards program and the activities I perform. I understand my participation is completely voluntary and I do not expect compensation of any kind for my participation.