Stormwater Messaging Toolkit

By Betsy Adams

Catch basins and MS4’s and engineered bioretention cells – oh my!

The jargon-rich vocabulary of the stormwater world can be a big barrier to outreach staff working to convey the importance of and increase understanding of stormwater-related environmental issues to the public.

Photograph by Marcela Gara, Resource Media

Photograph by Marcela Gara, Resource Media

In the summer of 2016, a group of folks from local nonprofits and agencies came together to begin to tackle this issue. The work group worked over the next couple of years to conduct a research project to improve language and messaging used to describe stormwater, with a special focus on Low Impact Development (LID)/Green Infrastructure (GI). The goal was to deeply examine and question previous assumptions about stormwater messaging and to develop high impact, effective messaging that can be used consistently by all throughout the region.

We learned that the public relates better to the term “rainwater” rather than “stormwater.”  On the other hand, the term that we have been using – “rain gardens” – works well, so long as it is explained in language that is meaningful to the audience.

Check out the work group’s research results in the Stormwater Messaging Toolkit, now live on the STORM Resource Reservoir.

In the toolkit, you’ll find:

  • Framing and messaging recommendations.
  • Project research documents and results, including research findings from English and Spanish-language focus groups.
  • PowerPoint and fact sheet templates for you to use.
  • Collections of open-source images, both illustrations and photos, to help illustrate stormwater concepts and pathways.
  • Links to additional resources to assist you in your messaging efforts.

Please contact Betsy Adams or Heather Trim with questions regarding the toolkit.

Photograph by Marcela Gara, Resource Media

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