World Wetlands Day 2024

Sustainability doesn’t have to be a dry topic

What it is

World Wetlands Day raises global awareness about the importance of wetlands for human prosperity and a healthy planet. The 2024 theme “Wetlands and Human Wellbeing” focuses on the interconnectedness between wetlands and various aspects of human wellbeing, including: physical, mental, and environmental health.

Why it matters

Wetlands are among the most productive ecosystems in the world, comparable to rain forests and coral reefs. As a result of their unique, natural characteristics, they provide beneficial functions for people and nature (things we happen to care a little bit about!). Some of these functions include protecting and improving water quality, providing fish and wildlife habitats, storing floodwaters and maintaining surface water flow during dry periods.

People, communities, and nature thriving

Our driving vision at DELV is that people, communities, and nature would thrive. Wetlands are a critical component in our ecosystem; without them it’s problematic, and even catastrophic. Since we’ve committed to the AIA 2030 Challenge, it means we’ve committed to protecting water sources and natural elements as we design projects. So how are we doing that, exactly?

World Wetlands Day 2024

How DELV is taking action

Our Belief

We have a central role in leading the conversation around the conservation of these critical ecosystems (say that five times fast).

  • How might we design to conserve water use, while also managing stormwater as responsibly as we can?

  • How could we prevent flooding by absorbing water and reducing runoff?

Our Goal

By 2030, we plan to reduce stormwater runoff on all projects by 50%, with the goal of 100% on-site stormwater management (without wet or dry surface detention ponds).

Our Strategies

Two of our standard practices for every new project are:

    1. Study how to minimize storm water runoff by reuse or filtration
    2. Reduce or eliminate outdoor water use with native plantings and rainwater harvesting
World Wetlands Day 2024

Strategy 1: Minimize Runoff

  • Challenge – The site was tight–with more impervious roofing and paving than site available. Collaborating with landscape architects and civil engineers, the design team had to find a location on site to accommodate drainage.
  • Solution – Design a rain garden that is purposeful and a beautiful addition to the community. The solution helps to mitigate stormwater runoff while creating a dynamic front entry to the building comprised of terraces, local stones, boulders, native vegetation, sculptural art, and custom downspouts that drain directly into the rain garden. The use of 100% native plantings and the directing of rainwater into the garden reduces irrigation needs for the site.
World Wetlands Day 2024

Strategy 2: Filtration

  • Challenge – No available city storm sewer capacity, so all rainwater must be managed on the site. Given the urban and compact nature of the site, a detention pond was not an option.
  • Solution – Use a series of infiltration strategies to manage the site drainage. Permeable pavers were used instead of asphalt in parking areas. Bioswales with native plants that reduce the need for irrigation, were incorporated strategically throughout the parking lot to collect extra runoff from the parking lot. Underground gravel retention under the parking lot was incorporated to temporarily hold stormwater from the site as well as the roof, allowing it to naturally infiltrate into the water table.

How you can join us

  1. Get curious and ask questions about strategies for your projects that can help preserve and protect the natural environment around us
  2. Learn more about DELV’s initiatives and commitments in our Sustainability Action Plan
  3. Discover current and proposed legislation which will influence your current and future projects
World Wetlands Day 2024