SMC announces April’s Leader in Stormwater – Recipient of the Chesapeake Conservation Landscaping Council’s 2019 Marcy Damon Conservation Landscaping Award – David Hirschman, Principal of Hirschman Water & Environment, LLC.

Earning a degree in Biology from Duke University, and a Masters in Urban & Regional Planning from Virginia Tech, David moved to Charlottesville, VA in 1993, with his wife Garnett, as a Water Resources Manager – working for Albemarle County; and then with the Center for Watershed Protection, helping to develop stormwater and water resources programs such as the Runoff Reduction Method. He says when he began in stormwater, there wasn’t much to it, and that he witnessed the industry grow as early leaders of low-impact development married in the biological elements and mimicked natural systems.

These days, David often begins his mornings with a blog post or another form of creative writing. His days are comprised of a variety of tasks, but above all, he says he most enjoys being fully engaged collaborating with other professionals on projects. He says, “Stormwater, in its best sense, invites a lot of creativity. Cleaning up water in urban and developed environments is…a wicked problem, so it takes the talent of multiple people working together to envision new ways of doing things.” 

David considers most of his work to be on the green infrastructure side, but enjoys working with both natural systems and infrastructure and says the best projects have elements of both. He says, “We continue to pivot from a fairly discrete set of stormwater objectives to a more challenging effort of also addressing climate resilience; [and] it’s not enough to just plant trees if we don’t increase the resiliency of our existing forests and wetlands. We live in a world of practices achieving credit towards water quality goals, but that driver can misdirect how we spend money if we don’t consider the broader picture.”

Still living in Charlottesville, David stays involved with his local watershed group, the Rivanna Conservation Alliance. With a background in local government, he has an appreciation for what it takes to run a successful local water resources program, and he notes there are many motivated people committed to stormwater that are under-appreciated. He recognizes these folks are doing great things one community at a time. David also provides office and field training for the Chesapeake Bay Landscape Professional Certification Program and is inspired by organizations doing green job training – building the workforce for both the future of stormwater and how we live on the planet.

In addition to this, David serves as a field liaison for the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation; and sits on the Chesapeake Stormwater Network‘s Board – giving a nod to his mentor and colleague, Tom Schueler, former Executive Director of the Chesapeake Stormwater Network who has always had a crystal ball to see what direction the field was going.