SMC kicks off of our LEADERS IN STORMWATER Social Media Series with a Leader who has received the Chesapeake Stormwater Network’s Stoneroller Award; graduated from the Watershed Stewards Academy; and received the Project of Excellence Award from the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, National Water Program – SARAH LANE, Innovative Technology Coordinator and Senior Faculty Research Assistant at the University of Maryland, Center for Environmental Science.
Sarah works with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and runs nutrient and sediment reduction estimates for Maryland’s Phase I Watershed Implementation Plan and for the Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays Trust Fund grant program. Within this role, Sarah says everyday looks a bit different. One day she may be out in the field helping plant trees or on a site visit. Other days, she is developing programs, partnerships and policies that leverage funding and build capacity for water quality restoration and climate resilience.
Sarah reflects on her undergrad days when stormwater runoff was treated with dams, concrete channels and gabion baskets. As a senior, she interned with the Center for Watershed Protection where trees, bioretention cells, and re-imagined codes and ordinances were part of the stormwater solution. She was interested in this way of addressing stormwater and knew she wanted to be a part of its advancement.
Sarah proclaims that she is “Team Natural Filters”! She says stormwater is the sector with the most opportunity for innovative products and technologies. She lists Furbish Company’s green roof, wall and bioretention designs, as well as PaverGuide’s grass paver and permeable paver that incorporate a stormwater chamber, as examples of this. She says that integrating climate resilience into our stormwater and restoration designs should be a priority when it comes to environmental issues. This has been done by considering increased precipitation amounts and the frequency of extreme precipitation events, but Sarah notes that our industry needs to expand the implementation of climate tolerant vegetation, vegetated shading devices and natural filters. And she is making efforts to achieve this. Sarah credits Kristen Saacke-Blunk with Headwaters, LLC as someone she admires and draws inspiration from. In 2006, Sarah met Kristen when she was Director of the Penn State Agriculture and Environment Center. These days, when she is dealing with a complex issue or conflicting interests, she often reflects on Kristen’s ability to facilitate and communicate in a digestible and engaging way to guide her own words and actions.
Outside of stormwater, when she’s not “positively bedeviled by meetings, etc.”, Sarah enjoys kickboxing, gardening, working on her boat with her husband, and coaching her children’s soccer, basketball and lacrosse teams.