Natural Landscape Design for Stormwater Systems

Gain an understanding of how to analyze, design, implement and manage effective and innovative storm water management systems using native landscape for a variety of sites – large, small, rural and urban.

Learn about how a thorough site analysis of soils, terrain and hydrology can influence design approach using native and naturalized plant selections. Several case studies of built projects are presented and the attendees get firsthand knowledge of how to approach site design, plant selection, construction and maintenance.


This course can be applied to the Water Technology Certificate.


Tom Mortensen

Tom Mortensen

Tom Mortensen has more than 30 years of experience in landscape architecture and related design, planning and construction professions. Tom’s experience includes expertise in the areas of site planning, urban redevelopment, park and public open space design, memorials and public ... read more

Lesley Brotkowski

Lesley Brotkowski

Lesley Brotkowski is an ecologist at TRC Environmental, specializing in the performance of wetland and upland habitat assessments, natural resource management projects, and endangered species surveys. She handles restoration and natural area management planning, botanical and wildlife surveys, and habitat ... read more

Sean Hayes

Sean Hayes

Sean Hayes is a professional engineer with Milwaukee County. He graduated from UW-Platteville with a BS in Environmental Engineering in 2004. Sean has designed and managed numerous civil and environmental public works projects ranging from green infrastructure to landfills to ... read more

Who Should Attend

• Landscape architects, designers, planners, engineers, scientists, architects, and contractors involved in design of storm water management systems

•Government agency and municipal employees responsible for overseeing and reviewing these types of systems

• NGOs involved in helping to educate landowners about rain gardens and native plantings

• Traditional landscape contractors who would like to incorporate the use of more native landscape in their projects

• Non-landscapers who would like to learn more about plant selection and identification for constructed wetlands, buffers, storm water ponds.

Benefits and Learning Outcomes

•Incorporate native and naturalized plants into storm water design for ecological benefit and potential cost savings

•Evaluate plans and specifications and understand both pitfalls and success on projects

•Understand how to use native plants in a realistic way to maximize benefits

Course Outline/Topics

This one-day course will cover:

• When and why a native landscape approach is the right choice.

• How to plan for a native landscaping project.

• Some techniques to reduce and slow runoff – preserving natural areas, reducing land disturbance and minimizing impervious surfaces, where practical.

• The basics of plant selection for bio-infiltration (rain gardens and bio-swales) to help reduce flooding, improve water quality, stabilize flow rates and prevent erosion.

• The use of buffers, filter strips and/or level spreaders and how to enhance their performance with appropriate plant selections.

• The basics of plant selection for constructed wetlands (subsurface or surface wetlands, which are an engineered sequence of water bodies designed to filter and treat pollutants found in storm water runoff or effluent).

• Design techniques for using native and naturalized landscape.

• How to select and order plants and seed ideal for a storm water project.

• Proper installation and maintenance techniques.

• How to identify common native plants used for bio-infiltration.

All sessions are Face-to-Face unless otherwise noted.

Date: Fri., Nov 9

Time: 8am-4:30pm

Location: UWM School of Continuing Education

Lesley Brotkowski
Tom Mortensen
Sean Hayes

Fee: $315

CEUs: 0.7, PDHs: 7

Enrollment Limit: 40

Program Number: 4850-10857

Registration Deadline: Fri., Nov. 9

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