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American Society of Landscape Architects


November 2004 Issue

The Buzz on Stormwater Design
Mosquito control for bioswales and constructed wetlands.

>The Buzz on Stormwater Design Image Courtesy Marin/Sonoma Mosquito and Vector Control District

By Patty Gambarini

The rise of West Nile Virus (WNV) has transformed the mosquito from mere nuisance to considerable danger. According to the Centers for Disease Control, WNV is the most prevalent mosquito-borne disease in the United States, with 9,862 human cases reported last year from all but three of the lower 48 states. The disease has serious implications for stormwater management projects. Specifically, when landscape architects call for such strategies as pooling rainwater with constructed wetlands or moving rainwater into the soil with infiltration areas, they may be inadvertently providing prime mosquito breeding habitat.

As the disease has spread, so has public fear; stormwater projects that might have seemed benign five years ago, prior to WNV's appearance in North America, are now seen as potential public health threats. These days, designers find themselves not only considering mosquito control methods for stormwater projects but also convincing clients and constituents that these methods will succeed.

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