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Engineering Professor Dr. Robert Traver Awarded $442,000 Stormwater Management Grant from Cooperative Institute for Coastal & Estuarine Environmental Technology

Grant Recognizes Dr. Traver and Villanova University’s Expertise in Solving Environmental Problems in Coastal Areas

January 25, 2008

VILLANOVA, PA. – Stormwater runoff is the greatest collective threat to water quality nationwide. To improve water quality and reduce the flooding exacerbated by impervious surfaces, stormwater managers, like Villanova’s Dr. Robert Traver, are investigating and monitoring the effectiveness of low impact development (LID) stormwater systems. For this research, Traver, an Associate Professor for Civil and Environmental Engineering at Villanova University and Director of the Villanova Urban Stormwater Partnership, has been awarded a $442,787 grant by the Cooperative Institute for Coastal and Estuarine Environmental Technology (CICEET).

The awarding of the grant to Traver reflects his expertise on a critical coastal resource management issue, as well as Villanova’s commitment to solving environmental problems in coastal areas.

With CICEET support, Traver’s investigative team – which also includes the University of Maryland, North Carolina State University and LID-MARC (Low Impact Development – Mid-Atlantic Research Consortium) – monitors the performance of different bioretention and bioinfiltration systems at these three universities in the Mid-Atlantic region. They compare the performance of these systems, refine system design, and study whether the use of low impact development systems can help return a site to its pre-development hydrology. In addition, they are working to develop a model that will predict the effects of implementing LID systems on a watershed, including how changes in rainfall due to climate change affect system performance.

“The combined pressures of climate change and human activity have made the management of our coastal resources increasingly complex and difficult,” says Richard Langan, CICEET’s UNH co-director. “This project was selected for its potential to transform research into practical, accessible tools that coastal resource managers need to support their communities and protect the environment.”

“We hope this work will move us toward understanding more about the engineering aspects of LID concepts such as bioretention raingardens,” said Traver. “By moving design from an art to a science, the use of LID concepts will be more widespread, thereby protecting our river and stream systems.”

CICEET was established in 1997 as a partnership between the University of New Hampshire and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The University of New Hampshire’s Cooperative Institute for Coastal and Estuarine Environmental Technology (CICEET) recently awarded six grants, totaling $1.9 million, for new tools to manage and protect coastal environments. Traver began working closely with multiple National Estuarine Research Reserves (NERRs) in the Mid-Atlantic region in Fall 2007.

Villanova University is a co-educational Roman Catholic institution founded by the Order of Saint Augustine in 1842. The University offers a wide variety of undergraduate and graduate degree programs through four colleges: the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Villanova School of Business, the College of Engineering, and the College of Nursing, as well as the Villanova Law School. With a total enrollment that surpasses 10,000 undergraduate, graduate and law students, Villanova is the oldest and largest Catholic university in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. For more information see

The College of Engineering, consistent with the mission of Villanova University, is dedicated to the education of engineers who are technically competent, liberally educated, and ethically motivated. The College emphasizes undergraduate instruction and encourages research and scholarly activities in all of its departments. High quality research develops the faculty’s intellectual skills and contributes to society’s reservoir of knowledge. Graduate engineering programs within the College provide opportunities for advanced study, professional development, and participation in research. For the second straight year, the College was ranked ninth in the country by U.S. News and World Report for engineering schools that award primarily bachelor’s degrees.