Mid-Atlantic RISA Publishes Report on Improved Tool for Stormwater Management

CPO’s Mid-Atlantic Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessments team (MARISA) recently published a report highlighting improved intensity-duration-frequency (IDF) curves—a common tool used for stormwater management and infrastructure design—for the Chesapeake Bay Watershed and the Commonwealth of Virginia. The improved IDF curves are publicly available in an interactive online tool and will help communities in the region plan and prepare for impacts from climate change.

The Chesapeake Bay Watershed and Virginia have experienced increases in extreme rainfall events over the past few decades, exacerbating flooding and stormwater challenges throughout the region. Climate change research has also shown that these increases in extreme rainfall are anticipated to continue throughout the 21st century. This presents stormwater engineers and planners with a key challenge: how to incorporate these recent and future changes in rainfall into stormwater infrastructure design and management.

To support entities in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed and Virginia in mitigating these challenges, the authors of this report updated intensity-duration-frequency curves using the best-available science to reflect future climate changes. Using the interactive online tool, the updated IDF curves can be easily integrated and used across the Chesapeake Bay Watershed and Virginia to plan, design, and build infrastructure assets to be more resilient to climate change. As part of a broader project, the research team also held an online webinar to walk users and interested parties through methods and the tool, and produced a series of academic journal articles that highlight the scientific contributions of this effort.

This project was led by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), the Northeast Regional Climate Center (NRCC) at Cornell University, and the RAND Corporation. The project team members from RAND and the NRCC are funded by the RISA program. The project was also funded by the Chesapeake Bay Trust under the Chesapeake Bay Program’s Goal Implementation Team. The NRCC and CMU also received funding from the Virginia Transportation Research Council and the Commonwealth Center for Recurrent Flooding Resiliency.

Read the report »

Access the tool »



Dr. Chelsea Combest-Friedman
Social Scientist, Program Director (Acting)
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Caitlin Simpson
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Dr. Ariela Zycherman
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Sean Bath
Physical Scientist, Program Manager
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Genie Bey*
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Jessica Garrison*
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Americans’ health, security and economic wellbeing are tied to climate and weather. Every day, we see communities grappling with environmental challenges due to unusual or extreme events related to climate and weather.