Green Infrastructure

Greening Your Backyard: Water Efficiency and Stormwater Solutions for Homeowners and Communities

This webcast combines the power of two successful EPA water programs and their partner organizations to bring homeowners and communities some of the latest tools and information on water efficiency and stormwater solutions. Featured speakers are from EPA’s WaterSense program and Texas A&M, who will discuss their efforts to encourage outdoor water conservation, and from EPA’s Soak Up the Rain program and the Massachusetts Watershed Coalition, who will highlight the importance of public awareness and action on preventing stormwater runoff.

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Veronica Blette, WaterSense Branch Chief, U.S. EPA

Patrick Dickinson, Program Coordinator – Urban Water, Texas A&M AgriLife Research & Extension Center at Dallas

This session will discuss how EPA’s WaterSense program works with partners to promote water efficient products, tools and guides to conserve water outdoors. The Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center at Dallas, a WaterSense Promotional Partner of the Year, will speak to their outdoor water saving programs and efforts to promote WaterSense to consumers across the state of Texas. Topics include water efficient landscape design, the WaterSense Home, the “Find it, Fix it, Flag it” campaign, the “Water you doing road trip” tour bus, and the Texas Certified Landscape Irrigation Auditor Program.

Session 2 - Soak Up the Rain Campaign

Cindy Brown, Soak Up the Rain Coordinator, U.S. EPA

EPA Region 1 in New England launched the Soak Up the Rain campaign to raise public awareness and encourage action to address stormwater runoff and to highlight the benefits of green infrastructure and the importance of citizen action.  This session will discuss the Soak Up the Rain public outreach campaign program features and tools to support public outreach.

Session 3 - Community Stormwater Solutions

Ed Himlan, Executive Director, Massachusetts Watershed Coalition (MWC)

The Massachusetts Watershed Coalition partners with municipal officials, grassroots groups and homeowners to prevent and fix polluted runoff that harms streams, lakes and water supplies.  This session will highlight community outreach activities and examples of varied stormwater solutions applied in urbanized watersheds.  Ed will also share practical guidance that can help communities to remove more stormwater pollution for less cost.


Veronica Blette is the Chief of the WaterSense Branch in the Office of Wastewater Management at EPA.  She previously served for several years as Special Assistant to the Director of the national drinking water program and managed the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund program.  Before joining EPA in 1997, she worked in the academic research and environmental consulting fields on projects investigating the effects of atmospheric deposition on terrestrial ecosystems and water quality.  She has a B.A. in Geology from Smith College and a M.S. in Geology from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

Patrick Dickinson is the Program Coordinator for the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center in Dallas, Texas. Patrick has a Bachelor’s of Science in Horticulture from Tarleton State University, is an ISA Certified Arborist, TCEQ Licensed Irrigator and has extensive experience in the Texas Horticulture industry. Patrick is part of the Urban Water Program which focuses on water conservation and stormwater issues through professional training, public education programs and demonstrations. Patrick addresses professionals and the public to provide the most sustainable information about landscape water use from design and plant selection to water conserving landscape management practices.

Cindy Brown is an Environmental Protection Specialist in the EPA Region 1 Office of Assistance and Pollution Prevention in Boston, MA. Cindy is part of the team that created and implements Soak Up the Rain. She has a Master’s Degree in Plant Pathology and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Botany.

Ed Himlan is the Executive Director of the Massachusetts Watershed Coalition (MWC). Ed works with communities, state and federal agencies to improve the health of local waters and ecosystems. MWC programs focus on stormwater pollution, low impact development and sustainable watersheds. Ed has a Masters in Natural Resources Planning from the University of Massachusetts and extensive experience in public policy, watershed management and community outreach.