Bringing Back the Capisic Brook: Planning for Long-Term Sustainable Management
Capisic Brook is one of the last remaining intact urban streams in the City of Portland.
Location & Description
Capisic Brook is located on the west side of Portland and drains a watershed of approximately 1,400 acres to the Fore River. The brook is approximately 2.5 miles in length and consists of several branches with headwaters located east of Forest Avenue near the intersection with Allen Avenue (Route 100), near the intersection of Stevens Avenue and Bishop Street, and west of Exit 48 of the Maine Turnpike (I-95). Residential development is the primary land use within Capisic Brook Watershed, although there is significant commercial and light industrial development along some of the major travel corridors, such as Warren Avenue, Riverside Street, and Brighton Avenue. Evergreen Cemetery is a prominent central open space within the watershed.
Over the last 15 years the city has made significant investment in its combined sewer overflow abatement program in this watershed. The next step of establishing a watershed-based restoration plan will allow the city to improve long-term water quality and to ultimately realize the benefits of this community resource.
Development of a Watershed Restoration Plan
In 2009, Portland was awarded an American Recovery and Reinvestment Act grant of nearly $100,000 by the Maine DEP to develop a watershed restoration plan that focuses on addressing the many causes of stormwater pollution in the Capisic Brook watershed. The city also received another grant of nearly $11,000 from the Casco Bay Estuary Partnership to develop a watershed landowner survey tool to gather information about the property owner’s level of awareness of the Capisic Brook watershed and get feedback on various approaches to addressing water pollution.
The Plan will build upon previous studies to present a cohesive strategy for management of the brook and its watershed, consistent with the recommendations of the Sustainable Portland report published by the City in 2007, and will set a path to meeting both state and federal clean water standards.
Long-term sustainable municipal management of water resources is only possible with an engaged community, supportive local policy, a pragmatic financing strategy and political support. The most scientifically-sound and comprehensive management plans are of little value without these elements.
Our collaborative approach is:
Identify key conveners and stakeholders to engage.
Summarize the watershed restoration needs.
Utilize social marketing research to develop residential outreach strategy.
Evaluate policy necessary for long-term watershed sustainability.
Identify stormwater improvement projects and mechanisms, including costs and benefits.
Determine the appropriate financial plan for implementation.