Research Publications

Featured Principal Investigator: Charlene LeBleu

Charlene LeBleu, ASLA, AICP is an Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture the School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture, in the College of Architecture Design and Construction. She has an honorary faculty appointment with the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences. Her research focus is the planning, design and policy of green infrastructure systems with an emphasis on low impact development best management practices (BMPs). LeBleu is a member of the American Society of Landscape Architecture, and a certified planner (AICP). LeBleu is currently working with several Alabama municipalities on green infrastructure plans and improvements. “Green infrastructure” is the interconnected network of open spaces and natural areas, such as, greenways, wetlands, parks, forest preserves, and native plant vegetation, that naturally manages stormwater, reduces flooding risk and improves water quality. Low impact development (LID) is a natural systems approach, that uses stormwater BMPs at the site scale to mitigate water quality and quantity associated with non-point source runoff, and coastal storm flooding. When these BMPs are interconnected to urban streets and floodplain areas, the resulting green streets and green infrastructure plans provide for water quality and flood mitigation enhancement. Data shows that this green infrastructure approach adds capacity to aging “grey infrastructure” stormwater systems. An example of her work is the Mobile Green Streets Plan which promotes a “green streets/ green infrastructure” plan for the downtown area of the city of Mobile, Alabama. “Green streets” used for stormwater management are quickly becoming popular throughout the United States and the international community. A “Green Street” is a sustainable stormwater strategy that meets regulatory compliance and resource protection goals by using a LID natural systems approach to manage stormwater, reduce flows, improve water quality and enhance watershed health (Portland Green Streets Program, 2008). The Mobile Greens Streets Plan also includes a GIS site suitability analysis for site selection of green street improvements, as well as a case study analysis of similar successful projects across the nation. Currently, LeBleu is participating in a CESURI sponsored MASGC Coastal Storms Program grant with Dr. Latif Kalin, Forest Hydrologist, and Dr. Puneet Srivastava, Environmental Engineer, in the Eight-Mile Creek Watershed in Mobile County entitled: Identifying Flood Generating Areas in 8-Mile Creek Watershed through a Novel Approach. Here she is working on outreach efforts to promote low impact development policy including a stream buffer ordinance. LeBleu has partnered with the Mobile Bay National Estuary Program and several other partners to leverage additional funding (National Fish & Wildlife Foundation 5 Star Grant. $22,954) to stabilize and restore a small tributary of Eight-Mile Creek. Other grants with the CESURI are pending.