Talking Stormwater — Stormwater Messaging Tutorial now on-line

Here at American Rivers, we love to talk about polluted stormwater runoff. We can go on for hours about all those great things like bio-infiltration, construction general permits and performance standards. But as it turns out, we’re in the minority…. Most people don’t really think much about stormwater runoff, the problems it causes or what to do about it. And that can be a real problem when you’re trying to convince someone, like your County Commissioner, to support a great local ordinance for clean water.

That’s why we spent several years working on a stormwater messaging project designed to figure out how to talk about green infrastructure solutions to stormwater in a way to make someone care (really!). Working with Edge Research and many of our partners, we interviewed local leaders in the Chesapeake Bay region about their understanding of stormwater and then tested a number of message concepts to find what might resonate. The bottom line is that to make change that is good at reducing stormwater, it’s often better to talk about other issues first (e.g. drinking water, open space, cost savings, etc.). It makes us policy wonks a little sad – but if it can lead to better stormwater solutions with multiple benefits, so be it.

Our stormwater messaging tutorial provides an overview of communications planning, the results of our research, and some information about word choice. There are also exercises to help you start to prepare your own message for change.

The stormwater messaging is now available online at: