A vegetative or green roof has been installed at the LEAF Education Center. Only the 3rd green roof in Erie County, the green roof will reduce stormwater quantity and improve stormwater quality. Water will be retained within the saturated soils of the roof there by reducing downstream storm water flow into Cascade Creek. The water that does flow from the green roof will have been filtered through a natural plant/soil process resulting in improved quality of storm water eventually entering Lake Erie. In addition, the green roof is expected to extend the life of the current roof as well as reduce heating and cooling costs. It requires little maintenance other than periodic weeding and fertilizing.
The LEAF Education Center was designed for a green roof but funding constraints at the time of construction in 2012 kept it from being installed. With the assistance of Pennsylvania Sea Grant and the City of Erie, LEAF raised close to $75,000 for the roof. Grants for the initial installation were received from the Great Lakes Shoreline Cities Green Infrastructure program with funding from the Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, US Department of Commerce and administered by the PA Department of Environmental Protection, the Erie Community Foundation, Erie Insurance and private donations. Additional funding was received from the Erie County Gaming Revenue Authority and from a grant from the Environmental Stewardship Fund, Growing Greener Program under the administration of the Department of Environmental Protection through the Northwest Greenways Block Grant Program administered by the Northwest Commission.
A sample of the plants used on the roof is included in an interpretive sign located near the LEAF Education Center. An educational Nature-To-Go kit ,designed for 8th grade students and available to local teachers, was created with information and activities relating to storm water runoff. Click here to learn more.