Mount Olivet Cemetery Sacred Place captures second place in Best Urban BMP Retrofit award

The Sacred Place at Washington DC’s Mount Olivet Cemetery, a collaborative project between Nature Sacred, the Archdiocese of Washington and the Nature Conservancy, has been awarded second place in Best Urban BMP Retrofit in the Bay Award by the Chesapeake Stormwater Network. 

The award recognizes innovators who are using new techniques for facing the challenges of stormwater management. According to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, stormwater runoff is the only major source of pollution that is growing in the Chesapeake Bay and its rivers and streams. It kills fish, pollutes swimming areas, erodes streams, floods homes, and causes many other problems.

According to TNC Stormwater Retention Project Manager Aileen Craig, the project has been able to capture approximately 5 million gallons of stormwater runoff per year through impervious area removal, tree plantings, “and the support and teamwork of all of our partners.” 

“We’re thrilled to be recognized with a second place in the Best Urban BMP Awards by the Chesapeake Stormwater Network!” she said.

The Mount Olivet Cemetery Sacred Place, which opened in June 2019, sits atop a hill on the grounds of the historic, 160-year-old burial ground, where many men, women and children, including many enslaved, were buried; some without memorial markers. 

“This project was an important test case for Nature Sacred,” said Nature Sacred CEO Alden Stoner. “Together, we were able to address two disparate issues, not typically addressed in the same conversation — stormwater runoff and community healing — with a single solution. Even more exciting – this is a replicable model.”

Stoner sees this recognition from the Chesapeake Stormwater Network as a mark of validation for this approach.

“Society needs more contemplative green spaces; likewise, from an environmental perspective, we need to mitigate the effects of stormwater runoff. This is an attainable way to stack value and address them both.”