Tree function in stormwater biofilters: The Green in Green Infrastructure

Watch Recording


Jon Hathaway, PhD, PE; Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Tennessee, Knoxville


Trees have many important functions within the urban environment including air quality improvement, wildlife habitat, and mitigation of the heat island effect; however, their contribution to green infrastructure, such as bioretention, is not well understood. There is a critical need to understand the health and role of trees in these systems to enable urban foresters and engineers to select the most appropriate plant material to maximize functionality of natural stormwater treatment systems.  Though laboratory and field studies, the goal of this project was to demonstrate the role of trees in bioretention areas, and to make recommendations regarding system design and tree species selection to maximize both bioretention area functionality and tree health.

Speaker Bio

Dr. Hathaway received his PhD from North Carolina State University in 2010, where he studied the fate, transport, and removal of indicator bacteria in urban stormwater runoff. After a brief research fellowship at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, and nearly two and half years at one of the nation's leading ecological design and consulting firms, he joined the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Tennessee. Dr. Hathaway is a 2016 recipient of the National Science Foundation CAREER award, currently holds his department’s Goodpasture Endowed Faculty award, and is an Associate Editor for the Journal of Environmental Engineering.

Jon Hathaway photo