Ecological Landscape Design Laboratory


Dr. Stephanie Hurley
Associate Professor of Ecological Landscape Design
Department of Plant & Soil Science
Doctor of Design (DDes), Master’s in Landscape Architecture (MLA)





The Ecological Landscape Design Lab’s research ranges in scale and scope from whole watersheds to urban and agricultural settings. Much of my past and current research is in the field of Green Stormwater Infrastructure (GSI), with studies of water quality and hydrologic performance of bioretention systems,including concerns about nutrients leaching from compost  that is used in bioretention and rain garden soil media. Recent research has also included social science surveys of GSI aesthetics and maintenance issues among municipal and residential populations. 

Lab research projects include investigation of the use of Landscape Visualizations (also known as photo simulations) in stakeholder engagement about green infrastructure in municipalities, and climate change adaptation on farms in northern New England. Through focus groups and survey research, our collaborators have worked with farmers, stormwater and land managers, and technical service providers to better understand the role that visual imagery can play in decision making about land use management practices.

I teach Landscape Design Fundamentals (Fall) and Ecological Landscape Design (Spring) for upper level undergraduate and graduate students at UVM. Both are listed as Service Learning Courses and include design projects with Community Partners. I have supervised numerous independent studies including in landscape grading and drainage, urban ecological design, and stormwater and agricultural runoff treatment research.



Built Projects

  stormwater management at the Burlington lakefront    A swale of plantings near parking lot for stormwater management

Stormwater Management and Dry River Bed at ECHO’s Energy Commons at the Leahy Center for Lake Champlain, Burlington, Vermont. 


Plants in a squared pit, and hardscape materials used in bioretention cell    Students preparing retention pits for spring run off

University of Vermont Bioretention Research Laboratory


retention pit located at Miller Research Farm


UVM Miller Research Complex Bioretention Experiment


Pit for catching and treating silage run off at Miller Research Farm    Application of woodchips to mitigate silage run off at Miller Research Farm

UVM Miller Research Complex Silage Runoff Treatment


View of parking area in Waitsfield VT with plantings and run off cachement basin.

Village Square Raingarden, Waitsfield, Vermont

Residential Raingarden, Montpelier, Vermont, read story in Popular Science

Areas of Research


Journal Articles

1. Doran, E., Zia, A., Hurley, S., Tsai, Y., Koliba, C., Adair, E.C., Schattman, R., Mendez, V.E., Rizzo, D. “Social-Psychological Determinants of Farmer Intention to Adopt Nutrient Best Management Practices: Implications for Resilient Adaptation to Climate Change in the Lake Champlain Basin” Journal of Environmental Management 276: December 2020. 10.1016/j.jenvman.2020.111304

2. Wilhelm, J., Smith, R, Jolejole-Foreman, M.C., Hurley, S. 2020 “Resident and stakeholder perceptions of ecosystem services associated with agricultural landscapes in New Hampshire” Ecosystem Services 45: 101153.

3.  Sarazen, J. C., Faulkner, J. W., and Hurley, S.E. 2020. “Evaluation of Nitrogen and Phosphorus Removal from a Denitrifying Woodchip Bioreactor Treatment System Receiving Silage Bunker Runoff.” Applied Sciences 10 (14): 4789.

4. Twombly, C., Faulkner, J., and Hurley, S. 2020. "The effects of soil aeration prior to dairy manure application on edge-of-field hydrology and nutrient fluxes in cold climate hayland agroecosystems." Journal of Soil and Water Conservation.

5. Shrestha, P., Faulkner, J., Kokkinos, J., and Hurley, S. 2020. “Influence of low-phosphorus compost and vegetation in bioretention for nutrient and sediment control in runoff from a dairy farm production area.” Ecological Engineering 150:  .

6. Schattman, R. Hurley, S., Greenleaf, H., Niles, M., and Caswell, M.  2019. “Visualizing Climate Change Adaptation: An Effective Tool for Agricultural Land Management?” Weather Climate and Society.

7. Tharp, R., K. Westhelle, and S. Hurley. 2019. “Macrophyte performance in floating treatment wetlands on a suburban stormwater pond: Implications for cold climate conditions.” Ecological Engineering 136: 152-159.

8. Schattman, R.E., S. Hurley, and M. Caswell. 2019. “Now I see: Photovisualization to support agricultural climate adaption.” Society and Natural Resources.

9. Coleman, S., Hurley, S., Koliba, C., Rizzo, D. and Zia, A. 2018. “From the Household to Watershed: a cross-scale analysis of residential intent to adopt Green Stormwater Infrastructure.” Landscape and Urban Planning.

10. Cording, A., Hurley, S., and Adair, C. 2018. “Influence of critical bioretention design factors and projected increases in precipitation due to climate change on roadside bioretention performance.” Journal of Environmental Engineering 144(9).

11. Shrestha, P. Hurley, S., and Adair, C. 2018. “Soil Media CO2 and N2O Fluxes Dynamics from Sand-Based Roadside Bioretention Systems.” Water 10(2): 185.

12. Shrestha, P., Hurley, S., and Wemple, B. 2018. “Effects of different soil media, vegetation, and hydrologic treatments on nutrient and sediment removal in roadside bioretention systems.” Ecological Engineering 112: 116-131.

13. Cording, A., Hurley, S., and Whitney, D. 2017. “Monitoring methods and designs for evaluating bioretention performance.” Journal of Environmental Engineering, 143(12).

14. Coleman, S., Hurley, S., Koliba, C. and Zia, A. 2017. “Crowdsourced Delphis: Designing solutions to complex environmental problems with broad stakeholder participation.” Global Environmental Change 25: 111-123.

15. Hurley, S., Shrestha, P., Cording, A. 2017. “Nutrient leaching from compost: implications for bioretention and other green stormwater infrastructure.” Journal of Sustainable Water in the Built Environment, American Society of Civil Engineering, 3(3).

16. Harvey, C. Aultman-Hall, L., Troy, A., and Hurley, S. 2016. “Streetscape skeleton measurement and classification.” Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design. January 22, 2016.

17. Scheinert, S., Koliba C., Hurley, S., Coleman, S., and Zia, A. 2015. “The shape of watershed governance:   Locating the boundaries of multiplex networks.” Complexity, Governance, and Networks, 1 (2015): 65-82.

18. Harvey, C. Aultman-Hall, L., Hurley, S., Troy, A. 2015. “Effects of skeletal streetscape design on perceived safety.” Landscape and Urban Planning 142: 18-28.

19. Hurley, S.E. and Forman, R.T.T. 2011. “Stormwater ponds and biofilters for large urban sites: modeled arrangements that achieve the phosphorus reduction target for Boston’s Charles River, USA.” Ecological Engineering 37 (2011) 850–863.

Peer Reviewed Chapters in Edited Books
1.   Schattman, R., Mendez, V. E., Westdijk, K., Caswell, M., Conner, D., Koliba, C., Zia, A., Hurley, S., Adair, E.C., Berlin, L., & Darby, H. 2015. “Vermont agricultural resilience in a changing climate: A transdisciplinary and participatory action research (PAR) process.” In N. Benkeblia (Ed.), Agroecology, ecosystems, and sustainability (pp. 325–346). Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press/Taylor & Francis.
2.   Hurley, S. and Stromberg, M. 2008. Ch.13: “Residential street design with watersheds in mind: toward eco¬logical streets.” Handbook of Regenerative Landscape Design, Robert L. France (Ed.), CRC Press.
3.   Rasmussen, M. and Hurley, S. 2008. Ch. 8: “Coastal ecosystem restoration with a stormwater wetland: a decade of success, reviving shellfish beds in Marion, Massachusetts.” Handbook of Regenerative Landscape Design, Robert L. France (Ed.), CRC Press.

Project Contacts

Contact Us-

PI: Dr. Stephanie E. Hurley
Ph.D. Student: Michael Ament
Lecturer: Jillian Sarazen

Dr. Stephanie Hurley
Jeffords Hall, Room 251
63 Carrigan Drive
Burlington, VT 05405