Green Infrastructure

 

EPA Releases “Green Infrastructure in Parks: A Guide to Collaboration, Funding and Community Engagement”

 June 2017

The Environmental Protection Agency produced “Green Infrastructure in Parks: A Guide to Collaboration, Funding and Community Engagement” to encourage partnerships between park and stormwater agencies to promote the use of green infrastructure on park lands.  Green infrastructure can help to maximize the environmental, economic, and social benefits of parks.  By building strong partnerships, agencies can improve park lands and access to parks, better manage stormwater, increase community resiliency to shifting weather patterns, and provide funding to implement and maintain park enhancements that benefit the community.

 

Working with the Markets: Economic Instruments to Support Investment in Green Stormwater Infrastructure 2017

By Seth Brown, Storm & Stream Solutions, LLC and Carrie Sanneman, Williamette Partnership

Urban stormwater runoff is one of the most significant environmental issues facing communities today.  Flooding, water supply, water quality, habitat degradation, and other impacts associated with runoff are increasing due to urbanization, more episodic climatic regime, and rising temperatures.

Communities are in need of cost-effective and innovative ways to drive investment and implementation of green infrastructure for stormwater management.  This report summarizes how stormwater managers can work with market forces, applying “economic instruments” to address these critical issues and meet their program goals.  Economic instruments recognize and deliberately work within the economic system to create action or drive investment that meets environmental goals.  They include the use of rebates, subsides, trading, and mitigation.  Economic instruments are a useful tool for stormwater managers because they can:

  • Increase the coverage of green infrastructure on both public and private lands, for new development and urban retrofits;
  • Provide flexibility for regulated entities trying to meet stormwater requirements;
  • Provide a vehicle for both public and private investments; and
  • Enhance the efficiency of delivering benefits associated with stormwater infrastructure.

Incentives-based approaches motivate the installation of stormwater controls by offering cost avoidance, financial gain, or program/project support.  Stormwater programs often use rebates, subsidies, or project/logistical support as an incentive for private parties to install green infrastructure.  Mitigation or credit-based approaches are those in which stormwater benefits are quantified as a currency or “credit” and traded between parties to mitigate or offset regulatory requirements.  This creates an incentive for pollution controls to occur where it is most cost-effective to do so.  These programs provide flexibility for regulated parties and create an incentive to develop new, more cost effective methods to reduce pollution and/or control stormwater volume.  

Read more about Willamette Partnership publications resources.

 

New Report: Catalyzing Green Infrastructure on Private Property

October 2017

The NRDC and the New York University Stern Center for Sustainable Business have released a new report with recommendations for stimulating wide spread use of green infrastructure on private property, to help reduce stormwater runoff from existing development.  The report presents an innovative approach to a large-scale green infrastructure grant program, which can be adapted by cities around the US, which engages the private sector, community-based organizations, and the affordable housing sector.

The report offers ways to leverage green infrastructure retrofit efforts with other local green building and sustainability initiatives.  The report is based on over 250 expert interviews, stakeholder meetings, and the work of a NRDC finance analyst working from the offices of the NYC Dept. of Environmental Protection.  A blog summarizing the report can be found here.

 

Green Infrastructure Wizard Connects Communities to Resources

EPA released a new web-based tool, the Green Infrastructure Wizard (GIWiz), to help local officials and community members find tools and resources more easily. GIWiz offers quick, direct access to Green Infrastructure tools and resources that can support and promote water management and community planning decisions. Users can produce customized reports that include links to the resources they want to use.  Click to Use the Wizard to search for resources for your community.

 

Flood Loss Avoidance Benefits of Green Infrastructure for Stormwater Management

December 2015

This EPA modeling study estimates the flood loss avoidance benefits from application of small storm retention practices for new development and redevelopment nationwide. Twenty HUC8 watersheds were modeled in areas where significant growth is expected between 2020 and 2040, using the FEMA Hazus model and national-scale datasets. The area of the watersheds ranges between 500 and 3,000 square miles. The study was conducted in consultation with other federal agencies including the US Army Corps of Engineers,  NOAA, and FEMA.

The approach was vetted by a panel of experts from government, academia, and industry. The results show that, over time, the use of green stormwater infrastructure can save hundreds of millions of dollars in flood losses, while just applying the practices to new development and redevelopment only. If retrofitting were to occur, the avoided losses would be even more significant. Download the document: Flood Loss Avoidance Benefits of Green Infrastructure for Stormwater Management.

 

 

 

 

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