By Anna McGeehan
“We all live downstream.” In the world of stormwater management, this concept is particularly relevant. Polluted waterways have far-reaching impacts for us all. Increased flooding, higher water treatment costs, strain on existing infrastructure, beach closures, and decreased biodiversity all pose significant and costly threats to communities, towns, cities, and states.
Green Infrastructure (GI), an alternative to traditional urban growth designs, is receiving considerable attention as a cost-effective way to reduce pollution, manage stormwater runoff, improve water quality, and maximize infrastructure investments. GI is an affordable mitigation strategy that uses a variety of techniques, such as native vegetation, rain gardens, bioswales, or porous pavement, to add unique aesthetic value to new or revitalized development site. The EFC’s comprehensive catalog of over 50 GI publications highlights several cities that are leading the country through their use of innovative, comprehensive, and effective GI strategies.
However, outside of these featured case studies, GI projects remain largely piecemeal and single-scale. Further, the EFC’s review of GI literature reveals that there is a perception among many local communities that GI technologies are still emerging and lack a prescriptive framework, and that they can be cost-prohibitive when compared to the traditional pipe and treatment design.
With these concerns in mind, many communities interested in GI are left wondering, “What might a Green Infrastructure project look like in this community?”