In September 2015 New Jersey Future launched its newest initiative: the Mainstreaming Green Infrastructure project. The goal of the project is to make green infrastructure (GI) the first choice for stormwater management in New Jersey.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency defines green infrastructure as “an approach to stormwater management that is cost-effective, sustainable, and environmentally friendly. Green infrastructure projects capture, filter, absorb, and reuse stormwater to maintain or mimic natural systems and to treat runoff as a resource.”
Types of green infrastructure include techniques that allow water to infiltrate, such as biorentention systems, green roofs, porous pavement, rain gardens, and vegetated swales; and techniques that harvest rainwater for reuse, including rain barrels and cisterns.
According to the EPA, these approaches “can simultaneously help filter air pollutants, reduce energy demands, mitigate urban heat islands, and sequester carbon while also providing communities with aesthetic and natural resource benefits.”
Green infrastructure can also provide economic and societal benefits, rounding out its “triple bottom line” value. As compared to grey infrastructure (conventional piped drainage systems), GI can make the difference in nuisance flooding, thus avoiding the replacement or expansion of aged infrastructure—a costly endeavor. Green infrastructure can also increase property values by creating safer and more beautiful places for people to live and work.
New Jersey Future’s Mainstreaming Green Infrastructure project, largely funded by the William Penn Foundation, has three major components:
- Towns: New Jersey Future is selecting pilot towns, with which we will work directly, to provide education, training and direct technical assistance to improve water quality, reduce flooding and create vibrant, healthy communities through the use of green infrastructure.
- Developers’ Green Infrastructure Task Force: New Jersey Future is working directly with developers to promote and advance the implementation of green infrastructure and to encourage the group members to act as ambassadors to the industry.
- Demonstration Projects: New Jersey Future will facilitate and accelerate demonstration projects that show innovative and effective use of green infrastructure in public-and private-sector settings.
Recently, New Jersey Future issued a request for qualifications to allow it to assemble a team of experts in green stormwater infrastructure design and engineering, planning, and law to support the project.
More about New Jersey Future’s Mainstreaming Green Infrastructure project can be found on the project’s webpage and its downloadable factsheet. For more information please contact Green Infrastructure Manager Louise Wilson or Planning and Policy Associate Kandyce Perry.