Successful and Beneficial Green Infrastructure
Most people are familiar with “gray” water infrastructure — the hard, concrete and metal pipes, holding tanks, pumps, water tunnels, and treatment plants. These systems play a key role in managing drinking water, wastewater and combined-sewer systems.
“Green” infrastructure is a newer approach to stormwater management that mimics nature by capturing stormwater so it can either be reused or seep into the ground where it falls, rather than flowing into underground sewer and storm pipes. Methods for stormwater capture include rain gardens, pervious pavement, planted swales, and storage containers such as cisterns and rain barrels. Green-infrastructure features can help reduce stress on water systems and can provide good local jobs, as well as making the communities where they’re installed healthier and more beautiful.
Both gray and green infrastructure are important components of water infrastructure systems statewide. Communities with combined sewer systems in particular will be evaluating gray- and green-infrastructure approaches to come up with the best combination that meets regulatory requirements cost-effectively and in a manner that provides tangible community benefits.
New Jersey Green Streets Case Studies
As of 2019, 151 municipalities in New Jersey have adopted complete streets policies, but most have not incorporated green streets language or requirements into their policies. Municipalities can enhance their roadways by incorporating green streets practices into their complete streets designs. Green streets can help meet regulatory requirements for stormwater management, provide important environmental and public health benefits, and provide social and economic benefits. These case studies show how 3 New Jersey communities—Hoboken, Highland Park, and Camden—planned and implemented green streets to achieve some of the benefits described.
Green Infrastructure Recommendations for Consideration within the Green Acres Reauthorization
In July 2020, the Jersey Water Works Green Infrastructure Committee sent recommendations for consideration by the Department of Environmental Protection to the re-authorization of the Green Acres rules. The Green Infrastructure subcommittee focused its efforts to understand the limitations of the current rule towards green infrastructure, and propose revisions that integrate green infrastructure into the Green Acres grant application process while being consistent with the intent of the program and collect information on existing green infrastructure projects in parks. The document outlines suggested revisions to the Green Acres re-authorization to include and encourage, when appropriate, the evaluation and prioritization of green infrastructure and green stormwater infrastructure practices for conservation purposes regarding watershed protection.
Unlocking Green Infrastructure: An Applicant’s Guide to Obtaining Water Bank Funding for Green Infrastructure Projects
This Applicant’s Guide is intended for any municipality, utility authority or other eligible entity with an interest in obtaining financing for green infrastructure projects from the New Jersey Water Bank. It offers a “roadmap” for applicants by providing information in one place regarding what is involved in getting from an initial funding query through to final construction dollars. The Applicant’s Guide may also be helpful for entities interested in financing traditional gray infrastructure projects. Other critical resources for developing a funding application include the Water Bank website, the current year’s Intended Use Plan, and DEP’s Stormwater Best Practices Manual (BMP), all of which are linked in the FAQs section below.
Green Infrastructure Municipal Toolkit
The Green Infrastructure Municipal Toolkit is a one-stop online resource useful to any community in New Jersey, whether new to the opportunities green infrastructure presents or already implementing GI and seeking more specific expert guidance. The toolkit includes detailed information and a variety of tools that cities and towns can use to plan, implement, and sustain green infrastructure in public- and private-sector development projects.
Accounting for Trees in Stormwater Models
This paper, Accounting for Trees in Stormwater Models, is intended to help the stormwater engineering community more easily account for trees in runoff and pollutant load calculations so that they can more readily incorporate them into their stormwater management strategies.
Funded by the US Forest Service, the paper was developed with input from experts in stormwater engineering and urban forestry. This paper further augments a robust collection of resources the Center for Watershed Protection completed in 2017 on “Making Urban Trees Count”, which includes a comprehensive literature review and research-based tools for crediting trees in stormwater and water quality management programs.