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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.

Resources

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.

A Review of New Jersey Water Bank Financing for Green Infrastructure Projects

This report issued by New Jersey Future, A Review of New Jersey Water Bank Financing for Green Infrastructure Projects, is the culmination of a year-long partnership with I-Bank and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection to improve access to the program’s low-cost green infrastructure financing and continues to move the I-Bank into innovative areas of lending beyond traditional “gray” infrastructure.

Read more about the project here.

Green Infrastructure & Health Guide

This guide, Green Infrastructure & Health, provides some general principles, best practices, and experiences about how best to use green infrastructure to promote better health equity. It is designed for use by managers, engineers, community organizations, planners, and others who are siting, designing, building, and stewarding green infrastructure in urban areas and rural towns across Canada and the United States. The guide is a product of several Green Infrastructure Leadership Exchange cities coming together to build stronger partnerships between green infrastructure providers and health providers. The guide is organized in sections that can help green infrastructure providers and their partners answer important questions about how green infrastructure can improve health.

Menu of State Policy Options for Green Infrastructure

This document produced by the U.S. Green Building Council, Menu of State Policy Options for Green Infrastructure, is an introduction to leading policy practices to harness the benefits of green infrastructure and achieve greater sustainability outcomes through high-performing buildings and infrastructure. The resource can help state legislatures take decisive action to expand green infrastructure practices.

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