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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.

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USDA Tools to Support Source Water Protection

Although all methods of source water protection are important, this document from American Water Works Association, USDA Tools to Support Source Water Protection, focuses specifically on collaborations between water systems and the agricultural community, which includes farmers, ranchers, forest landowners and their partners. We encourage utilities seeking information on source water protection practices to review AWWA’s Source Water Protection Resource Community as well as AWWA’s G300 standard on source water protection and to consult with relevant state and local partners.

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Great Urban Parks Campaign Resources

The National Recreation and Park Association in cooperation with the American Planning Association and the Low Impact Development Center as part of the Great Urban Parks Campaign has produced a number of new resources on green infrastructure stormwater management in parks and on public lands. (Click link to access resources.)

These downloadable resources include:

  • a Resource Guide to Planning, Designing and Implementing Green Infrastructure in Parks;
  • three briefing papers;
  • and four case studies organized by topic on green infrastructure projects in parks in Atlanta, Baltimore, Denver and Pittsburgh.

There are other resources including downloadable infographics, links to a webinar series on GI in parks, and related reports and articles about green infrastructure in parks. This suite of resources will be of interest to anyone working on green infrastructure stormwater management projects on public lands or in parks.


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Jersey Water Works Social Media Toolkit on Water Infrastructure

The Jersey Water Works Community Engagement Committee has compiled memes, posts and tweets that can be used to help you raise awareness about combined-sewer overflow pollution, flooding, runoff and the need for water infrastructure investment. Our goal is to engage stakeholders and the public in water infrastructure issues.

Use these posts, tweets and memes strategically on days like; “Imagine a Day without Water” to educate the public on water infrastructure issues. We recommend that you always include images and appropriate hashtags with all of your social media posts to increase engagement.

For posting times, organizations should follow what works best as a result of your own internal analytics, but in general: Facebook: weekdays, especially Thursdays and Fridays in the midday hours between 12pm and 3pm. Twitter: weekdays around lunch and after work hours, multiple times a day. Instagram: weekdays after work hours. Many social media management platforms, such as Tweetdeck and Buffer, will allow you to schedule these in advance.

Help people connect the dots during heavy rainstorms with posts that highlight the connection between our aging water infrastructure and flooding, and keep the discussion going on the need to invest in our water infrastructure.

We’ve also included a list of annual events, both national and international, around which we can organize our efforts.


Suggested Tweets:

Suggested Facebook posts (Always include images and appropriate hashtags with all of your social media posts to increase engagement):

Monthly water related events calendar:

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Educational Resources for the Classroom Inside and Outside of School

Educational Resources for the Classroom Inside and Outside of School

The Jersey Water Works Community Engagement Committee worked with a New Jersey Future intern to compile educational resources on water infrastructure that can be used inside and outside of school. We separated the content by what we thought would be most useful for inside and outside of the classroom. Videos, for example, are in the section for outside of the classroom but could be used to supplement a classroom lesson as well. In addition, there are sets of activities for students across grades, which have been further subdivided into categories: Non-Point Source Solutions; Stormwater; Water Cycle; Water Supply and Wastewater; Watershed; Water Quality; and Miscellaneous.

Resources for outside the classroom, by subject:

Resources for inside the classroom:


Check out the classroom resources compiled by DC Water here.

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DC Water Materials — Connecting with Stakeholders on Water Infrastructure

In Fall 2016, experts from DC Water’s consulting arm,  Blue Drop, conducted five workshops for New Jersey’s cities and utilities on how to successfully make the case for water infrastructure investment that were co-presented by Jersey Water Works the NJ Urban Mayors Association and the NJ Department of Environmental Protection.

The DC Water representatives shared key communications strategies and techniques they used to build public support for Clean Rivers, including branding and visual identity, ways to celebrate success, effective public meetings and the use of social media. Leading the workshops was Alan Heyman, chief marketing officer at DC Water; John Lisle, chief of external affairs; Ted Coyle, a multimedia specialist at the authority; and Emanuel Briggs, DC Water’s community outreach manager.

The workshops included:

  • Three local kick-off meetings hosted by Mayor Christian Bollwage of Elizabeth, Mayor John Labrosse of Hackensack and Mayor Eric Jackson of Trenton.
  • A full-day workshop, tailored specifically for officials and employees of cities and utilities with combined-sewer systems.
  • A two-hour overview workshop, tailored to community groups and nonprofit organizations.

“Participation and investment begin with public awareness.” – Hackensack Mayor John P. Labrosse Jr.

After a competitive application process, one-on-one consulting was provided to the City of  Newark, the City of Jersey City and the Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission.


Customizable Resources:

Below you’ll find example publications from DC Water and “raw files” of illustrations that you can insert into your local outreach materials.



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Communications Resources for Funding Stormwater Management

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Funding stormwater management and updating stormwater infrastructure are important parts of ensuring communities have clean water and waterways; healthy, safe neighborhoods; local jobs; flood and climate resilience; and economic growth. Inadequate infrastructure and more extreme precipitation caused by climate change intensifies the impacts of poor stormwater management: street and basement flooding, polluted waterways and impaired waterfront recreation, affecting public health, private property and the local economy.

Stormwater management utilizes gray infrastructure (like storm drains and pipes), green infrastructure (like rain gardens and cisterns), and best management practices (like regular street sweeping) to capture rainwater or allow it to drain more quickly. Building, maintaining and expanding stormwater infrastructure requires a financial investment but allows communities to avoid the costly impacts of flooding, property damage, and pollution.

In New Jersey, most stormwater infrastructure is funded by property tax proceeds that are directed to the local public works department. In areas with combined sewer systems, sewer utility revenues are also used. But in almost 1,500 municipalities in 40 states and Canadian provinces, local governments collect funds based on properties’ runoff generation. These revenues are then dedicated to stormwater infrastructure improvements. The programs often offer credits to property owners who manage stormwater on-site, thus creating an incentive for green infrastructure projects (which also have other community benefits).

The successful implementation of stormwater-management funding mechanisms offers lessons for communities that need to resolve flooding, pollution and other stormwater impacts. The principal lesson is the importance of engaging with the public early and often, and communicating clearly. This section of the website offers a host of communications resources for stormwater-management funding initiatives, including case studies, results of public opinion polls, guidance documents, free online courses, templates, customizable handouts, illustrative photos and other resources.

If you have any questions on how to navigate the resources below, or can suggest others to add, please contact Ed DiFiglia.

Communications Resources for Funding Stormwater Management

Background and Survey Reports

  • When a Band-aid’s Not Enough: Implementing Stormwater Utilities in the Great Lakes Basin – 2016
    • This report contains community outreach tools, sample utility ordinance language and guidance for building public support from American Rivers.
  • Stormwater Utility Survey – Western Kentucky University – 2014
    • This report surveyed basic information, such as fees, population and year created, from 1,491 U.S. stormwater utilities (SWUs) and 19 Canadian SWUs. It identifies a lack of clear statutory authority as a major obstacle for SWU formation. In addition, it recommends that states like Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York should create clear statutory authority while Hurricane Sandy is fresh in everyone’s minds.
  • Stormwater Utility Survey – Black & Veatch – 2014
    • This survey of municipalities with established stormwater user charge programs identified three key priorities for the stormwater-management industry: the availability of adequate funding, enhanced public support for stormwater management, and management of expanding regulatory requirements. The report also identifies regulatory compliance; flood control; and safety and reliability as top drivers for investment.
  • Maryland Voter Poll on Stormwater Remediation Fee – OpinionWorks, LLC – 2015
    • This statewide poll identifies an overwhelming lack of public understanding of the stormwater remediation fee in Maryland. The poll finds that inaccurate understandings of the fee have greatly elevated opposition. But when facts are presented, a plurality of 46% support the fee, and opposition drops to only about 35% of voters.

Guidance Documents

  • Getting to Green: Paying for Green Infrastructure – EPA – 2014
    • This report provides an overview of various funding sources that can be used to support stormwater management programs or to finance individual projects. Each type of funding source is illustrated by several municipal programs and a list of additional resources for each is included.
  • Stormwater Fee Literature Review – Water Words That Work LLC – Pennsylvania
    • The literature review covers extensive research on how the public and businesses react to the introduction of a stormwater utility fee. The report examines successful arguments and common questions and concerns of residents, businesses and local governments. The report makes recommendations and highlights best practices for how to communicate a stormwater fee to the public.
    • “Selling” Stormwater Authorities: Tips for Gaining Community Support – Powerpoint – Water Words That Work LLC – 2014
      • This presentation, given to local officials, reviews the research by Water Words That Work LLC. It makes five recommendations on how to communicate a stormwater fee to a community.
  • Stormwater Fees: An Equitable Path to a Sustainable Wastewater System – SPUR – 2012
    • This report becomes relevant in the “Implementation Considerations” chapter. An economic analysis of the effect of stormwater fees on property owners is an important step that allows utilities and residents to understand the impact of the fees. Analysis from the Philadelphia Water Department suggested that such an analysis would have allowed them to be better prepared for resident complaints.
  • Stormwater Program Funding: Forming a Successful Stormwater Utility – Forester Media – 2015
    • This white paper is a step-by-step review of how to set up a stormwater fee. It discusses multiple sources of funding, overcoming legal challenges, lessons from successful utilities and setting an appropriate rate structure. The paper also highlights best practices on public outreach.
  • Local Government Stormwater Financing Manual: A Process for Program Reform – EFC – 2014
    • This manual is written for local government leaders, and provides background information about a paradigm shift under way in stormwater management that consists of increased evidence of the impacts and opportunities that stormwater creates for communities as well as increased regulations and citizen interest. It also provides a process model for being effective leaders in creating policies and programs to finance that shift.


Online Courses

    • The Building Blocks of an Effective Stormwater Management Program – 2015
      • This free 1.5-hour online course is designed to provide skills to establish effective stormwater management programs as well as innovative ideas to identify untapped opportunities. The course covers communicating the basics and provides examples of successful programs.

Case Studies and Examples

  • Businesses Fear Huge Bills From Stormwater Fee – CBS Baltimore – 2013
    • This news article articulate the concerns of the business community about stormwater fees, and highlights the arguments against implementation of such a fee.
  • Financial Tools to Support Adaptation: Stormwater Charges and Fees – CCACoP Webinar – Mississauga – 2016
    • This webinar considers marketing a stormwater fee in Mississauga, Canada. It offers recommendations that can be generalized. The webinar suggests explaining the water system, the need to maintain the system and the stormwater fee calculation as a fair way to address water issues. The webinar uses images to familiarize the viewer with the water system, the problem and the solutions. Refer to the resources file for the downloadable webinar.
  • Financing Stormwater Retrofits in Philadelphia and Beyond – NRDC – 2012
    • This report explores how cities can attract billions of dollars in private investment in stormwater retrofits. It explains how Philadelphia’s stormwater billing structure laid the groundwork for innovative financing mechanisms that can underwrite the capital costs of green infrastructure retrofits, and includes recommendations for local and state officials to stimulate private investment.
  • Getting past the ‘rain tax’ rhetoric – Baltimore Sun – 2013
    • This opinion piece explains why financing stormwater is important and why cities and utilities have new obligations to address stormwater issues.
  • Municipal Online Stormwater Training Center – Case Studies – MOST – 2015
    • This website is a compilation of case studies of stormwater management program implementation efforts in 19 communities in Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania. Most of the case studies serve as updates on stormwater management efforts and are between two and three pages in length.
  • Stormwater Utility Update Presentation – City of Victoria, British Columbia – 2013
    • This presentation frames the stormwater issue, and explains why a stormwater fee is needed and what it will cost residents. It also reviews the successful green-infrastructure and community engagement practices the city employed to help the community address its stormwater issue.
  • Urban Water: Strategies That Work – The Urban Institute – 2013
    • This report reviews a series of stormwater workshops for community members in New Orleans that covered stormwater management practices and funding solutions. The last workshop, building off the others, included a session with elected official and stakeholders. The report covers lessons learned and highlights the value of these types of workshops as a community outreach tool.

Websites Dedicated to Stormwater Funding

  • Environmental Protection Agency Green Infrastructure Funding Page
    • This website offers information regarding federal funding sources. It also lists comprehensive guides, case studies, and training materials developed by government and nonprofit organizations to help explain the available funding options for local stormwater programs.
  • MOST Center
    • This is a free, virtual center that help communities implement effective stormwater management programs and overcome accessibility obstacles, budget restraints, and lack of expertise. The website provides interactive lessons, videos, graphics, knowledge checks, and other tools to deliver training content in an engaging, user-friendly format.
  • Value of Water Coalition
    • This organization provides detailed toolkits, reports and videos on how to communicate to and educate local decision-makers, stakeholders, and customers about the essential value of water and the need to invest in it.

Materials for Distribution to the Public




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