The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced it will award $860,000 to help 14 communities expand their use of green infrastructure to reduce water pollution and boost resilience to the impacts of climate change. The funding supports President Obama’s Climate Action Plan, which directs federal agencies to support community-based preparedness and resilience efforts across the country.
“Investing in green infrastructure pays off for our environment and our economy. It reduces water pollution and energy consumption while creating jobs,” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. “These investments help local communities build resilient systems to protect from severe storms, floods, and other impacts of climate change.”
In the last three years, EPA has provided $2.2 million to 37 communities for green infrastructure. This new funding continues the agency’s support for communities using green infrastructure to reduce water pollution and protect human health while increasing economic activity and neighborhood revitalization, job creation, energy savings, and open space. Green infrastructure builds resilience to the impacts of climate change, in large part by reducing the burden on local water infrastructure.
The 14 communities are:
- Ada County, Idaho - EPA assistance will help explore storm water mitigation techniques, concepts, and financing options to support green infrastructure in an area undergoing redevelopment.
- Albuquerque, N.M. – EPA assistance will help with the design and specifications of a rooftop vegetable garden, which will recycle captured rainwater for irrigation.
- Bath, Maine - EPA assistance will help produce a feasibility study and conceptual design for a green infrastructure project in order to mitigate flooding and combined sewer overflows while stabilizing and improving the neighborhood.
- Buffalo, N.Y. – EPA assistance will help develop a protocol and institutional controls for post-demolition storm water assessments to verify stormwater control performance and ensure that properties retain their stormwater control during redevelopment.
- Clarkesville, Ga. - EPA assistance will help design green infrastructure solutions for a highly impervious downtown area within a small community.
- Denver – EPA assistance will support the completion of green infrastructure practice criteria suited for ultra-urban environments and transportation projects including design elements, maintenance procedures and schedules.
- Fall River, Mass. – EPA assistance will help with the evaluation and concept design of tree plantings to address combined sewer overflows, storm water and air quality issues, urban heat island effect and climate change adaptation.
- Iowa City, Iowa – EPA assistance will help develop conceptual designs for green infrastructure practices for a riverfront property prone to flooding, which is being converted into park space.
- Milwaukee, Wis. - EPA assistance will help develop a model utility operation and maintenance plan to ensure green infrastructure practices are properly maintained and effective in reducing storm water runoff.
- Norfolk, Va. – EPA assistance will help identify green infrastructure alternatives to improve water quality and address shoreline erosion for a waterway in an urban area with a need to plan for how changes in sea level rise will affect green infrastructure methodology.
- Pueblo de Cochiti, N.M. – EPA assistance will help prepare a plan that will integrate green infrastructure into land use planning, storm water management, infrastructure improvements, transportation planning and open space for community members.
- Saint Paul, Minnesota – EPA assistance will help produce a green infrastructure feasibility study for a waterfront stormwater park in a vacated industrial area undergoing redevelopment.
- Santa Monica, Calif. - EPA assistance will help develop a conceptual design for a 100,000- gallon storage tank that will be used to harvest stormwater from a storm drain system, reducing runoff and replacing potable water used to irrigate parkland.
- Scranton, Penn. - EPA assistance will help incorporate green infrastructure included under the city’s combined sewer overflow long-term control plan into a comprehensive master plan for a newly developing arts district.
Green infrastructure decreases pollution to local waterways by treating rain where it falls and keeping polluted storm water from entering sewer systems. Green infrastructure tools and techniques include green roofs, permeable materials, alternative designs for streets and buildings, trees, rain gardens and rain harvesting systems. Communities are increasingly using innovative green infrastructure to supplement or substitute for “gray” infrastructure such as pipes, filters and ponds.