EPA Announces $950,000 for Green Infrastructure Projects

Since 2007, EPA has actively engaged with public and private partners to promote the implementation of sustainable stormwater infrastructure. EPA renewed its commitment to green infrastructure in April of 2011 with the release of an updated Strategic Agenda and the initiation of 10 community partnerships. EPA recognizes local practitioners as the leaders in the implementation of multi-functional green infrastructure and seeks to foster continued innovation through information exchange and the removal of key barriers.

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced today that it is providing $950,000 to help 17 communities expand green infrastructure use to improve water quality and protect people’s health and benefit communities. Green infrastructure uses vegetation and soil to manage rainwater where it falls, keeping polluted stormwater from entering sewer systems and waterways in local communities. The EPA funding is intended to increase incorporation of green infrastructure into stormwater management programs, protect water quality, and provide community benefits including job creation and neighborhood revitalization.

“Effective stormwater management is one of the most widespread challenges to water quality in the nation,” said Nancy Stoner, EPA’s Acting Assistant Administrator for Water. She announced the funds today at a stormwater symposium in Baltimore held by the Water Environment Federation. “Polluted stormwater can be harmful to the health of our nation’s waterbodies. These funds will help expand the use of green infrastructure, revitalize local neighborhoods and help safeguard people’s health and the environment.”

EPA is awarding the funds to diverse communities across 16 states. Some communities – like Beaufort, South Carolina and Neosho, Missouri – are small towns in urban growth areas interested in preserving and protecting their healthy waterways. Others – such as Camden, New Jersey and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania – are large cities interested in adding green infrastructure into their redevelopment projects to restore degraded urban waters and help revitalize their communities. The selected communities also provide an opportunity to demonstrate the potential of green infrastructure across a range of climate zones.

Green infrastructure captures and filters pollutants by passing stormwater through soils and retaining it on site. Effective 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 green infrastructure to supplement or substitute for single-purpose “gray” infrastructure investments such as pipes, filters, and ponds.

In April 2011, EPA renewed its commitment to green infrastructure with the release of the “Strategic Agenda to Protect Waters and Build More Livable Communities through Green Infrastructure.” The agenda identifies community partnerships as one of five key activities that EPA will pursue to accelerate the implementation of green infrastructure and EPA announced partnerships with 10 “model communities.”

In February 2012, EPA announced the availability of $950,000 in technical assistance to a second set of partner communities to help overcome some of the most common barriers to green infrastructure. EPA received letters of interest from over 150 communities across the country.

Barnstable, MA
Partner: Cape Cod Commission
Summary: The Cape Cod Commission has requested assistance in identifying and designing cost effective green infrastructure projects in order to help restore nitrogen impacted estuaries. The projects will be located in environmental justice communities.
Assistance Amount: $75,000

Franklin, MA
Partner: Town of Franklin
Summary: Franklin has requested assistance in developing a “Green Stormwater Infrastructure Implementation Strategy” that quantifies the benefits of existing green infrastructure, identifies opportunities for future placement, and/or assesses barriers in local codes and ordinances.
Assistance Amount: $50,000

Sanford, ME
Partner: Town of Sanford
Summary: Sanford has requested assistance in redesigning a former mill complex that drains to the Mousam River in order to revitalize the river as a recreational, ecological and economic asset.
Assistance Amount: $40,000

Camden, NJ
Partner: Cooper’s Ferry Partnership
Summary: The Copper’s Ferry Partnership has requested assistance in quantifying the benefits of green infrastructure, assessing local codes and ordinances, and developing design guidance to promote the use of green infrastructure.
Assistance Amount: $70,000

Pittsburgh, PA
Partner: Pittsburgh UNITED and 3 Rivers Wet Weather
Summary: Pittsburgh UNITED and 3 Rivers Wet Weather have requested assistance in evaluating the costs and benefits of green infrastructure in order to integrate green infrastructure into wet weather planning for the City of Pittsburgh and the 82 suburban municipalities within the Allegheny County Sanitary Authority (ALCOSAN).
Assistance Amount: $75,000

Atlanta, GA
Partner: City of Atlanta
Summary: Atlanta has requested assistance in developing a conceptual design for a green infrastructure project in a priority watershed in order to help revitalize distressed neighborhoods and reduce flooding and CSOs.
Assistance Amount: $50,000

Beaufort, SC
Partner: City of Beaufort
Summary: Beaufort has requested assistance in identifying and designing green infrastructure practices appropriate for the historic Northwest Quadrant in order to address flooding and preserve marsh and river ecosystems.
Assistance Amount: $50,000

Holland, MI
Partner: Macatawa Area Coordinating Council
Summary: The Macatawa Area Coordinating Council has requested assistance in conducting code and ordinance reviews with MS4 permittees in order to educate local decision-makers on the impact of codes and ordinances on green infrastructure implementation.
Assistance Amount: $50,000

La Crosse, WI
Partner: City of La Crosse
Summary: La Crosse has requested assistance in modeling green infrastructure interventions in a flood-prone drainage area in order to help adapt to changing climate, improve downstream water quality, and improve neighborhood walkability.
Assistance Amount: $75,000

Dallas, TX
Partner: City of Dallas
Summary: Dallas has requested assistance in integrating three uncoordinated design manuals developed by different city departments into one manual in order to reduce obstacles to designing and developing green infrastructure.
Assistance Amount: $70,000

Omaha, NE
Partner: City of Omaha
Summary: Omaha has requested assistance in developing tools and guidance that help identify opportunities for cost-effective green infrastructure and ensure that green infrastructure is built properly.
Assistance Amount: $70,000

Neosho, MO
Partner: City of Neosho
Summary: Neosho has requested assistance in conducting a code and ordinance review and developing a design guide for priority conservation areas in order to maintain the City’s high quality waters and reduce flood-related damage.
Assistance Amount: $30,000

Denver, CO
Partner: Urban Land Conservancy
Summary: The Urban Land Conservancy has requested assistance in identifying and designing an appropriate suite of green infrastructure practices for the Blake Transit Oriented Development project.
Assistance Amount: $50,000

Phoenix, AZ
Partner: City of Phoenix
Summary: Phoenix has requested assistance in conducting a code and ordinance review in order to educate decision-makers in the arid southwest on the barriers posed by local codes.
Assistance Amount: $35,000

Los Angeles, CA
Partner: The Council for Watershed Health
Summary: The Council for Watershed Health has requested assistance in conducting a review of codes, ordinances, and groundwater basin adjudications in order to allow for more systematic implementation of green infrastructure.
Assistance Amount: $35,000

Portland, OR
Partner: City of Portland
Summary: Portland has requested assistance in developing and modeling green infrastructure opportunities for a 30 acre brownfield redevelopment project in order to advance the integration of green infrastructure into the remediation and redevelopment of the Portland Harbor Superfund area.
Assistance Amount: $50,000

Seattle, WA
Partner: City of Seattle
Summary: Seattle has requested assistance in assessing the environmental benefits associated with the city’s extensive network of green infrastructure in order to improve modeling tools and cost comparison methodologies.
Assistance Amount: $75,000

Source: US EPA