By Anna McGeehan, Environmental Finance Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, April 2014
“We all live downstream.” In the world of stormwater management, this concept is particularly relevant. Polluted waterways have far-reaching impacts for us all. Increased flooding, higher water treatment costs, strain on existing infrastructure, beach closures, and decreased biodiversity all pose significant and costly threats to communities, towns, cities, and states.
Green Infrastructure (GI), an alternative to traditional urban growth designs, is receiving considerable attention as a cost-effective way to reduce pollution, manage stormwater runoff, improve water quality, and maximize infrastructure investments. GI is an affordable mitigation strategy that uses a variety of techniques, such as native vegetation, rain gardens, bioswales, or porous pavement, to add unique aesthetic value to new or revitalized development site. The EFC’s comprehensive catalog of over 50 GI publications highlights several cities that are leading the country through their use of innovative, comprehensive, and effective GI strategies.