Sarah specializes in natural resource policy and economics.
Clean water is one of the most important and vital resources for communities. One of the growing threats to clean water in many communities is stormwater runoff. When buildings, roads, and parking lots replace fields and forests, rainwater is not longer able to soak into the ground. Instead, it runs off to storm drains and ditches, carrying with it dust, oil, and trash. It eventually empties into creeks and rivers, warmer and dirtier than it otherwise would have been.
Increasingly, developers and engineers are integrating “green infrastructure” management approaches mimic the natural hydrologic cycle processes of infiltration and evapotranspiration. In some cases, these techniques offer a greater benefits to traditional stormwater management approaches using pipes and treatment plants. Understanding the magnitude of these benefits, in economic terms, is crucial for developers and city planners to implement green infrastructure more frequently.
American Rivers, with funding from the Joyce Foundation and the Campbell Foundation, approached ECONorthwest to help tell this story from the perspectives of communities in the Great Lakes watershed (Ann Arbor and Milwaukee) and in the Chesapeake Bay watershed (Montgomery County, Prince George’s County, and Washington DC). These communities have incorporated green infrastructure techniques into their stormwater management systems.
ECONorthwest identified existing green infrastructure projects and the types of ecosystem services they provide. For each type of ecosystem service benefit, we applied a methodology developed by the Center for Neighborhood Technology to describe and, where possible, estimate the economic value of existing and potential green infrastructure.
Our analysis indicated that green infrastructure can provide communities with a range of benefits with real and substantial economic value. This evidence can help these communities and others better understand the potential benefits they might achieve from undertaking green infrastructure programs. It can also help them to identify financing opportunities and implementation tools to leverage greater benefits and increases in efficiency at the community, watershed, and regional scale.
Benefits of Green Infrastructure: Salty Is Not A Good Thing
American Rivers (Blog). May 2, 2012. Amy Trice.
Saving Cash with Green Stormwater Solutions
Sighline Daily. April 30, 2012. Lisa Stiffler.
Green Infrastructure Could Save Cities Billions
The Atlantic. April 23, 2012. Nate Berg.
Greenroofs.com's "This Week in Review" on GreenroofsTV: April 13, 2012
Greenroofs.com. April 16, 2012. Linda Velazquez.
Green Infrastructure Report Highlights Economic, Community Benefits
FacilityBlog. April 12, 2012. Heidi Schwartz.
Report: Green Infrastructure Saves Money
Digital Journal. April 12, 2012.
Report: Green infrastructure saves money while improving clean water
WaterWorld. April 12, 2012.
Green In The Bank--Releasing A New Report On Green Infrastructure Today
American Rivers (Blog). April 12, 2012. Jeffrey Odefey.
Save the Sound Green Infrastructure Feasibility Scan of New Haven Relased
Branford Patch. April 11, 2012. CT Fund for the Environment.