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Trees and Stormwater

Trees intercept rainfall and help increase infiltration and the ability of soil to store water. By retaining water in their canopy – even for a short time – trees can disperse precipitation over a longer time period and reduce velocity of the water when it does fall. This Trees and Stormwater website is organized so that you can both learn about using trees in stormwater management, and make the case for doing just that in your own community.
 
The Ohio Kentucky Indiana Regional Council of Governments (OKI) and its team of national partners are developing a guide for local decision makers to integrate trees into stormwater management design and policy applicable across the nation.
 
The guide is being designed to help overcome the widespread lack of understanding, acceptance, and credibility of using trees for managing stormwater by providing a practical tool that informs local decision makers of options and best practices for including trees in stormwater facility design regulations and policies.
 
This grant was funded in part by the USDA Forest Service’s National Urban and Community Forestry Challenge Cost Share Grant Program as recommended by the National Urban and Community Forestry Advisory Council.

Urban Tree Risk Management: A Community Guide to Program Design and Implementation

Urban Tree Risk Management: A Community Guide to Program Design and Implementation is a fully illustrated, easy to read training manual written for community leaders, administrators, city foresters, parks and public works staff, and private tree care practitioners. The manual is designed to assist communities design, adopt and implement tree risk management programs, and train field staff to detect, assess, and correct hazardous defects in urban trees. A team of experts in urban forestry, plant pathology and forest health collaborated to produce this manual. Consulting arborists, city foresters, and educators provided extensive review to ensure the information applies to communities of varying sizes and budgets. Examples of tree defects, risk rating systems, and species selection were chosen to depict tree species and conditions that occur in the Northeastern U.S.

Step-by-Step Guide to Integrating Community Input into Green Infrastructure Projects

Environmental Law Institute (ELI) and its partner Amigos Bravos drafted this guide to help local governments integrate community input into their green infrastructure projects. It sets out eight steps that local governments can take and, for each step, provides details and tips to help local governments as they move through the process.

Stormwater Repository

The Calumet Stormwater Collaborative repository data and tools section provides accessible stormwater resources that can be useful for data analysis, mapping, and to design and calculate the benefits of stormwater BMPs. Hyperlinked names take you to each resource.

Financing Green Infrastucture

This briefing paper from the National Recreation and Park Association provides guidance on financing green infrasturcture projects. The key messages were:

 

#1 The budgeting process must consider the differing life cycle characteristics between green and gray infrastructure.
#2 Local taxes, user fees, and stormwater utility fees are suitable for both capital and O&M expenses.
#3 Grants and state revolving funds or other low- to zero-interest loans may fund planning and capital costs.
#4 Nontraditional sources of financing, such as public-private partnerships and nongovernmental funding, allow communities to leverage public funding against foundation, corporate, and community contributions.

New Jersey Developers' Green Infrastructure Guide

Developers understand that land development projects in New Jersey must be designed to “manage” stormwater runoff. NJ DEP regulations require that stormwater management standards be met through the use of “nonstructural strategies,” to the “maximum extent practicable.” Green infrastructure helps you, the developer, to do just that. This Developers’ Green Infrastructure Guide created by New Jersey Future and New Jersey Builders Association is meant as a resource to help you incorporate green infrastructure into your projects for maximum benefit.

Water Finance Clearinghouse

EPA’s Water Infrastructure and Resiliency Finance Center developed this resource as an easily navigable web-based portal to help communities locate information and resources that will assist then in making informed decisions for their drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater infrastructure needs. The Clearinghouse features two searchable data sets: one focused on available Federal, State, and local funding sources for water infrastructure and the second will contain Resources, such as reports, tools, and webinars on financing mechanisms and approaches. The Clearinghouse is updated in real-time, following a crowdsourcing model.

Green Infrastructure in Parks: a Guide to Collaboration, Funding, and Community Engagement

 
This guide from U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is a kind of “Green Infrastructure 101”. It summarizes the benefits of green infrastructure (GI), including economic, educational, and health benefits. It explains how GI can be less expensive and less difficult to maintain than gray infrastructure — or landscaping strategies that don’t take ecosystem services into account. The guide argues that incorporating GI into existing parks and green spaces provides habitat and ecosystem benefits for animals and plants, while also improving aesthetics and recreational amenities for local residents. It also provides excellent pointers for how to answer common questions about GI, either from concerned residents or potential partners or investors, then lays out the steps for undertaking a pilot project, and includes case studies with examples of successful ones completed in the past. It lists additional resources, including more technical guides, and includes a checklist for imagining what GI features would work best a potential site. We recommend that this guide be incorporated into staff training and used as a tool for introducing GI concepts to interested parties.
 
Citation: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Office of Wetlands, Oceans, and Watersheds. Green Infrastructure in Parks: a Guide to Collaboration, Funding, and Community Engagement. Vol. EPA-841-R-16-112. Washington, DC: USEPA, May 2017.

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