Green Infrastructure

Best Practices for Green Infrastructure O&M

Sound operations and maintenance (O&M) practices ensure the long-term success of green infrastructure investments. Maintenance concerns often center on best practices for preserving the hydrologic and water quality functions of green infrastructure. But administrative and social considerations also play a large role. For example, someone must maintain green infrastructure on private property. Also, green infrastructure practices must remain functional through the transfer of property from one owner to another. This webcast provides a general overview of best practices to consider when creating a green infrastructure O&M plan. It also covers specific lessons learned from early adopters of both regulatory and incentive approaches to ensuring proper O&M on both public and private property.


Session 1—Maintaining the Rain (in Milwaukee) that Stays Mainly on the Plain

Karen Sands, Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewage District (MMSD)

This presentation addresses MMSD's evolving approach to maintaining green infrastructure investments. MMSD, a regional agency covering 28 municipalities in southeastern Wisconsin, is a national leader in green infrastructure implementation. The discussion includes the history of MMSD’s O&M policy and practice as well as green infrastructure O&M practices that the 28 municipalities follow. While the district started with a little "on-the-books" policy, today it requires project proposals to contain maintenance plans and capital-funded project agreements to contain deed restrictions.

Session 2—O&M 101: Strategies to Improve Stormwater BMP Operations and Maintenance

Dr. William F. Hunt, Professor and Extension Specialist, North Carolina State University (NC State)

This presentation addresses basic strategies to maintain green infrastructure performance over time, including considering economies of scale and projected maintenance costs when developing an O&M plan. The discussion includes research at NC State comparing construction and maintenance costs for a variety of typical best management practices (BMPs), including detention ponds, constructed wetlands, bioretention, and sand filters.


Karen Sands is the manager of sustainability for the MMSD. In support of the district's mission, her responsibilities encompass green infrastructure, energy planning for conservation and renewables, and climate resiliency. She has held positions in both the public and private sectors during her 25 years in the planning field. Karen received a bachelor's degree in geography and a master's degree in regional planning from the State University of New York at Albany. She is certified by the American Institute of Certified Planners, has a certificate in public participation from the International Association for Public Participation, and serves on the executive board of Friends of the Hank Aaron State Trail.

Dr. William F. Hunt leads the Stormwater Engineering Research Group in the Biological and Agricultural Engineering Department at NC State. He is actively involved in BMP demonstrations, applied research, and training, including conducting 20-25 workshops and training events per year across the country. Bill is an active member of the American Society of Civil Engineers and the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, for which he has held many committee leadership roles. In 2011, Bill was named an Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Auckland in New Zealand and is currently a CUGE Research Fellow for Singapore National Parks.