Green Infrastructure

What is EPA Doing to Support Green Infrastructure?

EPA actively supports the use of green infrastructure to manage wet weather. EPA has released a series of policy memos encouraging the use of green infrastructure to meet regulatory requirements, as well as a series of Strategic Agendas describing the actions the Agency is taking to promote green infrastructure. A central theme of recent Agendas is engaging with local communities through community partnerships and technical assistance programs.

Since 2011, EPA has established partnerships with 10 communities, and has provided technical assistance to more than 20 communities. EPA Regions are key players in all of these efforts, and many offer a wealth of targeted information on their own green infrastructure websites.

On this page:

Strategic Agenda

In October 2013, EPA released the Green Infrastructure Strategic Agenda outlining the actions the Agency intends to take to promote its effective implementation.Planning calendar

While the new strategy maintains the focus of previous strategies on information exchange and community engagement, the 2013 Strategic Agenda adds a new focus on making green infrastructure a part of business as usual across different levels of government. The agenda identifies five focus areas that the EPA will pursue to encourage the implementation of green infrastructure:

  1. Federal coordination,
  2. Clean Water Act regulatory support,
  3. Research and information exchange,
  4. Funding and financing, and
  5. Capacity building.

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Community Partnerships

In April 2011, EPA recognized 10 community partners for their commitment to green infrastructure, one in each of EPA’s 10 Regions. EPA coordinated with these partners to highlight effective approaches to implementing green infrastructure and share lessons learned with other interested communities:Business people shaking hands.

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Technical Assistance

Technical drawing and toolsSince 2012, EPA provided technical assistance to communities across the country to support implementation of green infrastructure practices nationwide. Three additional technical assistance projects were initiated prior to 2012. The program focuses on significant technical, regulatory, and institutional barriers to green infrastructure and building community capacity by sharing lessons learned.

For a summary of results from the program see Tools, Strategies and Lessons Learned from EPA Green Infrastructure Technical Assistance Projects.

In 2015, EPA convened charrettes, or intensive planning sessions, in four cities -- Albuquerque, Grand Rapids, Los Angeles and New Orleans -- to explore ways in which green infrastucture could help cities become more resilient to climate change. A summary document, Green Infrastructure and Climate Change: Collaborating to Improve Community Resiliency, outlines how each city identified issues and recommended solutions by following the same four concepts: identify benefits; collaborate across city agencies; unify solutions across disciplines; and achieve efficiencies in project implementation.

2014 Technical Assistance Program

EPA selected 14 communities to receive $860,000 in technical assistance in 2014. The focus of the program is advancing adoption of green infrastructure in the communities, while developing knowledge and tools for a national audience. The selected communities are receiving assistance for projects related to:

  • community resiliency,
  • brownfield redevelopment,
  • operations and maintenance,
  • off-site mitigation, and
  • green infrastructure design.
Bath, Maine
Partner: City of Bath

Summary: EPA assistance will help produce a feasibility study and conceptual design for a green infrastructure project to mitigate flooding and combined sewer overflows (CSOs) while stabilizing and improving the neighborhood.

Fall River, Massachusetts
Partner: City of Fall River

Green Infrastructure Implementation in Fall River, Massachusetts

Buffalo, New York
Partner: Buffalo Sewer Authority

Summary: Buffalo NY Urban Vacant Land Assessement Protocol

Scranton, Pennsylvania
Partner: Scranton Sewer Authority

Summary: EPA assistance will help incorporate green infrastructure under the city’s CSO long-term control plan into a comprehensive master plan for a newly developing arts district.

Norfolk, Virginia
Partner: Friends of Norfolk’s Environment
Clarkesville, Georgia
Partner: City of Clarkesville

Clarkesville Green Infrastructure Implementation Strategy

Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Partner: Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District

Elements of a Green Infrastructure Maintenance Business Plan

Saint Paul, Minnesota
Partner: City of Saint Paul

West Side Flats Greenway Conceptual Green Infrastructure Design

Pueblo de Cochiti, New Mexico
Partner: Pueblo de Cochiti

Summary: EPA assistance will develop a green stormwater infrastructure plan that will integrate green infrastructure into land use planning, stormwater management, infrastructure improvements, transportation planning, and open space for community members.

Albuquerque, New Mexico
Partner: Albuquerque Metropolitan Arroyo Flood Control Authority

Summary: EPA assistance will help with the design and specifications of green infrastructure features for a rooftop vegetable garden to recycle captured rainwater for irrigation.

Iowa City, Iowa
Partner: City of Iowa City

Towards a Resilient Future: Restoration of Ralston Creek Within Riverfront Crossings Park 

Denver, Colorado
Partner: City and County of Denver

Summary: EPA assistance will support completing green infrastructure practice criteria suited for ultra-urban environments and transportation projects, including design elements, maintenance procedures, and schedules.

Santa Monica, California
Partner: City of Santa Monica

Building Resilience to Drought in Ozone Park

Ada County, Idaho
Partner: Ada County Highway District

Fairview Avenue Green Street Conceptual Design 

2013 Technical Assistance Program

EPA selected five communities in 2013 to receive targeted technical assistance to support the expanded use of green infrastructure. The selected communities received a total of $400,000 for projects addressing the selection and design of green infrastructure at a range of scales, in a range of urban contexts, and in a range of climates.

Detroit, Michigan
Partner: Southeast Michigan Council of Governments

Summary: EPA assistance will help develop a range of green infrastructure alternatives to meet runoff reduction targets and contribute to regional revitalization.

Lincoln, Nebraska
Partner: City of Lincoln

Summary: EPA assistance will help develop design guidance and a menu of green infrastructure options for the Antelope Creek Watershed Basin Management Plan. The plan is focused on improving water quality in a highly urbanized creek in the center of the city.

Gary, Indiana
Partner: Gary Stormwater Management District

Summary: EPA assistance will help develop strategies to meet water quality goals through retrofitting underutilized parcels with green infrastructure. EPA assistance might also help in developing a jobs training program.

Pima County, Arizona
Partner: Pima County Regional Flood Control District

Summary: EPA assistance will help complete a green infrastructure guidance manual addressing selection, design, construction, and maintenance of green infrastructure practices; and will help assess the costs and multiple benefits of green infrastructure practices in a desert environment.

Spartanburg, South Carolina
Partner: City of Spartanburg

Northside Neighborhood Green Infrastructure Master Plan

2012 Technical Assistance Program

EPA selected 17 communities in 16 states in 2012 to receive targeted technical assistance to advance green infrastructure implementation. The communities were provided a total of $950,000 for projects including code review, green infrastructure design, and cost-benefit assessments. As each project is completed, EPA will develop a report documenting key findings and lessons learned.

Barnstable, Massachusetts
Partner: Cape Cod Commission

Nitrogen-reducing Green Infrastructure in Environmental Justice Communities 

Franklin, Massachusetts
Partner: Town of Franklin

Green Infrastructure Implementation Strategy for the Town of Franklin, Massachusetts

Sanford, Maine
Partner: Town of Sanford

Conceptual Green Infrastructure Design for Washington Street, City of Sanford

Camden, New Jersey
Partner: Cooper’s Ferry Partnership

Green Infrastructure Barriers and Opportunities in Camden, New Jersey

City of Camden Green Infrastructure Design Handbook

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Partner: Pittsburgh UNITED and 3 Rivers Wet Weather

City of Pittsburgh Conceptual Green Infrastructure Designs for Swisshelm Park, Point Breeze, and Brookline Neighborhoods

Fact Sheet Series and White Papers on Space Constraints, Steep Slopes, Abundant and Frequent Rainfall and Clay Soils

Atlanta, Georgia
Partner: City of Atlanta

Boone Boulevard Green Infrastructure Conceptual Design 

Beaufort, South Carolina
Partner: City of Beaufort

Block-Scale Green Infrastructure Design for the Historic Northwest Quadrant, City of Beaufort

Holland, Michigan
Partner: Macatawa Area Coordinating Council

Green Infrastructure Barriers and Opportunities in the Macatawa Watershed, Michigan 

La Crosse, Wisconsin
Partner: City of La Crosse

Summary: Using Green Infrastructure to Mitigate Flooding in La Crosse, WI

Dallas, Texas
Partner: City of Dallas

Green Infrastructure Barriers and Opportunities in Dallas, Texas

Omaha, Nebraska
Partner: City of Omaha

Summary: Omaha requested assistance in developing tools and guidance to help identify opportunities for cost-effective green infrastructure and ensure that green infrastructure is built properly.

Neosho, Missouri
Partner: City of Neosho

Green Infrastructure Barriers and Opportunities in Neosho, Missouri

City of Neosho Green Infrastructure Design Handbook

Denver, Colorado
Partner: Urban Land Conservancy

Conceptual Green Infrastructure Design for the Blake Street Transit-Oriented Development Site, City of Denver

Phoenix, Arizona
Partner: City of Phoenix

Green Infrastructure Barriers and Opportunities in Phoenix, Arizona

Los Angeles, California
Partner: The Council for Watershed Health

Green Infrastructure Barriers and Opportunities in the Greater Los Angeles Region

Portland, Oregon
Partner: City of Portland

District-Scale Green Infrastructure Scenarios for the Zidell Development Site, City of Portland 

Seattle, Washington
Partner: City of Seattle

Summary: Seattle requested assistance in assessing the environmental benefits associated with the city's extensive network of green infrastructure to improve modeling tools and cost comparison methodologies.

Earlier Technical Assistance Projects

The Economic Benefits of Green Infrastructure: A Case Study of Lancaster, Pennsylvania

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