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:
In October 2013, EPA released the Green Infrastructure Strategic Agenda outlining the actions the Agency intends to take to promote its effective implementation.
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:
- Federal coordination,
- Clean Water Act regulatory support,
- Research and information exchange,
- Funding and financing, and
- Capacity building.
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:
- Region 1: Chelsea, Massachusetts
- Region 2: Onondaga County, New York
- Region 3: Anacostia River Watershed, Maryland/Washington, DC
- Region 4: Jacksonville, Florida
- Region 5: Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District
- Region 6: Austin, Texas
- Region 7: Kansas City, Missouri
- Region 8: Denver, Colorado
- Region 9: Los Angeles, California
- Region 10: Puyallup, Washington
Since 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Summary: EPA assistance will help develop a range of green infrastructure alternatives to meet runoff reduction targets and contribute to regional revitalization.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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