Soak Up the Rain: Resource Index

Cities and towns are grappling with how to manage the water that runs off roofs, driveways and parking lots into the street when it rains. In many communities the stormwater systems are not designed to handle the runoff they receive. The infrastructure is aging and some communities face increasing state and federal requirements.

Communities are looking for efficient, lower-cost ways to handle stormwater runoff and protect local waterways. Businesses and institutions are also seeking efficiency and economy in managing stormwater runoff - and looking to maximize the return from their investments. Green infrastructure is a cost-effective and resilient approach to managing stormwater that can help bring many social, economic, public health, and environmental benefits to communities.

Green Infrastructure

Green Infrastructure Wizard (GIWiz), U.S. EPA
A web-based tool to help communities find EPA tools and resources to learn the basics of green infrastructure and explore options for financing it, visualize and design rain gardens and permeable pavements, understand how other communities are using green infrastructure to revitalize neighborhoods, and develop public education and outreach campaigns.

Green Infrastructure, U.S. EPA

Overcoming Barriers to Green Infrastructure
Information and resources for municipalities, designers and others concerned about design challenges, costs, performance, maintenance, and other issues.

Green Infrastructure Toolkit, Georgetown Climate Center Exit
Innovative local communities and regions are beginning to implement a wide array of new "green infrastructure" measures, which retain and treat stormwater where it falls instead of relying on traditional, concrete-based systems largely underground. In order to ensure effective implementation, this toolkit identifies green infrastructure practices from cities across the country to guide those still designing their programs.

Tools, Strategies and Lessons Learned from EPA Green Infrastructure Technical Assistance Projects, U.S. EPA, 2015
Results from EPA's green infrastructure technical assistance program for communities looking for solutions to their unique challenges. Quick reference guide matches problems with real world, tested solutions and offers readers resources for further information.

Enhancing Sustainable Communities With Green Infrastructure: A guide to help communities better manage stormwater while achieving other environmental, public health, social, and economic benefits, U.S. EPA, 2014
A report to help local governments, water utilities, nonprofit organizations, neighborhood groups, and other stakeholders integrate green infrastructure strategies into plans that can transform their communities.

Technical Assistance, What is EPA Doing to Support Green Infrastructure projects
EPA's technical assistance to communities across the country focuses on significant technical, regulatory, and institutional barriers to green infrastructure and building community capacity by sharing lessons learned. Access information about the projects and results.

Green Infrastructure Opportunities that Arise During Municipal Operations, U.S. EPA, 2015
Provides approaches that small to midsize communities can use to incorporate green infrastructure components into work they are doing in public spaces. The document presents examples and case studies of how integrating green infrastructure methods can enhance retrofits and maintenance projects and provide other multiple community benefits.

City Green: Innovative Green Infrastructure Solutions for Downtowns and Infill Locations, U.S. EPA, 2016 (PDF) (75 pp, 8.5 MB, About PDF)
Prepared for local governments, private developers, and other stakeholders, this report showcases projects from around the country that have overcome many common challenges to green infrastructure at sites surrounded by existing development and infrastructure. These case studies show successful strategies and lessons learned for overcoming common problems and provide inspiration for those who want to use green infrastructure strategies.

Coastal Stormwater Management Through Green Infrastructure: A Handbook for Municipalities, U.S. EPA, 2014
Designed to assist coastal municipalities in incorporating green infrastructure into their stormwater management planning as they respond to MS4 stormwater permit requirements, review development proposals, and retrofit existing municipal facilities and sites. While developed for communities within the Massachusetts Bays Program area, it can be applied more broadly and used in other locations.

City Parks, Clean Water: Making Great Places Using Green Infrastructure, The Trust for Public Land, March 2016 (PDF) (52 pp, 3.5 MB, About PDF) Exit
Study report on the successes and challenges of water-smart parks, looking both at the technologies and political issues involved in using green infrastructure to make cities more desirable, livable and successful.

Evaluation of Green Alternatives for Combined Sewer Overflow Mitigation: A Proposed Economic Impact Framework and Illustration of its Application, U.S EPA, 2013 (PDF) (44 pp, 1 MB, About PDF)
Using one city as an example, the report develops a broad framework, or taxonomy, for identifying and organizing the socio-economic impacts of sewer infrastructure projects.  It provides guidance to communities to inform deliberations about gray versus green infrastructure approaches, an organizational and adaptable taxonomy, and a tool for pre- and post- green infrastructure implementation assessment of the socio-economic benefits of green infrastructure.

Accelerating Cost-Effective Green Stormwater Infrastructure: Learning from Local Implementation, Berkeley Law, University of California (PDF) (51 pp, 1.9 MB, About PDF) Exit

Green Infrastructure Case Studies: Municipal Policies for Managing Stormwater with Green Infrastructure, U.S. EPA, 2010
Presents the common trends in how 12 local governments developed and implemented stormwater policies to support green infrastructure. While a strong motivation for these policies and programs is innovation in stormwater management, many communities are moving past the era of single objective spending and investing in runoff reduction and stormwater management strategies that have multiple benefits.

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Benefits of Green Infrastructure

Green Infrastructure: Back to Basics, U.S. Green Building Council Exit
Article highlights the many benefits of increasing green space, particularly in urban areas.

Benefits of Green Infrastructure, Green Infrastructure, U.S. EPA
Green infrastructure reduces and treats stormwater at its source while delivering many other environmental, social, and economic benefits that not only promote urban livability, but add to the bottom line.

Flood Loss Avoidance Benefits of Green Infrastructure for Stormwater Management, U.S. EPA, 2015
Modeling study estimates the flood loss avoidance benefits from application of small storm retention practices for new development and redevelopment nationwide.

Estimating Monetized Benefits of Groundwater Recharge from Stormwater Retention Practices, U. S. EPA, 2016 (PDF) (77 pp, 3 MB, About PDF)
Water supply uses are only a portion of the total economic value of groundwater recharge.  EPA commissioned this study to explore methods for estimating the consumptive direct use value of groundwater recharge achieved through stormwater retention practices designed to simulate predevelopment hydrology.

Reducing Heat Islands Compendium of Strategies: Trees and Vegetation, U.S. EPA (PDF) (32 pp, 4.5 MB, About PDF)
Shade trees and smaller plants such as shrubs, vines, grasses, and ground cover, help cool the urban environment. Describes the causes and impacts of summertime urban heat islands and promotes strategies for lowering temperatures in U.S. communities.

Enhancing Sustainable Communities With Green Infrastructure: A guide to help communities better manage stormwater while achieving other environmental, public health, social, and economic benefits, U.S. EPA, 2014
A report to help local governments, water utilities, nonprofit organizations, neighborhood groups, and other stakeholders integrate green infrastructure strategies into plans that can transform their communities.

The Green Edge: How Commercial Property Investment in Green Infrastructure Creates Value, Natural Resources Defense Council, 2013 (PDF) (42 pp, 8.3 MB, About PDF) Exit
Report explores the wide range of benefits green infrastructure can provide to the commercial real estate sector, providing examples for retail buildings, office buildings, and multi-family residential buildings.

Case Studies Analyzing the Economic Benefits of Low Impact Development and Green Infrastructure Programs, U.S. EPA, 2013
Prepared to help utilities, state and municipal agencies, and others understand the potential benefits of their low impact development (LID) and green infrastructure (GI) programs to help promote the use of LID/GI, where appropriate. Highlights different evaluation methods that have been successfully applied and demonstrates cases where LID/GI has been shown to be economically beneficial.

The Value of Green Infrastructure, A Guide to Recognizing its Economic, Environmental and Social Benefits, Center for Neighborhood Technology and American Rivers, 2011 (PDF)(80 pp, 3.1 MB, About PDF) Exit
Provides a framework to help communities measure and value the air quality, energy use, and many other benefits that green infrastructure provides to allow communities to more accurately compare different infrastructure investments and choose the option that provides the greatest long-term benefit.

Banking on Green: A look at how green infrastructure can save municipalities money and provide economic benefits community-wide, April 2012 Exit
A joint report by America Rivers, the Water Environment Federation, the American Society of Landscape Architects and ECONorthwest focuses on the economic impacts caused by polluted urban runoff and provides a compendium of current experiences, analysis and knowledge.

Forging the Link, Linking the Economic Benefits of Low Impact Development and Community Decisions, 2011 Exit
A study conducted by UNH Stormwater Center, Virginia Commonwealth University, and Antioch University New England

Reducing Stormwater Costs through Low Impact Development (LID) Strategies and Practices, U.S. EPA, 2007
Information for cities, counties, states, private-sector developers and others on the costs and benefits of using Low Impact Development (LID) strategies and practices to help protect and restore water quality.

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Green Streets

Green Streets, Green Jobs, Green Towns (G3) Program, US EPA
When planning, designing, building or replacing infrastructure, communities can adopt a G3 approach that incorporates nature and natural systems into the community landscape to manage and infiltrate stormwater.

Green Streets: The Road to Clean Water, U.S. EPA Exit
Video highlights green streets as a technique for managing stormwater and providing other economic and community benefits.

Promoting Green Streets - A Recipe for Integrating Water and Transportation Infrastructure Investment, River Network, 2016 (PDF) (40 pp, 9.6 MB, About PDF) Exit
Green streets, like other green infrastructure approaches, can help replicate natural processes to dramatically reduce the volume, rate and temperature of runoff from impervious areas, while also providing street features that slow traffic and provide increased walkability. With a goal of providing a straightforward process for identifying the best locations for green street stormwater practices, the Guide provides support to city administrators, planners, designers, and environmental advocates in determining the potential - and developing strategies - for green streets in their cities and watersheds.

Municipal Green Streets Projects and Resources, River Network Exit
Many cities across the U.S. are leading the way and focusing significant attention and resources on retrofitting their streets and alleys with green infrastructure. View their list of municipal green streets projects and resources compiled in 2016

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Brownfields and Vacant Properties

Design Principles for Stormwater Management on Compacted, Contaminated Soils in Dense Urban Areas (PDF) (4 pp, 829 K, About PDF)
Fact sheet defines green infrastructure and highlights some unique considerations and design guidelines for implementing green infrastructure on brownfield sites.

Brownfields, U.S. EPA

Green Infrastructure: Land Revitalization Success Stories, U.S. EPA, 2014 (PDF) (32 pp,11.9 MB, About PDF)
Describes brownfields and land revitalization projects where green infrastructure elements were used to restore formerly contaminated land and other natural resources into sustainable community assets. These projects improve stormwater management while maximizing the positive environmental, economic, and social benefits of brownfields cleanup and revitalization.

Land Revitalization Program Tools for Communities, U.S. EPA (PDF) (6 pp, 1.7 MB, About PDF)
EPA's Land Revitalization Team works to support communities in their efforts to implement sustainable redevelopment strategies. Community projects often result in the development of replicable models and useful tools that can help other communities implement more sustainable redevelopment strategies. This fact sheet highlights some of the tools that have resulted from the regional community-based projects and can be adapted for use in other communities.

Among the fact sheets in the series, Green Infrastructure (PDF) (2 pp, 1.2 MB, About PDF)

Green Infrastructure: Reusing Superfund Site and Promoting Sustainable Communities, July 2015 Webinar, Sponsored by U.S. EPA Office of Superfund Remediation and Technology Innovation Exit
Introduces green infrastructure elements in the context of reusing and revitalizing Superfund sites. Includes site-specific reuse projects with green infrastructure elements along with considerations and opportunities for future projects looking to sustainably return contaminated lands to productive and beneficial use for communities.

Implementing Stormwater Infiltration Practices at Vacant Parcels and Brownfield Sites, U.S. EPA, 2013
Information to assist communities, developers, and other stakeholders in determining the appropriateness of implementing stormwater management practices that promote infiltration at vacant parcels and brownfield sites.

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Modeling Tools

Green Infrastructure Modeling Toolkit, Office of Research and Development, U.S. EPA
EPA has developed innovative models, tools, and technologies for communities to manage urban water runoff. The models and tools in this toolkit incorporate green infrastructure practices to help communities manage their water resources in a more sustainable way, increasing resilience to future changes, such as climate and extreme events.

Includes a link to the National Stormwater Calculator, a desktop application that estimates the impact of land cover change and green infrastructure controls on stormwater runoff from a selected site, including a residential landscape. Estimates of runoff volume and frequency are based on local soil, topographic and climate data, and user-provided land cover and BMP data.

Modeling Tools that Support the Green Streets, Green Jobs, Green Towns Approach, U.S. EPA
Free modeling tools are available for those looking to take the Green Streets, Green Jobs, Green Towns (G3) approach to incorporating green streets and innovative stormwater management techniques in their community. Modeling tools support planning and design decisions on a range of scales from setting a green infrastructure target for an entire watershed to designing a green infrastructure practice for a particular site or location, such as a green street.

Green Infrastructure Models, Green Infrastructure, U.S. EPA
Models are available to assess the costs and environmental outcomes associated with green infrastructure approaches.

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Climate Change

What Climate Change Means for Your State, U.S. EPA, August 2016
State-specific fact sheets from EPA focus on the impacts of climate change in each state and the territories of Guam and Puerto Rico and provide a handy reference for state and local policymakers, businesses, and individuals who are looking to communicate impacts of climate change in a given state.

Green Infrastructure and Climate Change: Collaborating to Improve Community Resiliency, U.S. EPA, 2016 (PDF) (26 pp, 12.2 MB, About PDF)
As different parts of the country become drier, wetter or hotter, community leaders and citizens are looking to green infrastructure to improve their community's resiliency to the effects of climate change. In 2015, EPA convened charrettes, or intensive planning sessions, in four cities to demonstrate how this type of planning could be applied to communities dealing with a range of challenges. This report summarizes the issues and recommendations developed by each charrette.

EPA Releases New Online Training Module on Understanding Climate Change Impacts on Water Resources, U.S. EPA, 2016
Training module designed to increase understanding of the causes of climate change, its potential impacts on water resources, and the challenges water resource managers are facing.

U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit Exit
For many Americans, adapting to new climate regimes means developing new expertise. Decision makers across the nation are learning to use data and tools to manage their climate-related risks and opportunities. Find resources and a framework to understand and address climate issues that impact people and their communities. Watch the video that explains how you can use the U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit to improve resilience.

Climate Ready Utilities, U.S. EPA
CRWU provides water sector utilities (drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater utilities) with the practical tools, training, and technical assistance needed to adapt to climate change by promoting a clear understanding of climate science and adaptation options.

Green Infrastructure for Climate Resiliency, U.S. EPA
Information on how green infrastructure can be used as an important tool for building community resilience to climate change impacts such as increased heavy rainfall and heat island effect. Includes infographic and fact sheet. For more information about Urban Heat Island.

Climate Change, U.S. EPA

Understanding Climate Change Impacts on Water Resources, U.S. EPA, 2016
Training module is intended to increase water resource professionals' understanding of the causes of climate change, its potential impacts on water resources, and the challenges that water resource professionals face. The module also describes how federal, state, tribal, and local governments and communities are working to make the United States more resilient to the impacts of climate.

Addressing Climate Change in the Water Sector
EPA is working with state, tribal, and local governments, as well as communities, to build resiliency and develop tools to respond to climate change. Learn about the steps EPA is taking to address the impacts of climate change in the water sector.

EPA National Water Program Climate Adaptation Tools, U.S. EPA (PDF) (2 pp, 95 K, About PDF)
A summary of tools developed by the EPA National Water Program for state, tribal, and local governments and others to adapt their clean water and drinking water programs to a changing climate.

Resilience and Adaptation in New England (RAINE)
Database of vulnerability, resilience and adaptation reports, plans and webpages at the state, regional and community level about activities in more than 100 jurisdictions in New England addressing flooding, heat, extreme weather events, sea level rise and more. Use the database to share what you've done, learn from others, or research actions being taken at the state, regional or community level to address climate change.

Stormwater Management in Response to Climate Change Impacts: Lessons from the Chesapeake Bay and Great Lakes Regions (Final Report), U.S. EPA, March 2016
This report focuses on locally identified barriers to addressing climate change, methods to overcome barriers in the short term, and long term information needs to further assist communities in their stormwater adaptation efforts. Target audiences include local and state planners and managers engaged in the development and implementation of stormwater management policies and practices.

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Funding Stormwater Management

Funding, Green Infrastructure, U.S. EPA
Includes potential federal funding sources for green infrastructure project; links to guides, case studies, and training materials for understanding funding options; and spreadsheet tools for assessing program costs and financing scenarios.

Water Infrastructure and Resiliency Finance Center, U.S. EPA
Leading edge financing and increased resiliency are key components to meeting water infrastructure needs. The Water Infrastructure and Resiliency Finance Center is a resource to communities that are financing drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater infrastructure.

Local Government Stormwater Financing Manual, 2014, Environmental Finance Center, University of Maryland Exit
Developed to provide local leaders with the foundation for establishing and growing effective stormwater management programs that maximize the value and impact of every dollar invested in their communities.

Catalog of Federal Funding Sources for Watershed Protection, U.S. EPA
A searchable database of financial assistance sources (grants, loans, cost-sharing) available to fund a variety of watershed protection projects.

Getting to Green: Paying for Green Infrastructure; Finance Options and Resources for Municipal Decision-makers, EPA, 2014
Targeted at those making decisions about how to finance green Infrastructure practices, the report identifies various funding sources that can be used to support stormwater management programs or finance individual projects.

Innovative Funding Approaches for Stormwater and Green Infrastructure, University of North Carolina Environmental Finance Center Exit
The EFC has received funding from the EPA to promote innovative financing approaches for stormwater and green infrastructure projects. Find links to dashboards, a white paper and the May 2014 Catalog of Green Infrastructure and Stormwater Finance Publications.

Evaluation of the Role of Public Outreach and Stakeholder Engagement in Stormwater Funding Decisions in New England: Lessons from Communities, U.S. EPA, 2013 (PDF) (128 pp, 2 MB, About PDF)
How and why have some communities reached consensus on funding solutions while others could not? The report evaluates whether and how public outreach and stakeholder engagement were critical to the successful adoption of sustainable stormwater funding mechanisms. It compiles a set of "lessons learned" for communities seeking to achieve community-wide agreement on stormwater program funding solutions.

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Operation and Maintenance of Green Infrastructure

Operation and Maintenance of Green Infrastructure Receiving Runoff from Roads and Parking Lots, U.S. EPA, 2016
Includes common operation and maintenance questions in addition to recommendations for determining if maintenance is needed, inspection frequency, triggers for maintenance and disposal of materials.

Maintenance Resources, University of New Hampshire Stormwater Center Exit
Access guidelines and checklists for pervious pavements, subsurface gravel wetland systems, and bioretention and tree box filter systems.

Stormwater Facility Maintenance & Inspection, Department of Environmental Protection, Montgomery County Maryland Exit
Website describes their program and includes a wide range of resources including fact sheets, easements and maintenance agreements, and much more.

The Importance of Operation and Maintenance for the Long-Term Success of Green Infrastructure, U.S. EPA, March 2013 (PDF) (53 pp, 2.5 MB, about PDF)
A review of green infrastructure O & M practices in ARRA Clean Water State Revolving Fund Projects

Staying Green: Strategies to Improve Operations and Maintenance of Green Infrastructure in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, American Rivers in partnership with Green for All 2013 (PDF) (62 pp, 3.9 MB, About PDF) Exit
Examines some of the major barriers to effective operations and maintenance of green infrastructure practices in the Chesapeake Bay region and identifies strategies and best practices being used to develop and improve maintenance practices.

Elements of a Green Infrastructure Maintenance Business Plan: A Stakeholder-Driven Process to Determine the Preferred Approach to Green Infrastructure Maintenance in Southeast Wisconsin, U.S. EPA 2014 Technical Assistance Program (PDF) (104 pp, 3 MB, About PDF)
To address the challenges associated with green infrastructure maintenance, Metropolitan Milwaukee Sewerage District partnered with the U.S. EPA to create a stakeholder-endorsed strategic green infrastructure maintenance business plan for southeast Wisconsin. This report provides background on MMSD's green infrastructure program and existing maintenance efforts and describes options for crafting a sustainable, stakeholder-driven maintenance business model to meet the region's green infrastructure maintenance needs as well as other regional objectives (e.g., educating the public, creating jobs, and providing opportunities for job training).

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Permits and Regulations

For information about stormwater regulations and how permits are used to protect and restore local waterways.

National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Permit Program, U. S. EPA

Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4), U. S. EPA

NPDES Permits in New England, NPDES Stormwater Permit Program, U. S. EPA New England

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Smart Growth

Smart growth strategies help communities grow in ways that expand economic opportunity while protecting human health and the environment.

Smart Growth, U.S EPA

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