EPA Announces Green Infrastructure Strategic Agenda

GI announcementU.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Deputy Administrator Bob Perciasepe announced the agency’s new Green Infrastructure Agenda on Oct. 21 at the Green Infrastructure Summit in Syracuse, N.Y.

Since 2007, EPA has actively supported the use of green infrastructure to manage wet weather and 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 EPA’s activities has been to engage with local communities through community partnerships and technical assistance programs. Since 2011, the agency has established partnerships with 10 communities, and has provided technical assistance to more than 20 communities. The Summit is the first event that brings together all of these communities, making it the perfect venue for this noteworthy announcement.

The summit was co-hosted by EPA, Onondaga County, Syracuse University and the City of Syracuse.  The summit included a tour of more than a dozen projects associated with the Onondaga County Save the Rain program, from green street practices to a constructed wetland. Read more in a blog about the tour by Nancy Stoner, Acting Assistant Administrator for EPA’s Office of  Water.

Community leaders presented on various topics including project selection, program development, finance and funding challenges, maintenance, practice performance, and stakeholder engagement. The event facilitated robust discussions on these topics and encouraged peer-to-peer information exchanges.

The new Green Infrastructure Strategic Agenda is an updated version of the agency’s 2008 and 2011 agendas. Expanding on the previous two versions, the new agenda outlines five major areas of focus to help further the growth and success of green infrastructure approaches to address water quality issues across the country. These five areas include federal coordination, regulatory support, research and information exchange, funding and financing, and capacity building.

“WEF [Water Environment Federation] is a proud participant of this important Summit and fully supports EPA’s new strategic agenda for green infrastructure,” said WEF Interim Executive Director Eileen O’Neill. “WEF and EPA have a long tradition of working together on important water quality issues and we look forward to collaborating with them to meet the goals spelled out in this new effort.”

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