On Dec. 8, the Conservation Leadership Council (CLC) released a new study examining the role of green infrastructure. The CLC report, titled The Role of Green Infrastructure — Nature, Economics, and Resilience, asserts that green approaches promote ecosystem services and greater resiliency while providing water quality and quantity treatment at a lower cost than traditional stormwater management solutions. Such traditional solutions include underground storage tanks or concrete bulkheads while green infrastructure employs natural processes like bioretention, living shorelines, or preservation of open space.

The study, authored by The Horinko Group, identifies today’s water management challenges including aging infrastructure, increasing stormwater runoff pollution, accelerated degradation of coastal areas, and a significant lack of funding. The report also recommends a number of approaches to encourage broader use of green infrastructure technologies, including

  • incorporating ecosystem service benefits into the federal project selection processes for both drinking water and clean water regulatory programs,
  • expanding public-private partnerships and the property-assessed clean energy program that can be adopted for green infrastructure,
  • regulatory recognition of the value of green infrastructure in regional- and watershed-based permitting and integrated planning,
  • developing market-based approaches for green infrastructure investments including water quality trading and cost-based threshold grants, and
  • increasing the impact of public capital investments in green infrastructure through leveraging of state revolving fund investments and expansion of the water infrastructure finance and innovation act program.