Green Infrastructure

The following information has been provided by the NY Department of Environmental Conservation (NY DEC)

Green infrastructure practices maintain or restore stormwater's natural flow pattern by allowing the water to slowly permeate into the ground and be used by plants. These practices include rain gardens, vegetated swales, green roofs and porous pavements. Green infrastructure also includes preserving or restoring natural areas, such as forests, stream buffers and wetlands, and reducing the size of paved surfaces. Green infrastructure generally includes "better site design" or "low impact development" stormwater projects.

In addition to managing stormwater, green infrastructure can recharge groundwater, provide wildlife habitat, beautify neighborhoods, cool urbanized areas, improve air quality and reduce stress on combined sewer systems.

Examples of Green Infrastructure projects include:

  • Rain Gardens- Rain gardens manage and treat small volumes of stormwater by filtering runoff through soil and vegetation within a shallow depression.
  • Bioretention Areas- Bioretention areas capture and treat stormwater, allowing the water to filter through soil and vegetation. Bioretention areas are usually larger than rain gardens and designed with an underdrain to connect to the storm drain system.
  • Vegetated Swales or Dry Swales- Swales are natural drainage paths or vegetated channels used to transport water instead of underground storm sewers or concrete open channels. They increase the time of concentration, reduce discharge, and provide infiltration.
  • Green Roofs- Green roofs are layers of soil and vegetation installed on rooftops that capture runoff. The vegetation allows evaporation and evapotranspiration to reduce the volume and discharge rate of stormwater.
  • Porous Pavement- Pervious types of pavements allow stormwater to infiltrate through the surface, reducing stormwater runoff and some pollutants.
  • Stream Buffer Restoration - A healthy vegetated buffer helps improve stream health and water quality by filtering and slowing polluted runoff, along with many other benefits.

Last updated July 19, 2016