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Green Infrastructure

EPA's Soak Up the Rain with Green Infrastructure poster

Go to the EPA's website to download this Green Infrastructure handout.

  What is Green Infrastructure ('low impact development')?
Could it benefit my property? W
hy is it so important?

The EPA's Green Infrastructure webpage is a great resource to plan, design and learn more about Green Infrastructure.  The Rockland County Environmental Management Council (EMC) has compiled Examples of Green Infrastructure for Stormwater Management in Rockland County, as well as a list.

Green Infrastructure is the management of Stormwater through natural features. Green Infrastructure practices capture stormwater and filter out the pollutants by allowing plants to filter them out as the water slowly infiltrates into the ground, or return water to streams at a slower rate with a lower percentage of pollution. These practices help to preserve or restore the landscape and natural hydrology by slowing down the rate of stormwater and floodwaters, capturing pollutants in stormwater, infiltrating stormwater back into the ground, and preventing erosion in streambanks.

Such practices can be installed around the home, community, and business, and include vegetated swales, rain gardens, rain barrels and porous pavement. Green Infrastructure can also be used to address sewer overflow problems by keeping excess rain out of the sanitary system. Green Infrastructure is becoming visible throughout the nation's towns and villages . See our Fact-Sheet page for Rain Garden guidance, and note the many videos on building rain gardens and swales on YouTubeCU-Structural Soil™ was developed to safely bear pavement loads after compaction and yet still allow root penetration and vigorous tree growth. 

Photo: Incorporating Green Infrastructure at your home or business can offer great benefits on rain/flood water management, as well as improve water quality.

green infrastructure

Rain Garden EPA epa green infrastructure

nyc water fb

There are many notable resources and even incentives for developing Green Infrastructure.

Click here for additional cited works & resources.

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.


Jennifer Zunino-Smith
Environmental Resource Educator
(845) 429-7085 x125

Last updated June 7, 2023