What is Green Infrastructure ('low impact development')?
Could it benefit my property? Why 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 YouTube. CU-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.
There are many notable resources and even incentives for developing Green Infrastructure.
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:
Last updated June 7, 2023