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Water: Green Infrastructure

Economics and Policy

Several EPA projects have assessed green infrastructure strategies through the lens of economics and policy, as well as water quality.  This research aims to identify the costs associated with the implementation of green infrastructure, as well as, actions that government agencies and other watershed stewards can take to position green infrastructure as an economically and legally viable approach.

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EPA researchers have analyzed several market mechanisms and incentives for the reduction of stormwater runoff through green infrastructure.  This research integrates perspectives from a variety of disciplines, including law, economics, and social science, as well as hydrology and ecology. 
The Shepherd Creek Pilot Project - EPA's Shepherd Creek Pilot Project is an assessment of economic incentives to promote retrofitting of stormwater management practices (SWMPs) in a suburban watershed and to decrease excess stormwater runoff.

Parikh, P., M. A. Taylor, N. T. Hoagland, H. W. Thurston, and W. Shuster. (2005). "Application of Market Mechanisms and Incentives to Reduce Stormwater Runoff: An Integrated Hydrologic, Economic, and Legal Approach." J. C. Briden (ed.), Environmental Science and Policy. Elsevier Science Ltd, New York, NY, 8(2):133-144.

Roy, A. H., H. Cabezas, M. Clagett, T. Hoagland, A. L. Mayer, M. A. Morrison, W. D. Shuster, J. Templeton, and H. W. Thurston. (2006). "Retrofit Stormwater Management: Navigating Multidisciplinary Hurdles at the Watershed Scale."  J. Kaspersen (ed.), Stormwater. Forester Communications Incorporated, Santa Barbara, CA, 7(3):16-29.

Shuster, W. D., M. A. Morrison, and R. Webb. (2008). "Front-loading urban stormwater management for success: a perspective incorporating current studies on the implementation of retrofit low-impact development." Cities and the Environment. Urban Ecology Institute, Chestnut Hill, MA, 1(2): Article 8, 15 p.

Thurston, H. W. (ed.). (2011)"Economic Incentives for Stormwater Control." (Book - ISBN9781439845608). CRC Press - Taylor & Francis Group, LLC, Boca Raton, FL.

Thurston, H. W., M. A. Taylor, W. D. Shuster, A. H. Roy, AND M. A. Morrison. (2010). "Using a Reverse Auction to Promote Household Level Stormwater Control." Environmental Science and Policy. Elsevier Science Ltd, New York, NY, 13(5):405-414.

Thurston, H., H. C. Goddard, D. C. Szlag, and B. Lemberg. (2002). "Trading Stormwater Abatement Credits in Cincinnati's Shepherd Creek." Stormwater. Forester Communications Incorporated. Santa Barbara, CA. 3(5): 50-59.

Thurston, H., H. C. Goddard, D. C. Szlag, and B. Lemberg. (2003). "Controlling Stormwater Runoff with Tradable Credits for Impervious Spaces." Journal of Water Resources Planning and Management. American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), Reston, VA, 129(5):409-418.

US EPA. (2008). "Using Economic Incentives to Manage Stormwater Runoff in the Shepherd Creek Watershed, Part 1." (PDF) (66 pp, 3.5MB, About PDF) Publication No. EPA/600/R-08/129 | Abstract

To better understand the economic choices involved in the selection of stormwater controls, EPA researchers have investigated the opportunity costs of stormwater controls.  This research can be applied to the development of effective economic incentives.
Sample, D., J. P. Heaney, L. Wright, C. Fan, F. H. Lai, and R. Field. (2003). "Costs of Best Management Practices and Associated Land for Urban Stormwater Control." (PDF) (25 pp, 450K, About PDF) Labadie, J.W. (ed.), Journal of Water Resources Planning and Management. American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), Reston, VA, 129(1):59-68.

Thurston, H. W. (2006). "Opportunity Costs of Residential Best Management Practices for Stormwater Runoff Control." Journal of Water Resources Planning and Management. American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). London, UK 4(2): 157-165.

Thurston, H. W., M. Taylor, and W. D. Shuster. (2004). "Trading Allowances for Stormwater Control: Hydrology and Opportunity Costs." ASCE World Water Congress 2004, Salt Lake City, UT, June 27 - July 01, 2004. American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), Reston, VA, 50.

Storm Drain Inlet
EPA has sponsored and engaged in research examining the limitations of stormwater management programs in the United States.  These systematic assessments of the barriers to sustainable stormwater management include a range of recommendations for improving stormwater programs.
Roy, A., S. J. Wenger, T. D. Fletcher, C. J. Walsh, A. R. Ladson, W. D. Shuster, H. W. Thurston, and R. R. Brown. (2008). "Impediments and Solutions to Sustainable, Watershed-Scale Urban Stormwater Management: Lessons from Australia and the United State." V. H. Dale (ed.), Environmental Management. Springer-Verlag, New York, NY, 42(2):344-359, (2008).

National Research Council (2008). "Urban Stormwater Management in the United States." The National Academies Press: Washington, D.C.

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