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Water: Green Infrastructure

White House Conference On Green Infrastructure

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White House Conference on

Green Infrastructure

Presidential Seal
 

Conference Focus

Managing urban stormwater remains a challenge for communities needing to improve their infrastructure and reduce urban impacts to water quality. Identifying approaches that are both environmentally and socially sustainable is critical to ensuring that the most cost-effective strategies are adopted. Green infrastructure continues to emerge as a solution that can supplant or complement conventional “gray” management methods while also providing environmental, economic, recreational and public-health benefits.
 
On September 20, 2012, the White House Council on Environmental Quality and EPA will host a conference to explore pathways to more broadly implement green infrastructure. The day’s agenda (PDF) (2 pp, 204K, About PDF) will ask the invited experts and stakeholders to focus on:
 
  • Defining the range of benefits of green-infrastructure practices;
  • Identifying barriers to implementing these practices;
  • Evaluating options and opportunities for funding, financing and valuing green infrastructure; and
  • Developing practical actions that government, communities and others can take to promote greater implementation of green infrastructure to address urban stormwater.
See the conference participant guide (PDF) (9 pp, 356K, About PDF) for additional information on the day's activities.

Read Ahead Material

There is growing recognition among municipalities and other interested organizations that the deployment of green infrastructure practices can be an effective way to manage stormwater as well as provide an array of diverse co-benefits (e.g. human health benefits, reduced flooding, heat island reduction, energy savings, wildlife habitat, green jobs, and general livability). In addition to providing diverse benefits, green infrastructure practices are often less costly than more conventional gray infrastructure.
 
Although some communities have been able to fit substantial green infrastructure measures into existing stormwater programs, many other communities face challenges in implementing green infrastructure practices on a broad scale.
 
EPA has responded to this concern by promoting integrated planning of municipal stormwater and wastewater; issuing a Green Infrastructure Agenda; and including green infrastructure practices in some combined sewer overflow (CSO) consent decrees. In addition, EPA has initiated a national rulemaking to strengthen its stormwater program and is exploring options to encourage the implementation of green infrastructure practices. States and communities are also implementing a range of green infrastructure practices and are building a record of successful stormwater management approaches. Engineering and construction companies are supporting this effort with the development of innovative green infrastructure stormwater management practices. And, environmental organizations are documenting the diverse environmental and human health benefits of green infrastructure measures and helping build public support for these approaches.
 
Some green infrastructure resources are provided below as background information for the conference.

General Background
Barriers and Solutions
Valuing and Financing

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