EPA offers a new guide to using green infrastructure in parks

By Sally Elmiger, AICP, LEED

Riparian Buffer – Low Impact Development Manual of Michigan

Our blog post Parks and Urban Land Could Solve Stormwater Challenges (August 2016) talked about how communities are using green infrastructure to solve urban stormwater problems.  Green infrastructure collects stormwater close to the source, cleans it through vegetation and soil and infiltrates it into the ground.  Rain gardens, bioswales, and porous pavement are examples.  While the benefits of green infrastructure are intriguing, how does a local parks or public works department actually plan, pay for and build green infrastructure in a park, especially if nothing like this has been done before in a community?

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has addressed this question in its new guide: Green Infrastructure in Parks.  This easy-to-read guide offers a process to:

  • Establish partnerships with multiple municipal departments, community groups, and other stakeholders
  • Leverage funds between these partners,
  • Plan and implement green infrastructure projects, and
  • Create unique stormwater management systems and park amenities.

The guidebook includes a number of case studies that describe a broad scope of projects from establishing parks on a dis-used parking lot to installing a porous basketball court.