Canada: Green Communities Guide

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Canada: Green Communities Guide

  1. 1. Preface Melanie Bell: Case Study Research, Writing.In keeping with LSCC’s mandate, the Green Communities Dawn Doell: Image Research, Editing, AdministrativeGuide was developed to be an essential tool to help com- Support.munities develop strategies to conserve water, protect Ernie Ewaschuk: Project Management, Fundraising,water quality, preserve valuable agricultural land, and Writing, Editing.protect critical open space and wildlife habitat. It strives Sarah Primeau: Project Development, Fundraising,to do this by highlighting community initiatives that have Research, Writing, Editing.achieved these goals, always using case studies nearest Michelle Riopel: Project Coordination: Writing, Editing,to Alberta, when available. The key issues facing mu- Research, Design, Printing.nicipalities (elected officials and municipal departments), Cassandra Bencz: Editingstewardship groups, and developers have been identified External input and direction was provided by:through a survey and have formed the basis of select- Alberta Environment - Sheleen Lakusta and Kristaing the appropriate tools to address those issues. The Trembletttools then, have been researched and described, accom- Alberta Tourism Parks Recreation and Culture - Travis Sjovoldpanied by case studies and incorporated into the Green Alberta Municipal Affairs - Nancy HackettCommunities Guide. Through the guide, municipalities, City of Edmonton, Office of Natural Areas - Lindseystewardship groups, and developers will be informed McCrankabout the innovative approaches other communities are City of Edmonton, Drainage - Lyndon Gyurektaking to avoid, mitigate, or reduce the impacts of growth Graphic Design and Layout:and development, to maintain the flow of ecological Jim Bisakowski Book Design.cagoods and services from their landscapes. FundingAcknowledgements: Alberta Real Estate FoundationWe would like to acknowledge the many individuals and Land Stewardship Centre of Canadaorganizations who contributed to this project, and who Alberta Environment Alberta Municipal Affairsare listed throughout this publication. Their donations, Alberta Sustainable Resource Developmentsupport, guidance, and information have been indispens- Ducks Unlimited Canadaable to the creation of the Green Communities Guide. Shell Environment FundContributions to Case Studies: City of CalgaryTony Barber, Libby Fairweather, Kystle Fedoretz, RockyFeroe, Dena Foo, Locke Girvan, Kathy Goble, GuyGreenaway, Steve Hanhart, Claudette Lacombe, DavidLeopold, Greg Lewin, Lesley Lovell, Harley Machielse,Dave Murray, Jorg Ostrowski, Kimron Rink, Kerry Ross,Neal Sarnecki, Kim Schmitt, Brad Stelfox, Guy St. Germain,Peter Vana, Nancy Weigel, Jay White, Kevin Wirtanen.This publication was assembled by the Land StewardshipCentre of Canada, under the direction of Sarah Primeau,who developed the concept and proposal, and who wasalso the primary author. Other contributions are outlinedbelow:
  2. 2. About the LSCCThe main purpose of Land StewardshipCentre of Canada is to promote stew-ardship as a way to achieve sustain-able land and resource use through theapplication of ecological principles toensure maintenance of ecological func-tion. Further, LSCC supports individualsand community-based groups trying to improve their locallandscapes. LSCC participates in provincial and national ini-tiatives that advance stewardship policy in all sectors of so-ciety. LSCC played a key role in the founding of the AlbertaStewardship Network (ASN) and is currently the Secretariatfor that organization. In addition, LSCC assisted in the es-tablishment of the Alberta Land Trust Alliance (ALTA) and isChair of that Board of Directors.LSCC Vision: Society demonstrates a stewardship ethicand an understanding of healthy ecosystems in its land usepractices.LSCC Mission: To facilitate stewardship by improving un-derstanding of healthy ecosystems, supporting communitystewardship, and strengthening policies that affect resourceuse.Goal 1: To build knowledge about ecologically sustainableland use policy and practices.Goal 2: To share and exchange information and knowledgewith stewards and society.Goal 3: To support and encourage community-based stew-ardship.Goal 4: To strengthen policies to advance stewardship andpromote sustainable land use.
  3. 3. GREEN COMMUNITIES GUIDE:Tools to Help Restore Ecological Processes in Alberta’s Built Environments Copies Available from the Land Stewardship Centre of Canada website: www.landstewardship.org Publication may be cited as:Primeau, S., Bell, M., Riopel, M., Ewaschuk, E., and Doell, D. 2009. Green Communities Guide: Tools to Help Restore Ecological Processes in Alberta’s Built Environments. Land Stewardship Centre of Canada. Edmonton, Alberta. ISBN 978-0-9811877-0-9 Copyright © 2009 Land Stewardship Centre of CanadaAll rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in anyform or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, orany information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from thepublisher. © Land Stewardship Centre of Canada 1
  4. 4. G REEN C OMMUNITIES G UIDEIntroduction that could be mitigated by reducing impervious surfaces and restoring wetlands. Deteriorating wa-The Need for a Green Communities ter quality and its impact on water treatment costsGuide along with lost recreational opportunities haveThe 2006 Canadian census revealed that the popu- also been cited as important concerns to address.lation of Alberta grew by an amazing 10.6% in only Problems of wildlife habitat loss and fragmentation,five years, which was almost double the average such as increasingly negative interaction betweenpopulation growth rate for the rest of the country humans and wildlife and lost recreational and tour-(5.4%). In some areas of Alberta the rate of growth ism opportunities were also reported. Furthermore,was staggering, with the population of some towns it is becoming apparent that some climate-relateddoubling or tripling in that same time span. Calgary phenomena (e.g. increasing insect pests, plantand Edmonton are also among the least densely disease, drought, severe weather) are linked topopulated of Canada’s major urban centres, which human-caused global climate change.contributes to the loss of agricultural land and nat- Though challenging to quantify, these impactsural spaces at city edges. Such fast rates of growth have clear economic and social costs to society.are inevitably accompanied by strain on municipal In addition to the rising drinking water treatmentinfrastructure, high costs of new infrastructure, and costs mentioned above, many summer villagesconversion of agricultural land and natural areas and municipalities are being forced to upgrade orto residential, commercial, and industrial develop- implement expensive wastewater treatment sys-ments. tems in order to reduce sewage-related incidents ofAt the same time, development is facing new chal- toxic blue-green algae blooms in lakes. Decreasedlenges, many of which result from human impacts property values is another common consequenceon our natural systems. Through discussions and of deteriorating water quality (Krysel et al, 2003).surveys that we’ve undertaken with municipal de- High economic costs are also being felt as thepartments, elected municipal officials, steward- need for expanded water distribution systems in-ship groups, and developers, several concerns creases due to lowered groundwater levels. Therehave been consistently reported. Climate-related is also increasing documentation related to thelowering of groundwater, lake, and river levels economics of insect populations, and the impactshave been common occurrences. A second area that human activity can have on these (e.g. im-of concern has been the competition for use of pacts of farming practices on crop pollinators, seeincreasingly limited water supplies, especially in Shuler et al, 2005). Questions about the possiblelight of the moratorium on new water withdrawals health impacts (e.g. obesity) of car-dependent de-from the South Saskatchewan River Basin. Other velopment are being raised (Sui, 2003). This couldwater-related concerns include erosion of stream- be significant in cities like Edmonton, where 77%banks and sedimentation in water bodies, both of of residents reported using their car exclusively forwhich are common consequences of increasing daily errands on the survey reference day (Statis-paved (impervious) surfaces in our built environ- tics Canada, 2008). Innovative economic tools canments. Related to this have been issues with in- begin to help municipal planners incorporate thecreased flooding and poor drainage, two impacts environmental costs of proposed projects into ben- © Land Stewardship Centre of Canada2
  5. 5. efit-cost analysis so that the true benefits and costs Services, or EGS. Table 1, next page, illustratescan be evaluated. some ecological processes and how they are ben-The good news is that many of these environmen- eficial to society.tally related development challenges can be ad-dressed by better planning and design. “Green Barriers to Adoption of “Greener”development” is one term that can be used to Developmentencompass more environmentally conscious plan- In our discussions and surveys of target audiencesning and design, including but not limited to: (elected municipal officials, champion municipal departments, stewardship groups, champion de-  Energy efficient buildings velopers), we were told of several possible barriers  Waste reduction, recycling, composting to the advancement and implementation of green  Renewable energy sources development practices. The following were some  Water conservation, wastewater recycling of the barriers identified from the Green Communi-  Stormwater management ties Guide survey (LSCC 2007-2008):  Wildlife habitat and natural areas protection,  Overly restrictive development guidelines ecological restoration and standards: Municipal department respon-  Recycled and recyclable building materials dents indicated that they felt development stan- that are good for indoor air quality dards and guidelines were not conducive to the approval of green developments.  Effective public transportation and pedestri- an-friendly urban design  Lack of understanding about long-term re- turn on investment: Both municipal department  Agricultural land conservation for local food and elected official respondents cited a lack of production understanding about the long-term return on in-  Climate change mitigation vestment of green development tools/practices  Decentralized/district heating (see CMHC 2005 and CMHC 2008, below, forAn alternate way of evaluating the overall viability of information on addressing this barrier).development is to judge planning and design deci-  Lack of resources within municipal depart-sions on the basis of whether they are ecologically- ments: Elected officials and some municipalfunctional. Ecologically-functional development is department respondents cited a lack of munici-that which protects the ecological processes and pal resources as a barrier to green development.functions of the landscape, restores them in areas In particular, there may be a lack of resources towhere they have been previously lost, or creates approve green developments on a special casethem to compensate for the loss of ecological basis, and/or a lack of resources to researchfunctions in other areas. There are many examples and promote best practices. Often the mu-of ecological functions and processes that should nicipality is simply in a position to respond tobe protected and restored, both for their own value the proposals brought forward by developers,and for the value that these services provide to so- rather than proactively encouraging greenerciety. Ecological processes that have value to soci- proposals.ety are often referred to as Ecological Goods and © Land Stewardship Centre of Canada 3
  6. 6. G REEN C OMMUNITIES G UIDETable 1. Ecological processes and how they benefit societyEcological process Benefits to society Moderation of the impacts of human-induced climate change and its resultingClimate moderation, greenhouse impacts (i.e. moderation of extreme weather events, more extreme drought/flood-gas sequestration ing, increasing populations of invasive insects) Establishment and development of different ecosystem types adapted to differentEcosystem succession geographic areas and conditions, establishment and restoration of naturalized landscapes Protecting flood mitigation/attenuation processes reduces water runoff that canFlood attenuation/mitigation cause floodingGroundwater infiltration and aqui- Decrease in flooding, recharge of groundwater supplies that are used by humansfer recharge Decomposition of dead plant and animal material; uptake and storage of nutrientsNutrient cycling and sequestration (e.g. in soil, plants) that could otherwise cause water quality problemsPollination Increased yields of agricultural crops Overall maintenance of wildlife populations, prevention of population explosionsPredator-prey relationships of potentially-damaging species (e.g. browsers, crop pests) Increased soil fertility to enhance productivity of agricultural crops and vegetationSoil-building in natural areas; compensates for loss of topsoil and fertility due to erosion Infiltration of water into the soil promotes subsurface irrigation of crops and plant communities; infiltration into groundwater recharges aquifers; evapotranspirationWater cycling of water from plants provides atmospheric humidity and reduces excess runoff; provision of moisture in atmosphere maintains local hydrologic patterns and precipitation Natural water purification processes (e.g. via wetlands, soil infiltration) protectWater purification water quality of surface and groundwater reserves Allowing wildlife movement supports healthy and genetically diverse wildlife popu-Wildlife movement lations Lack of information and awareness: Steward- development, possibly due to a lack of incen- ship Groups indicated that they felt there was a tives from municipalities. In some cases, pro- lack of information on green development, and posed green developments are often hampered a lack of public awareness about the negative by municipal development standards that are environmental impacts of conventional devel- not conducive to approving developments with opment practices. “green” features. Poor understanding of requirements for  Lack of case studies to demonstrate suc- maintenance and upkeep of non-convention- cessful tools that can be used: Several re- al infrastructure: Some respondents indicated spondents thought that the lack of case studies they felt that more affordable and locally appro- has been a barrier. priate ways of maintaining green development  Perceptions about safety and attractiveness: are needed (e.g. cleaning sediment from bio- Interestingly, concerns about safety and/or at- swales, clearing traffic-calmed roads of snow). tractiveness of green development were not Developers are not proposing green devel- cited as barriers to the advancement of green opment: Stewardship Groups indicated that development. they felt developers were not proposing green © Land Stewardship Centre of Canada4
  7. 7. References: Land Stewardship Centre of Canada (LSCC).Canada Home and Mortgage Corporation 2007-2008. Green communities guide sur- (CMHC). 2005. Costing Mechanism to vey to assess target audience priorities. Facilitate Sustainable Community Planning: Unpublished. Background Research and Costing Shuler R. E., Roulston T.H.and G.E. Farris. 2005. Framework. Socio-economic Series 05-023. Farming practices influence wild pollinator (March, 2009). populations on squash and pumpkin. Journal Available Online at: www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca of Economic Entomology. 98(3), 790-795. Search by Title Sui, D. Z. 2003. Musings on the Fat City: AreCanada Home and Mortgage Corporation Obesity and Urban Forms Linked?. 24 (1), (CMHC). 2008. Life Cycle Costing Tool 75–84. (March, 2009). for Community Infrastructure Planning. Available Online at: bellwether.metapress.com Socioeconomic Series 08-001. (March, 2009). Type into Search Field: Musings on the Fat Available Online at: www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca CityKrysel, C., Marsh Boyer, E., Parson, C., and Welle, Statistics Canada. 2008. “Dependence on cars P 2003. Lakeshore Property Values and Water . in urban neighbourhoods.” Canadian Social Quality: Evidence from Property Sales in the Trends. 2008, 11-008-85. Mississippi Headwaters Region. Mississippi Available from the Publications module of the Headwaters Board. Statistics Canada website: www.statcan.gc.ca © Land Stewardship Centre of Canada 5
  8. 8. G REEN C OMMUNITIES G UIDE Contents Green Community Design and Policy Tools . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Alternative Road Design, Parking Design, and Permeable Pavement . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 CASE STUDY 1a: Permeable Paving in Green Alleys Project . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .17 CASE STUDY 1b: Country Lanes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .19 CASE STUDY 1c: Three Sisters Drive. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .22 Biodiversity and Species at Risk Planning . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25 CASE STUDY 2: Natural Advantage: The On-Farm Wildlife and Biodiversity Planning Service from Ducks Unlimited Canada . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .29 Bioinfiltration Basins, Rain Gardens, and Bioswales . . . . . . . . . . . . 33 CASE STUDY 3: Alexander Ferguson Elementary School Rain Garden Project. . . . . . . . . .36 Brownfield Reclamation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39 CASE STUDY 4: Re-vegetation of Cloverbar Landfill . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .41 Community Planning with a Sustainability Focus . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45 CASE STUDY 5: Sustainable Okotoks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .47 Conservation Design (Cluster Development) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51 CASE STUDY 6: Strathcona Conservation Design Initiatives . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .53 Density Bonusing and Direct Control Districts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57 CASE STUDY 7: Density Bonusing in Mountainview County Area Structure Plans . . . . . . .59 Floodplain Protection and Flood Management Tools . . . . . . . . . . . . 63 CASE STUDY 8: Town of Okotoks Flood Plain Policy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .65 Green Neighbourhood Certification Programs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 69 CASE STUDY 9: Strathearn Heights Rejuvenation Project and LEED-ND Certification . . . .71 Green Roofs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 75 CASE STUDY 10: Alberta Eco-roof Initiative. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .78 Inventories of Environmental Assets . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 83 CASE STUDY 11: Alberta Heritage Tree Project. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .85 Low-Impact Recreational Trail Design . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 89 CASE STUDY 12: Low-impact Recreational Trail Example . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .90 Rainwater Capture . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 93 CASE STUDY 13: Boreal Centre for Bird Conservation Rainwater Collection System . . . . .95 © Land Stewardship Centre of Canada6
  9. 9. Riparian Setbacks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 99 CASE STUDY 14: Lac la Biche County Riparian Setback Policy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .102Schoolyard Naturalization . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 105 CASE STUDY 15: Riverdale Elementary School Schoolyard Naturalization . . . . . . . . . . . . .107Site Clearing and Grading Standards. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 109 CASE STUDY 16: Town of Canmore; Clearing and Grading Standards . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .111Stormwater Wetlands. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 115 CASE STUDY 17: East Hill Stormwater Management Wetland . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .118Stream Daylighting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 121 CASE STUDY 18: Thain Creek Stream Daylighting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .124Streambank Bioengineering. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 127 CASE STUDY 19: Little Red Deer River Streambank Bioengineering Project . . . . . . . . . . . .130Transfer of Development Rights, Conservation Easements, Land Trusts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 133 CASE STUDY 20: Carraig Ridge and Wild Buffalo Ranch Transfer of Density Subdivision Initiative . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .136Wastewater Recycling . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 141 CASE STUDY 21a: Municipal Solar Aquatics System for wastewater recycling . . . . . . . . . .144 CASE STUDY 21b: Residential Greywater Recycling. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .147Wetland Protection . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 151 CASE STUDY 22: Heritage Hills Wetlands Protection Project . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .153Wildlife Habitat Creation and Restoration . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 157 CASE STUDY 23a: Summerwood Neighbourhood Fish Habitat Creation . . . . . . . . . . . . . .160 CASE STUDY 23b: Hardisty Creek Fish Habitat Restoration Project . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .162Wildlife Movement Corridors and Linkages . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 167 CASE STUDY 24: Wildlife Movement Corridors in the Bow River Valley . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .169Xeriscaping (Water Wise Gardening) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 173 CASE STUDY 25: Rockyford Urban Xeriscape Demonstration Site . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .175Planning Your Green Community . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 179General Resources Additional Reading . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 185 © Land Stewardship Centre of Canada 7

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