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Green Infrastructure Overview
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Presentation given by Bill Jenkins, 10.21.09

Presentation given by Bill Jenkins, 10.21.09

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  • 1. Green Infrastructure: A Foundation for Creating Sustainable Communities Bill Jenkins U.S. EPA, Mid-Atlantic Region (215) 814-2911 jenkins.bill@epa.gov
  • 2. Presentation Overview History and background on “Green Infrastructure” What can it do for you? What Do Benjamin Franklin and the Cheshire Cat have to do with this? From: Common Ground, Vol. 14, No. 1, 2003.
  • 3. The One Constant…Change • Since European settlement we have lost more than 50% of our wetland acreage. • Since 1992, we have lost approximately 80,000 acres of forest annually, for a total of 1.2 million acres. • From 1992, and projecting to 2020, we will have lost over 2.3 million acres of forest and 150,000 acres of wetland. • Developed land area is projected to increase from 2.9 million acres to 5.2 million acres.
  • 4. Ecological Impacts of Landscape Change Degradation of natural landscape features: Loss and fragmentation of forests Loss of riparian buffers and wetlands Stream channel and aquatic habitat impairment Loss of ecosystem services: Carbon and nutrient cycling Sediment trapping Biodiversity Flood mitigation Climate change adaptation, etc.
  • 5. Economic and Social Impacts of Landscape Change Loss of Productive Farm and Forest Land, Cultural Resources, Tourism Revenue Decreased Sense of Community: “Anywhere USA” Impacts to Human Physical and Mental Health; Quality of Life Loss of Services Provided by Natural Systems = Increased Costs for Services to Dispersed Development & to Restore Lost Ecosystem Function
  • 6. Headline: We are discovering polluted streams faster than we can clean them! Region III Rivers and Streams Trend Analysis Miles 7000 28000 303(d) 6000 24000 impaired waters TMDL's Miles of Waters 20000 5000 Completed 4000 16000 and 303(d) Delisted 3000 12000 G Waters 2000 8000 A P 303(d) 1000 4000 Delisted Waters 0 1998 2000 2002 2004 2006 Year
  • 7. The High Societal Cost of Restoration The estimated costs for pollutant cleanups ranges from $4/lb for iron reduction from Acid Mine Drainage to $66/lb for phosphorous reduction in the Chesapeake Bay ($29 billion for nutrient/sediment goals). Impairment Miles Cost Avg Cost/mile Corsica River, MD Nutrients 7.6 $17,500,000 $2,300,000 Little Laurel Run, PA Metals 3 $1,048,013 $349,338 Conewago Ck, PA Nutrients 17 $4,300,000 $252,941 Bear Ck, PA Metals 5 $964,000 $192,800 Catawissa Ck, PA Metals 57.9 $3,500,000 $60,440 Thumb Run, VA Bacteria 17 $2,450,000 $144,117 Willis River, VA Bacteria 30 $2,794,160 $93,138 Muddy Creek, VA Bacteria 9 $2,612,000 $290,222
  • 8. The Issues • Rapid loss and fragmentation of natural lands/open space resulting in: ‣ Lost habitat, water quality and economic benefits, social/cultural heritage, and HUGE restoration costs • Future projections show continuation or acceleration of loss and degradation • Many organizations have no information that identifies the most ecologically, economically or culturally valuable lands. ‣ Most that do haven’t considered the role of these lands within a larger, landscape context.
  • 9. Haphazard Conservation Conservation activities that are: Reactive Site-Specific Narrowly, “Content” Focused Not Technically Defensible Not Integrated with Other Efforts
  • 10. Haphazard Conservation…Not Getting Us Where We Want to Go “Insanity: Doing what you’ve always done and expecting a different result.” Benjamin Franklin “If you don’t know where you are going, any road will do.” Cheshire Cat
  • 11. Strategic Conservation Conservation that promotes planning, protection, restoration and long term management that is: Proactive not Reactive Systematic not Piecemeal Multi-functional not Single Purpose Multiple Scales not Single Scale (i.e. “Context” sensitive) and Science-based
  • 12. Infrastructure: A National Priority… And Source of Pride “The substructure or underlying foundation, especially the basic installations and facilities, on which the continuance and growth of a community or state depends”. (Source: Webster’s New World Dictionary)
  • 13. Implications of Definition of “Infrastructure” A necessity, not an amenity A primary public investment Must be planned and developed as a network – a connected system - not as isolated parts Must be constantly maintained over time to function
  • 14. Green Infrastructure “Strategically planned and managed networks of natural lands, working landscapes and other open spaces that conserve ecosystem values & functions and provide associated benefits to human populations.” (Benedict and McMahon, 2006)
  • 15. Green Infrastructure Conceptual Model IDOR CORR Hub Hub CORRI DOR OR RID COR R I DO RR CO Hub
  • 16. A Healthy Body Needs Healthy Parts, Linked, to Support Healthy Systems Wired Magazine, 11/08
  • 17. What Does Green Infrastructure Do?
  • 18. Green Infrastructure was identified as one of five keys to community sustainability in the late 1990s. The other four being: • Land Use and Development • Community Revitalization and Reinvestment • Rural Enterprise and Community Development • Materials Reuse and Resource Efficiency
  • 19. Built (“Gray”) Infrastructure Social Infrastructure Green Infrastructure Source: Guide to Sustainable Community Indicators, Hart 1999
  • 20. Brings Science to Planning and Implementation Better Worse Incorporates principles of: landscape & aquatic ecology, conservation biology, Better Worse restoration ecology, and watershed management (e.g. hydrology) Better Worse Key to all is connectivity and the spatial pattern of landscape features – even in developed Better Worse areas Pattern affects Processes which World Conservation Strategy affects Function (IUCN 1980)
  • 21. Green “Urban” Infrastructure Integrated networks or systems of built, protected and managed urban ecosystems that provide multiple, complementary functions (i.e. abiotic, biotic and cultural) in support of urban sustainability. (Ahern, 2007)
  • 22. Abiotic Functions Biotic Functions Cultural/Social Functions Maintenance of Habitat and movement Integral and supportive of economic and surface/subsurface routes/corridors for recreational activity (employment, hydrological regime(s) generalist and specialist property value, greenways…) species Air pollution remediation Bio/phyto - remediation Opportunity for physical recreation of wastes and toxics Waste: processing - Supports Supports alternative transportation transformation - reuse metapopulation dynamics for wildlife Buffer/stabilize urban Maintenance of Provide a sense of solitude, quiet, and climate (heat island disturbance and inspiration effect) successional regime(s) Nutrient Cycling - Biomass production Healthy context for social interactions buffering - sequestration Flood buffering - “Reservoir” of genetic Stimulus for artistic and abstract protection diversity expression Reduce Noise Control spread of vector- Supports Environmental education borne diseases (Ahern 1995, Ndubisi 2002)
  • 23. Green “Urban” Infrastructure Focus on the ecology of the built environment, as a complement to protecting the undisturbed environment. Plan, design, manage at multiple scales (regional - neighborhood - site - construction details) and across the land use spectrum. Need to consider the spatial patterns (e.g. connectivity) that support the processes, which determine the functions, of the urban landscape. Allows for strategic, proactive, technically defensible planning and implementation. (Ahern, 2007)
  • 24. Water and Green “Urban” Infrastructure Managing water in urbanized areas has historically focused on conveyance, treating water as a waste product – not an asset. This fails to recognize other ecological or cultural functions: stable streamflow, groundwater recharge and infiltration – or economic opportunities. Other “function” examples: trail connections, moderation of urban climate, urban revitalization, community-based agriculture, wildlife corridors, etc. (Ahern, 2007)
  • 25. Giving Context to Planning, Design, and Implementation Ecological Economic Recreation Local or Site Factors (“Content”) Historical Cultural/Social Regional/Landscape/Watershed Vulnerability Factors (“Context”)
  • 26. Green Infrastructure: A Framework for Growth The Green Infrastructure approach helps shape the pattern of development by providing a framework for growth that first identifies ecologically, culturally and economically significant lands, and then suitable areas for development.
  • 27. Traditional Development Source: Karen Firehock, Green Infrastructure Center Charlottesville, VA
  • 28. Cluster Development Source: Karen Firehock, Green Infrastructure Center Charlottesville, VA
  • 29. “Haphazard” Cluster Development Source: Karen Firehock, Green Infrastructure Center Charlottesville, VA
  • 30. Green Infrastructure Approach Providing Strategic “Context” Source: Karen Firehock, Green Infrastructure Center Charlottesville, VA
  • 31. The Green Infrastructure Approach • Helps reduce opposition to development AND conservation. • Provides predictability and certainty (land use planning, project siting, mitigation and restoration, etc.). • Guides/maximizes/leverages public and private investments in protection, restoration and management. • Based on scientifically defensible principles.
  • 32. The Green Infrastructure Approach Provides a unifying vision that people with diverse interests can support. A framework for integrating sustainability, growth management & strategic conservation at all scales & across diverse landscapes. Recognizes and integrates both ecosystem & human needs.
  • 33. Green Infrastructure Network Landscape Features that Provide Associated Benefits for Human Populations + Landscape Features that Support Natural Ecosystem Values and Functions
  • 34. Some Thoughts to Consider… Committed people make projects work, not money: - look for people with fire in their belly - money will come if you have committed people and a technically defensible strategy. Involve people who can help you create and tell your story.
  • 35. Pima County Arizona: Sonoran Desert Multispecies Conservation Plan Goal: to ensure the long-term survival of the full spectrum of plants and animals indigenous to the county (607,700 acres).
  • 36. “Make no small plans…for they have no ability to stir men’s blood.” Daniel Burnham (1846-1912)