Green Infrastructure

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Rain gardens soak up urban stormwater pollution

Properly designed “rain gardens” can effectively trap and retain up to 99 percent of common pollutants in urban storm runoff, potentially improving water quality and promoting the conversion of some pollutants into less harmful compounds. This is according to new research scheduled for publication in the February 15, 2006 issue of the American Chemical Society journal, “Environmental Science and Technology”. The affordable, easy-to-design gardens could help solve one of the nation’s most pressing pollution problems.

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New EPA ‘Smart Growth’ Release – “Growing Toward More Efficient Water Use: Linking Development, Infrastructure, and Drinking Water Policies”

This publication focuses on the relationship between development patterns, water use, and the cost of water delivery. It reviews literature that shows how large-lot, dispersed development patterns can cost more to serve because of the length of pipe required, pumping costs, and other factors. It also includes policy options that directly reduce the cost and demand for water, while indirectly promoting smarter growth.

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Design With Nature to Enhance the Built Environment

Increasingly, the focus of design professionals is on how to build and/or rebuild communities in balance with the natural environment. Green infrastructure means use of processes and systems that are natural or mimic nature to provide community services — i.e. “design with nature”.

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Green Infrastructure Partnership

The mission of the Green Infrastructure Partnership is to provide leadership and encourage others to implement 'design with nature' design practices and regulation province-wide. Implementation by local governments will be voluntary, but once the decision is made to embrace green infrastructure, implementation will need clearly defined standards.

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Smart Bylaws Guide for British Columbia Municipalities:

Many municipalities and developers in B.C. are emerging as North American leaders in smart growth practices at the regional and local scale. Residents are demanding more choices in housing, and in the quality of neighbourhoods and job opportunities. In recognition of this leadership role, West Coast Environmental Law has developed a comprehensive web-based “Smart Bylaws Guide” to help local governments implement smart growth strategies through policy and bylaw changes.

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Post-project monitoring of BMPs/SUDS to determine performance and whole-life costs

This Water Environment Research Foundation report by LK Lampe, entitled “Post-project monitoring of BMPs/SUDS to determine performance and whole-life costs”, states that, over the past 20 years, the use of Best Management Practices (BMPs) in the United States has been instrumental in reducing both the detrimental impacts to receiving water quality and the exacerbated flooding caused by urbanization and storm water drainage. More recently, Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SUDS) have started to be used in the United Kingdom.

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Source and on-site controls for municipal drainage systems

The National Guide to Sustainable Municipal Infrastructure recently released another in its “best practice” series. “Source and On-Site Controls for Municipal Drainage Systems” provides a brief overview of the rationale behind stormwater management programs, and explains why implementing run-off controls is important in a sustainable development context.

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Green Infrastructure in British Columbia: the province’s perspective

Michael Zbarsky, with the Municipal Engineering Services Branch of the BC Ministry of Community Services, delivered a presentation outlining the province’s perspective on green infrastructure to a 2005 Joint AGM in Burnaby. The AGM had a green infrastructure theme, and was of special interest to municipal engineers, planners, and others interested in introducing green infrastructure to their communities.

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