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Green Infrastructure

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HOW A VEGETATED GREEN ROOF CAN ACHIEVE MORE DETENTION: “A new technology involves replacing the traditional fast-draining drainage layer with a ‘friction’ or ‘detention’ layer to ensure that during large storms, runoff rates are lower than rainfall,” stated Sasha Aguilera (November 2019)


“Imagine a traditional vegetated roof of customary design. The vegetated roof acts like a sponge. However, when the sponge is wet, the entire system is designed to drain rapidly,” wrote Sasha Aguilera. “Though it is possible to achieve detention via increased distance to drain and reduction of the slope, those two changes are often impractical or impermissible. However, the introduction of friction to a vegetated roof system is possible; thus causing a temporary accumulation of water within the vegetated roof.”

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BUILDING RAIN GARDENS IN THE CLIMATE EMERGENCY ERA: “Community engagement and green infrastructure are powerful partners for building climate resiliency. Our vision is to scale up this work and encourage our partners to embrace this winning partnership as significant levers for change,” stated Dr. Joanna Ashworth, Project Director, North Shore Rain Gardens Project (Metro Vancouver)


“One rain garden does not seem like much in the face of so much road water runoff that is sending containments into our salmon bearing streams and rivers, but scaled up, green infrastructure like rain gardens capture and filter large volumes of runoff, thereby reducing flow and pollutants and better protecting species. These green approaches are also more cost effective than replacing municipal storm water infrastructure: and they provide opportunities for community interaction,” stated Joanna Ashworth.

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BOREAL FORESTS: “Reversing land degradation can provide over one-third of the climate mitigation required by 2030 to remain below 2°C increase in average global temperatures,” wrote Catherine Benson Wahlen, International Institute for Sustainable Development


“During the Fifth European Forest Week and Forêt2019, country representatives came together to discuss forest restoration and cooperation on boreal forests,” wrote Catherine Benson Wahlen. “Country representatives from the Caucasus and Central Asia agreed on a regional greening strategy focused on landscape restoration and greening infrastructure. According to the UNECE, this region’s ecosystems and landscapes have suffered from excessive extraction and waste of water, deforestation and pollution from mining, resulting in desertification, land erosion and soil loss.”

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Ecological Accounting Process / A BC Strategy for Community Investment in the Natural Commons: “Ecological services are not merely residual outcomes of land use; rather, they are core local government services,” states Tim Pringle, EAP Chair


“The idea of a natural commons supporting a package of ecological services which the community wants and expects to have implies that approved plans for land development should not result in ecological services being merely residual outcomes – that is, the community should be happy with what is left. Rather, their maintenance and management (M&M) should be planned as core municipal services,” stated Tim Pringle.

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A NEW KIND OF CARE IN A CHANGING CLIMATE: “To ensure green infrastructure has a long future, experts are tackling the maintenance needs of the installations as they arise — often as surprises — and are working to formalize project care as an official job,” wrote Lisa Nemo


“While green infrastructure promises such benefits, administrators, engineers, maintenance crews and more are still learning how to ensure the installations deliver. Everyone knows what to do, who is responsible. But experimentation with some green infrastructure only began in the 1990s. Some versions are living systems that need specific care that people’s formal training as architects, engineers or landscapers likely didn’t prepare them for,” wrote Lisa Nemo.

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TREED: WALKING IN CANADA’S URBAN FORESTS > “My message is … pay attention to the trees. Realize you’re living alongside these amazing old beings. But also … let’s maybe work more to protect them,” says author Ariel Gordon


“Winnipeg is my home. And I’ve come to see the trees in Winnpeg’s urban forest as inhabitants of the city just as much as people are. What’s more, I think of the trees as relatives,” says Ariel Gordon. “Most people know that an urban forest provides environmental benefits to city dwellers, including energy savings, improving air quality, sequestering carbon and helping to manage storm water. But what they don’t realize is that trees are also a vital component in improving public health, most notably mental health.”

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GUIDANCE DOCUMENT: “Primer on Integrating Natural Assets into Asset Management” builds on foundations established by two initiatives – EAP, Ecological Accounting Process; and MNAI, Municipal Natural Assets Initiative (released by Asset Management BC, September 2019)


“Asset management is a process for sustainable service delivery. The BC Framework is designed as a wheel as there is a beginning but no end to the process. The role of natural assets in our communities is not well understood. As the Primer shows, significant work has been done on the integration of natural assets into the overall asset management program,” states Wally Wells. The Primer builds on the foundations established by EAP, the Ecological Accounting Process, and the Municipal Natural Assets Initiative.

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COLLABORATE / IMPROVE WHERE LIVE: ‘Sustainable Service Delivery’ refocuses business processes on how constructed and natural assets are used to deliver services, and support outcomes that reduce life-cycle costs and address risks (Asset Management BC Newsletter, Fall 2019)


Motivated by a shared vision for restoration of the aquatic environment in Burrard Inlet, three engineers with distinguished careers have been passionate and relentless in convincing Metro Vancouver to rethink the treatment process strategy for the new Lions Gate Treatment Plant. “Recent studies have shown harmful chemicals and pharmaceuticals present in local waters and in juvenile salmon. How stupid would it be to build a $778 million plant and have it out of date before it even opened,” stated Ken Ashley.

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THE POTENTIAL FOR GLOBAL FOREST COVER: “Our study provides a benchmark for a global action plan, showing where new forests can be restored around the globe,” reports Jean-Francois Bastin, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (July 2019)


“We mapped the global potential tree coverage to show that 4.4 billion hectares of canopy cover could exist under the current climate,” wrote Jean-Francois Bastin. “Excluding existing trees and agricultural and urban areas, we found that there is room for an extra 0.9 billion hectares of canopy cover, which could store 205 gigatonnes of carbon in areas that would naturally support woodlands and forests. This highlights global tree restoration as our most effective climate change solution to date.”

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ARTICLE: Sustainable Service Delivery in a Changing Climate – “EAP, the Ecological Accounting Process, provides metrics that enable communities to appreciate the worth of natural assets,” states Tim Pringle (Asset Management BC Newsletter, Fall 2019)


“Traditionally land development is implemented under criteria set out in local government bylaws and other legislation. So-called proven practices of development follow a usual sequence: the community plan, zoning, institutional uses, parks and public spaces, and infrastructure including roads and drainage. This traditional approach does not appreciate hydrology and the streams it supports as systems. EAP addresses this specific deficiency,” explains Tim Pringle.

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