'Green Infrastructure': from Rooftops to Rivers

 Bring Nature into City Environments

The report, Rooftops to Rivers II, outlines challenges and solutions facing US cities in restoring and maintaining the quality of rivers, lakes, and other waterways. Produced by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), the report strongly supports the use of green infrastructure – vegetation and other water collection and filtration systems that absorb rainfall before it becomes polluted runoff – to protect watersheds.
“Although land use strategies were beyond the scope of Rooftops to Rivers II, and are not discussed in it, smart growth too can play a very important role in protecting watersheds from stormwater runoff.  The authors observe that, under current trends, the US could have 68 million more acres of developed land, with accompanying roads, parking lots and rooftops that promote runoff, by 2025.  But that need not be the case:  more efficient land use can bring that number down,” writes Kaid Benfield, NRDC Director of Sustainable Communities, in an article posted on his blog.
In his article, Kaid Benfield also writes that: “….we also need to bring nature into our city environments, both to maintain ecological health and to enrich the health and well-being of city residents and visitors.  Green infrastructure makes urban density better and more inviting by doing exactly that with trees, green roofs, gardens, natural landscaping, and more.”

TO LEARN MORE: To read the complete article by Kaid Benfield, click on Report highlights exemplary clean water practices in Philadelphia, Milwaukee, other cities. Kaid Benfield is co-founder, LEED for Neighborhood Development rating system; and co-founder, Smart Growth America coalition.

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