Aging water infrastructure, extreme weather, and pressure from residents for green space and community resilience are bringing about changes to the way cities around the country are thinking about stormwater management. In times past, preferred practices funneled water into pipes underground, moving it away from the built environment as fast as possible. However, these practices can impair water quality and do not always solve flooding problems. Increasingly, communities are considering green infrastructure as part of their stormwater management plan.
From a hydrological perspective, green infrastructure or GI is designed to capture stormwater at or near its origin and allow it to be absorbed by soil, plants, or other media in place. To residents, GI looks like parks, gardens, parking lots, and green roofs, and provides important community co-benefits such as recreational space and pollinator habitat.
Green Infrastructure Community of Practice
The Green Infrastructure Community of Practice or GI CoP is an Extension-Sea Grant collaboration working to support outreach professionals advancing community stormwater management and green infrastructure practices.
This communities uses the National Green Infrastructure Certification Program definition of stormwater and green infrastructure – ‘Stormwater management practices that protect, restore, or mimic the natural water cycle are referred to as green infrastructure (GI). [GI] is a collection of engineered systems that utilize natural or “green” approaches to manage stormwater locally.’
The team is an outgrowth of the Network’s Equitable Green Infrastructure project which published a report in 2020 outlining barriers to and opportunities for equitable green infrastructure distribution and workforce development across the region, recommendations for Extension and community-level programming to address those barriers, and future research and community pilot opportunities.
The team focuses on professionals in the North Central Regional Water Network and the Great Lakes Sea Grant Network, but welcome those outside of the region to join.
- Share and cross-train Extension and Sea Grant professionals on models, methods, and tools to understand and assess GI and stormwater policies, codes, and ordinances, and on effective GI extension and outreach to community leaders, business owners, K-12 teachers and students, and others.
- Help communities
- understand and use GI to minimize stormwater runoff and its potential impacts to the built and natural environment;
- maximize the societal co-benefits associated with GI, including environmental literacy; workforce development; and diversity, equity and inclusion; and
- be more responsive and resilient to environmental and population changes over time.
- Join monthly network calls and receive email updates. To subscribe, click here.
- Participate in collaborative grant opportunities
- Enhance professional skills at periodic professional development webinars, workshops, and conferences
- Network with other like minded peers
Please contact any of our executive committee representatives
- John Bilotta, Minnesota Water Resources Center and Minnesota Sea Grant
- Eliana Brown, University of Illinois Extension and Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant
- Meaghan Gass, Michigan Sea Grant
- Lisa Merrifield, University of Illinois Extension
- Kara Salazar, Purdue Extension and University of Illinois Extension
- Chiara Zuccarino-Crowe, Michigan Sea Grant and NOAA, Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory