The NYC Soil & Water Conservation District, a SWIM Steering Committee member, recently completed a national assessment of effective practices to convert vacant lots to green space, available at SWIM’s website. The NYC SWCD’s study identified how leading cities plan, administer and implement programs that convert vacant lots to green space, in the context of regulatory requirements and broader redevelopment goals. The researchers used ten case studies from around the country – including New York City – to identify how cities can plan, administer, program, design, assure long-term ownership, maintain, and finance the greening of vacant lots to manage stormwater. Key findings are applied to the City of Philadelphia, informing its ambitions storm water management planning efforts. Their study was prepared for The Nature Conservancy as part of the NatLab collaboration, and was made possible by a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation. [available at SWIM’s website]
SWIM, with Steering Committee members NRDC and Riverkeeper, responded to the City’s questioning of important Federal regulations, in the Environmental Law Institute’s Environmental Forum periodical. Whereas the city’s deputy commissioner and environmental commissioner referenced the EPA as “the problem” to stormwater management planning, we remarked that the EPA Integrated Planning Framework “preserves important, bedrock principles of the Clean Water Act.” Indeed, the citizen advisory committee process, a city-run initiative required by the EPA Clean Water Act, helped to spur the founding of SWIM as a key advocate for water quality in the city. Read the full article here
Washington DC has unveiled its plan to help the district work toward sustainable goals. The plan titled “Sustainable DC” has a some great water quality related targets they hope to achieve by 2032, including: making 100% of the districts waterways swimmable and fishable, using 75% of the landscape to capture rainwater for filtration or reuse, and reducing total water usage by 40%. They hope to do this by installing 2 million new square feet of green roofs, building 25 miles of green alleys, establishing permeable surface minimums for select zoning districts, and restricting the use of cosmetic pesticides and chemical fertilizers. Read the plan here and visit the district’s Sustainable DC website here.
Centered around how Western New York communities can utilize green infrastructure projects, the event will discuss resource acquisition for green infrastructure, community action in green infrastructure, innovations in green infrastructure, and green infrastructure in public private partnerships. Read more about it here.
Investors take note: Annie Donovan, Senior Policy Advisor for the New Financial Instruments at the White House Council on Environmental Quality, wants you to know that infrastructure investment means more than funding technological advancements in power grids, bridges, and cell phone towers; it can also mean the creation of sustainable communities. Donovan highlights that innovative urban planners, policy makers, and social entrepreneurs have been honing their expertise in the growing field of green infrastructure for some time now and discusses a few green infrastructure collaborations funded by federal agencies and private organizations. While she may be speaking to the choir here, the push for investors to help fund the creation of more ecologically vibrant communities is needed. Read more about it here.
As we struggle with the recovery post-Sandy, Dr. Montalto poignantly illustrates how green infrastructure helps the region in adapting to climate change. His testimony, submitted to the NYS Assembly Committee on Environmental Conservation, can be downloaded here. If you have been trying to grapple with the connection between Sandy and GI, this is a must-read.