Before we can define Green Infrastructure, we must first define stormwater. Stormwater is the water generated by rain or snowmelt on “impervious surfaces” (such as roads, sidewalks, parking lots, and buildings). In towns, villages and other urban environments, stormwater usually flows into stormwater system pipes before eventually going to a local stream, lake, or waste water treatment plant. This stormwater management approach is often termed “gray infrastructure”. An alternative approach is the use of green infrastructure.


Green Infrastructure “artfully” designed in a downtown project (SUNY ESF)

Green Infrastructure: Systems that mimic natural processes in order to infiltrate, evaporate, and/or reuse stormwater. Green infrastructure uses soils, topography, and vegetation in a way that minimizes the impacts of anthropocentric disturbance and maintains the pre-development hydrology and water quality of urban environments.

Rain gardens and rain barrels are two examples of things that you can easily do at home to contribute to Green Infrastructure.

For more information:

EPA’s web page on Green Infrastructure
SUNY ESF Green Infrastructure progam


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