Pathway to Parks & Affordable Housing Joint Development

Drawing on experiences of Transit Oriented Development, LA THRIVES and Los Angeles Regional Open Space and Affordable Housing (LA ROSAH) Coalition, created a report outlining five strategies that integrate urban greening (i.e. parks and green infrastructure investments) with affordable housing. … Continued

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Jobs and Equity in the Urban Forest

The report describes opportunities for equitable policy-making in municipal and regional settings for urban forestry initiatives. Community-based workforce development and job opportunities are described as well as an example of the economic impacts of a social enterprise. Successful case studies … Continued

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The South Platte: an Urban River and Critical Watershed

The South Platte River Urban Waters Partnership (SPRUWP) focuses on the headwaters and the Denver metropolitan area, and consists of over seventy organizations, including Federal and state government, municipalities, universities, NGOs and private businesses, all collaborating to address the problems facing the South Platte and improve this vital waterway for current and future generations — as well as those who live downstream of Denver.

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2018 National Training Workshop Summary Notes

This workshop summary provides an overview of the 2018 National Training Workshop sessions and key discussion topics. Links to all available presentations and photographs from the workshop are available on the main website. Direct links to each speaker’s presentation are also provided in the summary PDF. 

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#EstuarioRevive: Monitoring, Restoration and Resiliency in the San Juan Bay Estuary

When Hurricane Maria struck in September 2017, septic and power systems in the San Juan Bay Estuary failed and crucial habitats were destroyed as had been predicted by the vulnerability assessment conducted four years earlier. Although Estuario was prepared to respond, guided by the adaptation plans established in 2015, aging infrastructure, continued development in the watershed, and intense hurricane forces multiplied the impacts of flooding and water pollution. In the aftermath of the storm, it was very clear to Estuario leaders that aggressive actions needed to be taken to increase both the ecological and economic resiliency of the watershed. Estuario doubled-down on its efforts with #EstuarioRevive, an initiative designed to implement projects to monitor, restore, and increase the resilience efforts of the San Juan Bay Estuary.

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Green Infrastructure and Health Guide

The guide was prepared by members of the Oregon Health and Outdoors Initiative—the Oregon Public Health Institute and the Willamette Partnership—in collaboration with the Green Infrastructure Leadership Exchange. The guide proposes green infrastructure solutions to improving prevalent health issues in … Continued

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Parks with Purpose: Community Driven Green Infrastructure

Through their Parks with Purpose program, The Conservation Fund and partner organizations are designing and implementing green infrastructure in underserved urban communities while engaging and training residents to make way for lasting change.

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Atlanta Watershed Learning Network: Educating and Empowering Communities to Advocate for Equity and Environmental Protections

Environmental Community Action, Inc (ECO-Action) – a grassroots organization that works with people to fight for their rights to clean air, land, and water – acts as a support system to the communities they serve by providing resources and creating partnerships with other organizations. They have developed many programs designed for educating and empowering the Proctor and Intrenchment Creek watershed communities to advocate for equity and environmental protections. Among their initiatives, ECO-Action is heavily involved in community education and advocacy towards the implementation of green infrastructure projects that address stormwater flooding issues and provide more livable neighborhoods for underserved communities.

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Proctor Creek Watershed: Green Infrastructure That Benefits Community & Environment

In 2013, the Proctor Creek Watershed was designated by the EPA as an Urban Waters Federal Partnership location, with goals to engage the community while improving water quality, providing green spaces, and supporting green infrastructure. The Conservation Fund was awarded an EPA Urban Waters Small Grant in 2016 to work with residents and multiple organizations of the Proctor Creek Watershed to create green infrastructure solutions that benefit the community and the environment.

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Lower Hudson Urban Waters Collaborative: Strengthening Stewardship through Partnerships and Community Science

To further understand the severity and sources of bacterial pollution in the four urban subwatersheds in the Hudson River Estuary, Sarah Lawrence Center for the Urban River at Beczak (CURB), supported by an EPA Urban Waters Small Grant, created the Lower Hudson Urban Waters Collaborative. Partnering with Riverkeeper, the Hudson River Watershed Alliance, and the Bronx River Alliance, the Urban Waters Collaborative created a strong partnership in the Lower Hudson Valley in which the organizations share experiences and combine data resources with the goal of strengthening stewardship and community science capacity.

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Urban Nature for Human Health and Well Being

This report provides the latest research on the social, health, and economic benefits of urban green space, with an emphasis on tree canopies. Research shows that more trees and green space in urban areas directly reduce pollution, reduce heat, encourage exercise and related health, lower stress, and improve longevity among residents.

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RiverXchange: New Mexico Students Connect Globally as They Learn about the Rio Grande Watershed

RiverXchange—a school-based program that supports and supplements Common Core and 21st Century Standards—is designed to introduce water resources concepts to young people using a variety of fun methods that integrate writing, math, science, and physical activity. By interacting with models, reading relevant texts, learning from experts, and going on field trips, students learn about watersheds, river ecosystems, and the importance of water conservation. They also learn how to monitor water quality and calculate their own ecological footprints, then internalize these concepts by writing about them in their own words.

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Raising Awareness: Microplastic Pollution in the NY-NJ Harbor Estuary

Advocating for change starts first with quantifying and documenting the extent of plastics pollution. The NY/NJ Baykeeper study illuminates the high prevalence of plastics pollution within the Harbor Estuary and highlights the importance of both decreasing plastics consumption and increasing disposal awareness. 

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Sustainable Models for Green Infrastructure Maintenance

This report on Sustainable Models for Green Infrastructure Maintenance in the Great Lakes Region summarizes the findings of a 2016 convening in Buffalo, NY of local government, land bank, sewer district, nonprofit, landscape, and community and workforce development professionals from … Continued

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Oklahoma City’s Drinking Water in a Struggling Watershed

In 2012, the Oklahoma Water Resources Board (OWRB) received an EPA Urban Waters Small Grant, sub-granted by the Oklahoma Secretary of Energy and Environment, to study the causes of the eutrophic conditions in Lakes Hefner and Overholser and to evaluate which Best Management Practices (BMPs) could significantly reduce the nutrient load affecting water quality in the lakes. Originally, the study focused on identifying BMPs that could be implemented in the lakes themselves. However, it was found that most of the pollution was coming from urban runoff entering the North Canadian River.

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Photo of Lake Overholser

Tackling Runoff through Community Education and Technology

In urban settings, stormwater runoff is one of the leading water quality concerns due to limited surface area where water can infiltrate into the soil. Impervious surfaces result in water flowing quickly across pavement and down gutters and sewers rather than dispersing out evenly over the landscape. The farther and faster the water travels, the more contaminants and sediment it picks up along the way.

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An Equitable Water Future: a National Briefing Paper

This U.S. Water Alliance publication summarizes the overarching and regional challenges that demonstrate the need for more equitable approaches, then outlines the “three pillars of equity” based on USWA’s original research, as well as data from PolicyLink. The report goes … Continued

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Gentrification and Residential Mobility in Philadelphia

By focusing on Philadelphia and comparing this city’s mobility rates with other gentrification and displacement studies, it becomes evident that the effects of gentrification are extremely complex and can affect populations in a variety of ways depending on income level and other demographics. 

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Exploring the Green Infrastructure Workforce

This study was produced by Jobs for the Future (JFF) as part of NatureWORKS, a national initiative to understand the jobs, careers, skills, credentials, and potential of the U.S. green infrastructure workforce; and was funded by the U.S. Forest Service’s … Continued

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Restoring the Wabash River in the Heart of Indiana

The Wabash River, which is Indiana’s state river, has a rich economic and cultural history. As a tributary of the Ohio River, it is part of the upper reaches of the 1,245,000-square-mile Mississippi River Basin, and so was a vital navigation and trade route for French traders traveling between Canada and the Gulf of Mexico.

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The Emerald Necklace: Connecting the Mountains to the Sea

The San Gabriel River drains a 713-mile watershed in the San Gabriel Mountains, flowing as far south as Long Beach, where it enters Alamitos Bay as a tidal river. It shares its watershed with two other major rivers: the Los Angeles and the Santa Ana.

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Workforce Development: Empowering Baltimore’s Residents and Shaping Futures

The Patapsco River flows for 39 miles through central Maryland and ultimately into the Chesapeake Bay. The last 10 miles of the Patapsco River form an estuary that is home to Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. Historically, the Inner Harbor was an important seaport and is still an essential component to Baltimore’s economy by being home to one of the city’s largest tourist attractions.

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Reclaiming Urban Waterways—Daylighting the Saw Mill River

Few environmental projects focus community attention as dramatically as those that seek to create (or retrieve) parks and trails along urban waterways. The Groundwork network has achieved significant success on such projects, including the Saw Mill River Daylighting Park in Yonkers, NY; the Spicket River Greenway in Lawrence, MA; the Elizabeth River Greenway in Elizabeth, NJ; and the Mill Creek Greenway in Cincinnati.

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Stream Processes-A Guide to Living in Harmony with Streams

This wonderful guide, developed by the Chemung Soil and Water Conservation District in Horseheads, NY, has detailed, yet extremely understandable language and graphics (as well as humor) for people to be able to really understand our love-hate relationship with streams–especially … Continued

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Local Government Stormwater Financing Manual

This document from EFC EPA, published in 2014, was inspired by and written for local government leaders. Though effectively managing urban stormwater runoff requires leadership and bold decision making at all levels of government, it is at the local level … Continued

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Stormwater Messaging Posters

These posters were part of a program funded by EPA’s Urban Waters Small Grants. The Northern Middlesex Council of Governments and Merrimack River Watershed Council created these posters in the language of area residents–working with the community to idenify the … Continued

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River Voices (2015) Green Infrastructure & Urban Rivers

This issue of River Network’s quarterly newsletter explores the topic of turning our cities blue, of moving from gray to green infrastructure, and the related benefits to our communities of restoring the health of our urban waters. Download this resource

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Chesapeake Stormwater Network

Website of Chesapeake Stormwater Network, an organization that promotes more sustainable stormwater management in the Chesapeake Bay through advocating for the reform of federal, state and local laws, permits, regulations and designs manuals. Website Link

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Daylighting: New Life for Buried Streams

Report describing the process of daylighting streams. Daylighting projects liberate waterways that were buried in culverts or pipes or otherwise removed from view and re-establishes a waterway in its old channel where feasible, or a new channel. Download this resource

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Multifaceted Methods Help Restore the Mystic River

| Arlington, MA

Momentum for improving the Mystic River got started in 1969 when various agencies and local planning departments published a report outlining plans to tackle the high levels of pollution and improve recreational opportunities on the Mystic River Reservation, a publicly-owned nature preserve. By the early 1980’s, greenways with bike and pedestrian trails started to be installed.

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Centennial Creek Restoration Project

Centennial Creek, a tributary of the Salinas River, begins east of the City of Paso Robles, California and flows into the Salinas River on the west side of town. The Salinas River flows into the Monterrey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. This is significant because any improvements made to Centennial Creek, though miles away, will positively impact the marine sanctuary.

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Environmental Justice for South Wilmington, Delaware

Flooding in South Wilmington neighborhood is a severe and well documented issue. South Wilmington is situated in a 100-year flood plain and surrounded on three sides by the Christina River. Knowing the extent of these issues, the City of Wilmington applied for and received funding in 2013 to repurpose three brownfields sites into a wetlands park in order to alleviate flooding.

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The Joy of Water

Homeowners guide to managing water on residential property. Step-by-step “recipes” to use on properties to reduce water pollution and small-scale flooding. Download this resource

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Addressing Baltimore’s Vacant Land Problem

Baltimore, Maryland, home to over 30,000 vacant and abandoned lots and numerous economically disadvantaged neighborhoods, is also home to some of the most innovative job creation strategies and vacant lot reclamation projects in the nation.

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Vacant Lots to Greenways in Kansas City

Heartland Conservation Alliance (HCA) was created as an alliance of diverse partners who share a vision and work collectively to conserve natural areas, connect people to nature and convene partners. Their mission is creating multiple benefits for people by focusing on projects that save Kansas City’s valuable natural resources and give them back to benefit the community—“ecological democracy.”

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Visioning for Green Infrastructure

While ECO-Action serves as the lead for the project there are many partners working together to address stormwater and combined sewer overflow impact on Proctor Creek. Green infrastructure concepts and principals are being infused into the Clark Atlanta University dual engineering courses. This marks a milestone in the efforts led by ECO-Action to increase awareness among faculty, staff, and students about the importance of green infrastructure and the type of positive impacts these practices and principals can have at a local level.

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Helping to Save the Rain

Once known as the most polluted lake in the nation, Onondaga Lake has received significant attention over the last several decades. The lake’s upper water’s have undergone tremendous improvement because of efforts to remediate industrial and municipal pollution. Improvements to the county’s wastewater treatment plant as well as the reduction of combined sewer overflows (CSO) through the use of both grey and green infrastructure have led to the resurgence of the lake’s fishery.

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Stormwater and Sewer Overflows “Sexy?”–Effective Messaging in Galveston Bay

Water quality is not the most zany or attractive topic in which to engage citizens. They know it’s important, but how, really, can they affect change? The Galveston Bay Foundation has launched a successful suite of programs —matching playful and provacative messaging with down-to-earth behaviors—that will empower local citizens to improve water quality in the bay.

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A Model to Engage Youth

Each model site is a place where neighborhood surface waters (streams and lakes), receives water runoff from storms (stormwater), and becomes an outdoor learning site for investigations and actions by students from nearby schools. Thus Keep It Clean (KIC) – Neighborhood Environmental Trio (NET) means a program focusing on clean water (KIC), each with a school, park (preferably with a recreation center), and an accessible body of water or waterway within a few minutes walk of each other (NET).

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Restoring a Watershed One Community at a Time: Groundwork NOLA

In a city like New Orleans, community is everything. Walks down the street, one can simply speak to everyone passing by, and everyone would keep an eye out for one another. Everyone was each other’s neighbor. Eight years ago, prior to Hurricane Katrina, walking around the Lower Ninth Ward meant passing several homes on every block.

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Restoring Balance in an Urban Creek through Green Infrastructure

Ellerbe Creek flows out of the heart of Durham, North Carolina through the community on its 14 mile path to Falls Lake Reservoir, a drinking water source for more than half a million people. It offers a refuge for people and nature from the stresses of city life across its compact 37 square mile watershed. The entire creek has been designated as impaired since 1998 for ecological/biological integrity. Falls Lake Reservoir has similarly been identified as an impaired water body due to excessive levels of nitrates and phosphates associated with poorly managed stormwater and failing waste water systems.

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Cleveland Botanical Garden Transforms Vacant Property Using Green Methods to Reduce Runoff

| Cleveland, OH

The Garden is a nonprofit organization whose mission is “to spark a passion for plants and cultivate an understanding of their vital relationship to people and the environment.” Their commitment extends beyond the gardens and into the community through various projects and programs that work to engage people in learning about the importance of a healthy environment.

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