Skip to Content
Report an accessibility problem

Green Infrastructure Resources

Green Infrastructure Resources – EPA

This is the Environmental Protection Agency’s Green Infrastructue portal, with links to further resources.

Green Infrastructure Wizard – EPA

EPA’s Green Infrastructure Wizard, or GIWiz, provides access to tools and resources that can support and promote water management and community planning decisions.

Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities EPA Technical Assistance

Many communities around the country are asking for tools to help them achieve their desired development goals, improve quality of life, and become more economically and environmentally sustainable. In response to this demand, EPA developed the Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities Program.

Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities provides quick, targeted technical assistance to selected communities using a variety of tools that have demonstrated results and widespread application. The purpose of delivering these tools is to stimulate a discussion about growth and development and strengthen local capacity to implement sustainable approaches.

Green Infrastructure and Climate Change: Collaborating to Improve Community Resiliency

Green roofs, trees, and other vegetation can provide many benefits to communities, including reducing heat islands, managing flood risk, building resilience to drought, reducing building energy demand, and reducing the energy needed to manage drinking water and wastewater. EPA has published a report on how four communities (Albuquerque, New Mexico; Grand Rapids, Michigan; Los Angeles, California; and New Orleans, Louisiana) have used green infrastructure to achieve multiple benefits while building their resilience to changes in climate.

Guidance Manual for Homeowners – Managing Stormwater Runoff Using Green Infrastructure

This publication is a compilation of on-line information assembled by the Stormwater Coalition of Albany County. Much of the text is borrowed either in full, or conceptually, from special topic publications developed by the City of Portland, Oregon, Bureau of Environmental Services. Where possible, local information is provided. For a list of Sources, go to page 8.

American Rivers: Permitting Green Infrastructure: A Guide to Improving Municipal Stormwater Permits and Protecting Water Quality

This guide is intended to be a resource for community and watershed advocates that provides clear examples of new stormwater permits that encourage or require “low impact development” or “green infrastructure.” These permits represent an emerging new generation of regulatory approaches and reflect the emerging expertise of water advocacy organizations, stormwater professionals and permitting agencies. Our goal is to provide information about new trends in stormwater permitting and examples of permits that demonstrate leadership toward standards that will build green infrastructure and compliance with water quality standards. With this tool, we hope to inform and inspire continued progress toward stormwater permitting and management that protects our rivers and other shared waters, invigorates healthy communities, and provides cost-effective solutions for stormwater managers.

The Value of Green Infrastructure for Urban Climate Adaptation

The Center for Clean Air Policy. Februrary 2011.

Financing Green Growth in a Resource-constrained World

World Economic Forum. March 2012.

Biogenic Volatile Organic Compound (BVOC) References

Green/Complete Streets

City of Philadephia Green Streets Design Manual

Green streets utilize green stormwater infrastructure (GSI) to capture stormwater at its source and minimize the amount of pollutants that reach the Delaware River, the Schuylkill River, and the many tributary streams within the city. Green streets are a key component of the City of Philadelphia’s Green City, Clean Waters initiative, an innovative program to achieve federal water quality mandates by managing stormwater from impervious surfaces citywide utilizing green stormwater management practices.The Philadelphia Water Department worked closely with the Mayor’s Office of Transportation and Utilities, the Streets Department, Philadelphia Parks and Recreation, and other public utilities, partners, and agencies to develop detailed design templates for green streets that are flexible enough to be applied in a variety of urban street conditions. The Green Streets Design Manual outlines what types of GSI practices are appropriate on various street typologies, provides standardized design details, and lays out the necessary design review and construction inspection processes. Moving forward, design professionals, engineers, planners, and developers can utilize the approved design standards and procedures therein to expedite green street development in Philadelphia.

City of Tucson Green Streets, Suggested Technical Best Practices

Prepared by the Watershed Management Group, this document provides guidelines to accompany the Green Streets Active Practice Guidelines (APG) to ensure optimal performance of green infrastructure practices integrated into roadway designs. All roadway designs will follow Tucson Department of Transportation (TDOT) standards. Details of practices included in this document are for illustration purposes only.

Green Infrastructure Reports and Manuals

Arid Green Infrastructure for Water Control and Conservation State of the Science and Research Needs for Arid/Semi-Arid Regions

Although most green infrastructure practices were first developed in temperate climates, green infrastructure also can be a cost-effective approach to stormwater management and water conservation in arid and semi-arid regions, such as those found in the western and southwestern United States. Green infrastructure practices can be applied at the site, neighborhood and watershed scales. In addition to water management and conservation, implementing green infrastructure confers many social and economic benefits and can address issues of environmental justice.

Green Stormwater Operations and Maintenance Manual, City of Seattle

This manual is a summary of routine maintenance activities for the design of Natural Drainage System (NDS) Projects. Several non-routine maintenance activities are also included within this chart. The manual is divided into four service levels for the vegetation section and three service levels for the hardscape and Infrastructure section. For some design elements, the service levels are very similar. This chart is intended to be a Maintenance Manual for scheduling and performing maintenance activities. The manual features images and descriptions for vegetation, hardscape, infrastructure, and infiltration rates. It includes NDS sites used currently in Seattle and several images from NDS projects in other municipalities. It is important to realize that no single project includes every design element.

Low Impact Development Guidance Documents – Credit Valley Conservation

These guides provide step-by-step guidance on how to retrofit existing properties to incorporate LID stormwater management technologies. Guides are tailored to specific land-uses, including road right-of-ways, private lands, public lands, residential lands and an overarching guide to assist municipalities on how to implement city-wide retrofit programs.

Green City, Clean Waters: Green Infrastructure Maintenance Manual Development Process Plan, City of Philadelphia

This manual outlines the process to create the first edition of a GSI Maintenance Manual over the coming two years. It details information about a combined sewer system.

Low Impact Development Construction Guides – Credit Valley Conservation

The Low Impact Development (LID) Construction Guide and the Contractor’s and Inspector’s Guide for Low Impact Development (C&I Guide) were conceived in concert to target speciϐic audiences and address the practical need for successful construction of LID SWM practices.

City of Mesa and Glendale Low-Impact Development Toolkit

The Cities of Mesa and Glendale, with a grant from the Water Infrastructure Finance Authority of Arizona (WIFA), have partnered to develop this Low Impact Development (LID) Toolkit, with the support of consulting planners and designers and the input of city agencies. The Toolkit is intended to identify current stormwater management practices and national and regional LID best practices, ultimately providing a living document with simple, updatable tools, that can guide the city and their businesses and residents, toward more sustainable stormwater design practices.

American Society of Landscape Architects

The Dirt blog covers the latest news on the built and natural environments and features stories on landscape architecture. Published weekly, The Dirt explores design and policy developments related to land and water use, urbanization, transportation, and climate change.

City of Scottsdale Granite Reef Conceptual LID Manual

This manual includes the Low-Impact Development concepts for the Granite Reef Watershed.

Climate Change Adaption and Transformation Through an Ecoregion Placemaking Approach

Presentation given by Charles M. Beck, an Environmental Planner for Arizona Department of Transportation, at the 2015 European Climate Change Adaptation Conference.

Green Infrastructure Barriers and Opportunities in Phoenix, Arizona

A report done by the EPA in partnership with the City of Phoenix to evaluate the city’s potential for green infrastructure development.

NYC Green Infrastructure Plan and Annual Reports

In September 2010, New York City released the NYC Green Infrastructure Plan which presents an alternative approach to improving water quality that integrates “green infrastructure,” such as rain gardens and green roofs, with investments to optimize the existing system and to build targeted, cost-effective “grey” or traditional infrastructure. They have released annual reports on green infrastructure every year since.

Scottsdale Museum of the West Bioswale

Specifications for Bioswale design.

Ozone/AQI Information

Urban Heat Island

Planting Healthy Air

The Planting Healthy Air report documents which cities stand to benefit most from tree plantings, in terms of both heat and PM reduction, and how much investment would be required to achieve meaningful benefits. The analysis found that investing just US$4 per resident in each of these cities in tree planting efforts could improve the health of millions of people, and that trees are as cost-effective as many other common solutions. Most of the cooling and filtering effects created by trees are fairly localized, so densely populated cities—as well as those with higher overall pollution levels—tend to see the highest overall return on investment (ROI) from tree plantings.

Cool Policies for Cool Cities: Best Practices for Mitigating Urban Heat Islands in North American Cities

A report done by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) evaluating urban heart island mitigation strategies for 26 American cities, and providing recommendations for what each city can do further.


International Stormwater Best Management Practices Database

The International Stormwater Best Management Practices (BMP) Database project website features a database of over 530 BMP studies, performance analysis results, tools for use in BMP performance studies, monitoring guidance and other study-related publications.

Using Graywater and Stormwater to Enhance Local Water Supplies: An Assessment of Risks, Costs, and Benefits

Much of the United States faces chronic or episodic water shortages. It is the topic of daily news in the West, where a historic 4-year drought has caused California to restrict the delivery of water to cities and farms. At the same time, the Midwest and Northeast have received drenching rains and heavier than normal snow. Against this backdrop—of not enough water or too much water—the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s Water Science and Technology Board initiated a study on the beneficial use of stormwater and graywater. Graywater is a year-round source of water for nonpotable use, and use of urban stormwater can augment local water supplies, reduce demand for imported water, and lessen impacts from discharge.

Water Resources Research Center: Water Harvesting Assessment Toolbox

The Water Harvesting Assessment Toolbox is a prototype decision aid designed to help communities in the Southwest US understand the role water harvesting can play in meeting water resource challenges while providing multiple additional benefits. It also introduces water harvesting techniques and suggests ways to implement locally appropriate water harvesting efforts. The Toolbox is intended for a wide range of users. In order to make most effective use of the Toolbox, a local facilitator should convene a varied group of community personnel (water supply management, stormwater management, transportation, planning, engineering, etc.) to go through the water harvesting assessment process together.

Urban Stormwater: Central Arizona Longterm Ecological Research

To enhance our understanding of stormwater dynamics and watershed functioning in aridland, urban environments, the Central Arizona–Phoenix Long-Term Ecological Research (CAP LTER) program began monitoring stormwater runoff at the outflow of the Indian Bend Wash (IBW) in 2008. The IBW is a major drainage in the greater Phoenix metropolitan area, draining much of the City of Scottsdale, and a tributary to the Salt River. A model of soft engineering, the IBW as it runs through the City of Scottsdale is comprised largely of a series of artificial lakes, parks, paths, golf courses, ball fields and other non-structural elements designed with the dual roles of providing outdoor amenities to the City residents and as a floodplain. A unique biogeochemistry of this novel system is detailed by Roach et al. (2008), and Roach and Grimm (2011).

North Desert Village Neighborhood Landscaping Experiment

This experiment examined methods of water use delivery. Four residential landscape design/water delivery types were established in blocks of six households each (mini-neighborhoods) to recreate the four prevailing residential yardscape types found across the Phoenix metropolitan area.

Center for Watershed Protection: Videos

Watershed Management Group: Green Infrastructure Manual

Through Green Streets – Green Neighborhoods, WMG works with neighborhoods, homeowners’ associations, businesses, institutions, and informal community groups to promote and install green infrastructure practices to improve community livability. Their program provides citizens with the skills and resources to problem-solve and take action on issues of flooding, stormwater pollution, urban heat island effect, alternative transportation, and neighborhood beautification in their own neighborhoods.

Harvesting Rainwater Resources:

Harvesting Rainwater for Landscape Use

There are many water harvesting opportunities on developed sites and it can easily be planned into a new landscape during the design phase. Homes, schools, parks, parking lots, apartment complexes, and commercial facilities all provide sites where rainfall can be harvested. Even very small yards can benefit from water harvesting. Whether your landscape is large or small, the principles outlined in this manual apply.

Pima Association of Governments Rainwater Harvesting Guide

Rainwater harvesting, a stormwater management practice, captures or slows down surface stormwater so it can be put to beneficial use. Harvested rainwater can flow to surrounding vegetation to help beautify the landscape and increase shade. Active rainwater harvesting uses gutters and downspouts to direct water into cisterns that store water for future use. Passive rainwater harvesting uses depressions and/or berms called “earthworks” to store water in the soil, where it can be used by vegetation.