Green infrastructure is more than a bioswale or green roof, it is a multi-scale network of ecological features and systems that provide environmental, economic, and social benefits within our built infrastructure. Green infrastructure is our Nation’s natural life support system – an interconnected network of protected land and water that supports native species, maintains natural ecological processes, sustains air and water resources and contributes to the health and quality of life for America’s communities and people.
Current conservation efforts often focus on individual pieces of land, limiting their conservation benefits to the environment and human health. Identifying and planning for green infrastructure provides a framework for smart conservation and smart growth. Regional councils are critical to the green infrastructure movement because they are in the unique position to convene stakeholders, conduct strategic planning, and implement projects to accomplish sustainable outcomes.
Roadmap to Green Infrastructure in the Federal Agencies
Green Infrastructure and Forestry Toolkit
NARC and VT created the Green Infrastructure & Forestry Toolkit (GIFT) website to assist both novice and expert local governments in developing a regional green infrastructure system. GIFT is designed to be a one-stop-shop for information and resources on green infrastructure and urban forestry. Featuring a series of essential guides, outreach templates, calculators, GIS mapping tools, and case studies, GIFT makes green infrastructure planning easily accessible to communities nationwide.
Regional Centers of Excellence Initiative (RCE)
Since 2009, the Regional Centers of Excellence Initiative has promoted regional green infrastructure planning and implementation by supporting peer-to-peer information sharing among regional planning organizations. Green infrastructure priorities are incorporated into local land use plans, long-range transportation and environmental plans, zoning changes, and other programs at the regional and local level. The full effects of the RCE project on the regions, the stakeholders and their communicates will be visible for years after each project’s completion and extend far beyond its initial boundaries.
Green Infrastructure Assessment
In 2012, NARC partnered with Virginia Tech University on a project funded by the U.S. Forest Service’s National Urban and Community Forestry Challenge Cost-Share Grant Program. The project, Green Infrastructure Assessment: Mapping and Evaluating the Support System for Green Infrastructure Planning in the United States conducted a comprehensive assessment of the institutional support system for green infrastructure planning and implementation in the United States. Through this assessment, NARC and Virginia Tech identified successful practices and provided recommendations for potential areas for federal agency coordination that will improve the institutional support system for this important work. While the project gathered information from all government levels, NARC focused on the multi-jurisdictional regional scale where natural systems extend beyond the boundaries of a single local jurisdiction and natural resource, transportation and economic development planning all occur at the regional level. For more information, check out the Reports section.
Email Cameron Herbolsheimer or call 202.618.5690