Environmental Protection Agency
The mission of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is to protect human health and the environment. Since 2007, the EPA has actively engaged with public and private partners to promote the implementation of sustainable stormwater infrastructure. The EPA renewed its commitment to green infrastructure in April of 2011 with the release of an updated Strategic Agenda and the initiation of 10 community partnerships. EPA recognizes local practitioners as the leaders in the implementation of multi-functional green infrastructure and seeks to foster continued innovation through information exchange and the removal of key barriers. There are many offices of the EPA involved in promoting green infrastructure
What is green infrastructure at EPA?
The EPA defines green infrastructure as an approach that communities can choose to maintain healthy waters, provide multiple environmental benefits and support sustainable communities. Unlike single-purpose gray stormwater infrastructure, which uses pipes to dispose of rainwater, green infrastructure uses vegetation and soil to manage rainwater where it falls. By weaving natural processes into the built environment, green infrastructure provides not only stormwater management, but also flood mitigation, air quality management and much more. EPA’s Office of Water further defines green infrastructure as an approach to wet weather management that is cost-effective, sustainable, and environmentally friendly.
What EPA departments are involved in green infrastructure?
Brownfields and Land Revitalization program works to prevent, assess, and safely clean up and sustainably reuse brownfields. Cleaning up and reinvesting in brownfield property protects the environment, reduces blight and take development pressure off greenspaces and working lands. Green infrastructure techniques are commonly used to revitalize a brownfield.
Office of Air and Radiation programs have allowed many communities to use green infrastructure practices to reduce toxic pollution in their local environment. Some of EPA’s top priorities are to improve air quality, take action on climate change and clean up our communities. Specifically, the Office of Air and Radiation promotes efforts to prevent pollution, increase energy efficiency, improve indoor and outdoor air quality, reduce industrial air pollution, among other priorities.
Office of Environmental Justice (OEJ) provides funding for projects addressing local environmental and/or public health issues. Environmental Justice is the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies.
Office of Water has formally recognized green infrastructure as practice for addressing stormwater issues and for the protection of drinking water under the Safe Drinking Water Act. EPA’s Strategic Agenda to Protect Waters through Green Infrastructure seeks to expand the use of green infrastructure through community partnerships and information exchange.
Office of Wetlands, Oceans and Watersheds (OWOW) serves to assist communities to manage water quality at the watershed, ocean and wetland level and provides tools, databases, and information about sources of funding to practitioners that serve to protect watersheds.
Office of Policy (OP) provides special expertise in regulatory policy and management, environmental economics, strategic environmental management, and sustainable communities. Within the OP, the Office of Sustainable Communities works to help communities become stronger, healthier and more sustainable through smarter growth and green building.
Additional EPA green infrastructure resources:
- The Interagency Partnership for Sustainable Communities is a partnership between Department of Transportation, Environmental Protection Agency and Housing and Urban Development to provide citizens with access to affordable housing, more transportation options and lower transportation costs, while protecting the environment in communities nationwide.
- Brownfield Grants & Funding webpage provides resources that can be used for brownfields activities and technical information on brownfields financing matters.
- Air & Radiation Grants & Funding webpage lists funding announcements for projects and programs relating to air and radiation.
- Environmental Justice Grants and Programs webpage provides information about financial assistance for projects addressing local environmental concerns.
- Office of Water Grants webpage outlines funding opportunities available for water related projects.
- Housed under the Office of Water, EPA’s Green Infrastructure Page houses information on green infrastructure tools, case studies, research, and more.
- Low Impact Development (LID) is an approach to land development that works with nature to manage stormwater as close to its source as possible.
- Green Infrastructure Case Studies: Municipal Policies for Managing Stormwater with Green Infrastructure report presents the common trends on how 12 local governments developed and implemented stormwater polices to support green infrastructure.
- The Center for Environmental Finance at the EPA assists public and private groups in finding ways to fund environmental programs including infrastructure planning.