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Green Infrastructure New and Noteworthy


April 28, 2015

Green Infrastructure Initiative releases GSI BMP Fact sheets

The Green Infrastructure Initiative is happy to present a set of 9 fact sheets that describe the essential details of Green Stormwater Infrastructure Best Management Practices.  These are intended to help those interested in implementing GSI in selecting the appropriate BMP or set of BMPs for their stormwater management needs. Each describes the BMP’s ability to promote infiltration, evapotranspiration, and storage functions that provide stormwater volume reduction and stormwater treatment. Also provided are additional references that provide more technical detail for BMP design and implementation.


Constructed Gravel Wetland

Green Roof

Infiltration Trench

Pervious Pavement

Rain Barrels and Cisterns

Stormwater Planter

Stormwater Tree Pit

Vegetated Swale

January 2, 2014

Green Infrastructure Initiative Releases LID Info Sheets

The Green Infrastructure Initiative is happy to announce the release of its Low Impact Development (LID) Factsheet Series.  LID is an innovative land planning and design approach that seeks to minimize changes to the pre-development ecological and hydrological function of a site. In contrast to traditional methods of development, LID places a high value on pre-existing natural processes, ensuring that they are identified and protected to the maximum extent practicable during the development process.  LID skillfully balances ecosystem goods and services with human use and enjoyment.  The info sheets below provide a general overview of LID and its principles. They accompany a series of Green Stormwater Infrastructure Info Sheets that were developed in late 2013.

Low Impact Development Info Sheet

Conservation Development Info Sheet 

Minimize Soil Compaction Info Sheet 

Minimize Total Disturbance Info Sheet 

Protect Natural Water Flows Info Sheet 

Protect Riparian Buffers Info Sheet 

Protect Sensitive Areas Info Sheet 

Reduce Impervious Surfaces Info Sheet 

Stormwater Disconnection Info Sheet 

September 23, 2013

Green Infrastructure Initiative Releases GSI Info Sheets

Over the course of the past few decades, the management of stormwater has changed significantly   Instead of piping water away from parcels we are now looking at ways to keep as much of it on site as possible using natural processes.  Understanding these processes is ciritical to designing, building and maintaining fuctions and effective systems.  The info sheets below provide a very basic overview of green stormwater infrastructure, infiltration, evapotranspiration, and storage and reuse.  They are the first in a series of sheets that  will cover other concepts such as low impact development.


Green Stormwater Infrastructure Info Sheet (pdf, 3.2 mb)

Infiltration Info Sheet (pdf, 828 kb)

Evapotranspiration Info Sheet (pdf, 2.21 mb)

Storage and Reuse Info Sheet (pdf, 1.49 mb)

July 5, 2013

State Agencies Focus on Green and Sustainable Stormwater Management

Stormwater runoff is one of the leading threats to water quality in Vermont.  The traditional approach to managing stormwater runoff is with “gray infrastructure,” a network of pipes, storm drains, and concrete tanks where collected runoff is conveyed and then discharged to receiving waters.  Time has shown that this approach is very effective at moving water but does little to mitigate volume and pollutant loads.  In fact, this traditional method can cause, and has caused, additional issues downstream from outlets and end-of-pipe structures.

Green stormwater infrastructure (GSI) is a complimentary and sometimes alternative approach to grey infrastructure.  GSI captures stormwater and allows it to soak into the ground or evaporate instead of entering sewers and contributing to sewer overflows and basement backups.  Unlike single-purpose gray infrastructure, GSI uses natural processes, which provide multiple benefits and functions.

In recognizing the value of GSI as an effective means of sustainably managing stormwater in Vermont, Governor Shumlin signed an Executive Order in March of 2012, which established an Interagency Green Infrastructure Council.  The Council is made up of representatives from the Agency of Administration (AA), Agency of Commerce and Community Development (ACCD), Agency of Natural Resources (ANR), and the Agency of Transportation (VTrans).  The purpose of the Council is to identify ways to better integrate GSI into existing and future state programs and processes.  Specific tasks include developing technical guidance, establishing a plan and time frame for the implementation of practices on state properties, identifying state agency liaisons, undertaking research and monitoring, and identifying on-going and sustainable funding sources.  In addition, each agency is tasked with developing a GSI Work Plan.  These work plans are meant to highlight the steps each agency will take to accomplish the above tasks.

Each work plan was developed over the course of several months under the direction of ANR's Green Infrastructure Coordinator.  The Council met on a monthly basis to share information about current initiatives, identify barriers, and discuss strategies for moving forward.  Through this process, it became clear that many of the agencies are already involved in a wide array of GSI projects.  It was also clear that many of the identified barriers were shared among the various agencies.  Funding, design standards, regulatory requirements, and a general lack of GSI information came out as some of the most important barriers to overcome.  It is obvious that additional collaboration and coordination will be needed.

Final work plans were signed and approved by Agency Secretaries on June 28, 2013 and were submitted to the Governor's Office shortly thereafter.  Click the links to view the ANR Work Plan and the Agency Work Plan Compilation.

October 3, 2012

Secretary Markowitz Announces Green Infrastructure Initiative

Today, at a meeting for municipal public works employees and environmental engineers on innovative approaches to stormwater management, the Secretary of the Agency of Natural Resources, Deb Markowitz, and Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner, David Mears, announced the kick-off of the “Vermont Green Infrastructure Initiative.” They also announced the receipt of a $245,000 USDA Forest Service grant that will help the state in this effort.  The Green Infrastructure Initiative provides a coordinated mechanism for implementing green infrastructure practices throughout Vermont.

Secretary Markowitz said, “One of the most significant causes of pollution in our rivers and lakes is stormwater runoff.  Traditional engineered approaches to clean stormwater before it reaches our waterways has been challenging and costly to implement.  For that reason the administration is kicking off a project to promote and implement innovative, green infrastructure approaches to stormwater management.” 

Green infrastructure are systems that mimic natural processes that reduce the amount and slow down the flow of storm water so that it can seep into the ground rather than run off into ditches and brooks that ultimately wash pollution into our rivers, lakes and ponds.  Green infrastructure practices may include rain gardens, porous pavements, green roofs, infiltration planters, trees and tree boxes, and rain water harvesting.  

Commissioner Mears said, “when we use green infrastructure techniques to manage stormwater and reduce water pollution we see many other benefits to the environment and to our community. Green infrastructure will help prevent flooding and flood damage, it can help us conserve energy by reducing the urban heat effect and improve our air quality by increasing the number of plants and  trees that absorb carbon dioxide.  It also improves the quality of life in our urban and suburban communities by adding green space for recreation and urban agriculture.”

The Green Infrastructure Initiative began with an executive order signed this past summer by Governor Shumlin that requires all State Agencies to use green infrastructure practices to manage storm water runoff to minimize pollution and directs the Agency of Natural Resources to convene an interagency group to implement this goal.  The first meeting of this group will be held on October 26th, with representatives from the Agency of Natural Resources, the Agency of Transportation, the Agency of Commerce & Community Development and the Department of Buildings, Grounds and Services.  “By creating a process that addresses stormwater runoff strategically, we can work to minimize the kind of flood damage and water quality issues we saw as the result of Tropical Storm Irene” said Brian Searles, Secretary of the VT AOT.

The USDA Forest Service grant for $246,500 will be used to encourage municipalities to implement green infrastructure practices by offering technical and financial help. It will also help municipalities calculate economic benefits of utilizing trees and other green infrastructure for stormwater management.  $101,500 of the grant will be going to The Vermont Association of Planning and Development Agencies to provide assistance to municipalities.

The Initiative enjoys far-reaching support within the environmental community. Kim Greenwood, Water Program Director for the Vermont Natural Resource Council stated that, “VNRC applauds the Agency for taking such a leadership role on green infrastructure. Vermont government is leading by example, demonstrating some simple steps we can all take to keep our waterways clean.”

Vermont municipalities also see the benefit of this effort. “In St. Albans City, we saw our downtown streetscape project as an opportunity to add some innovative stormwater management techniques,” says Chip Sawyer, the City’s Director of Planning & Development.  “Vermont ANR helped us with various funding sources and consultation to not only design the project but also install new features that absorb stormwater run-off and improve our tree canopy.”

The Green Infrastructure Initiative will play an important coordination role with the state in providing green infrastructure resources to business owners, homeowners, municipalities and professionals statewide.  It will expand efforts that began in the state in 2009,  efforts have already shown results.  For more information see


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Updated: July 2014

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