State and Local Climate and Energy Program
Expanding River-Friendly Landscaping Practices to Reduce Greenhouse Gases
Sacramento County, California
Federal Funding: $486,668
Project Timeline: February 2010 – September 2013
Sacramento County continues to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, water use, and waste through greener landscape practices. Its River-Friendly Landscaping (RFL) Benefits Calculator , which calculates GHG emission reductions, is available online. The County sent an online survey about the Calculator to trainees in the Green Gardener program and has worked to incorporate feedback into a refined draft of the calculator. The County has completed the final draft of the RFL standards for urban parks and integrated the standards into training classes. The Turf Demonstration Project has also been completed. In addition, the County has completed renovation of the RFL Inspiration Garden, holding a grand opening ceremony in June 2013, during which they distributed self-guided tour brochures for the garden. The County held a graduation ceremony to honor three classes of Green Gardeners, and industry leaders were invited to network with the graduates. Lastly, the County completed a radio campaign that resulted in over 1,500 pledges to adopt RFL principles and is planning a recognition program to recognize yards that demonstrate RFL principles. Upcoming activities include completing and re-launching the refined calculator, continuing to compile GHG emission reports based on data gathered from the RFL Calculator, and distributing RFL yard signs to residents who have adopted RFL principles in their yards.
Facilitating Green Landscaping Practices in New Development and Urban Parks to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Sacramento County is implementing the River-Friendly Landscaping (RFL) Program as a comprehensive approach to sustainable urban landscapes, and to protect the region's threatened water supplies. The County's project incorporates GHG emissions benefits into the existing RFL framework, resulting in GHG emissions reductions and achieving several other environmental and public health benefits. This project is:
- developing a tool for evaluating the greenhouse gas reductions that result from RFL,
- establishing RFL standards for urban parks,
- expanding a "Green Gardener" training program, and
- promoting RFL to the public.
Sacramento County established the RFL Program to encourage the sustainable design and maintenance of urban landscapes. Four of the RFL priority areas have a direct impact on GHG emissions:
- energy conservation
- water conservation
- air and water quality protection, and
- waste reduction.
This project expands the existing RFL program by integrating GHG impacts into the guidelines. The project first developed a simple tool to quantify the environmental and economic benefits of using RFL practices. Second, the project is developing RFL standards for park design and maintenance. Park staff will receive RFL training and implement multiple demonstration projects. Third, the project is supporting "green collar" job training by expanding the Green Gardener training program. Finally, the project will launch a promotional campaign for the public to adopt RFL practices, including outreach publicity, workshops, a training program, and educational materials.
The project will reduce GHG emissions by at least 10,350 metric tons CO2e annually through lower water consumption, and this figure is expected increase once the benefits for municipal landscapes are assessed. Other benefits include a reduction in vehicle miles traveled, reduced solid waste generation, and heat island mitigation. Additional water will also be available for hydroelectric generation as a result. The project will have long-lasting benefits, will build partnerships across multiple stakeholder groups, and will be easily replicable in other communities.
|Area||995 square miles|
|Community Type||Metropolitan region|
|Median Household Income||$57,800|
|Reported Results (as of June 2013)||Projected Cumulative Results|
|Annual GHG Reductions||0 mt CO2e||10,350 mt CO2e|
|Annual Waste Reductions||0 tons||6,156 tons|
- River-Friendly Landscaping
- River-Friendly Landscaping Documents for Download
- River-Friendly Landscaping Green Gardener Training Program
- River-Friendly Inspiration Garden
- Turf Demonstration Project
- Landscapers learn new niche through Green Gardener program , 11/19/2012
- Carson Landscape Gets Green , 7/2/2012
- University of California Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program's Green Bulletin (PDF) , (6 pp, 1.8M, About PDF) 11/2011
- Water-wise, River-friendly and Lush , 7/23/2011
- Sacramento County Gets Water Conservation Grant , 3/31/2010
- From Durham to Sacramento, Cities Get Help With 'Climate Showcase' Projects , 3/3/2010
- Congresswoman Matsui, Local Elected Officials Announce $500k in EPA Funding for Sacramento County , 3/31/2010