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The Green Streets, Green Jobs, Green Towns (G3) Initiative and Approach

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The G3 Initiative

In October 2010, EPA launched the Green Streets, Green Jobs, Green Towns (G3) Initiative to provide support for small to medium-sized communities in urbanized watersheds working to reduce stormwaterHelpstormwaterAny precipitation in an urban or suburban area that does not evaporate or soak into the ground, but instead collects and flows into storm drains, rivers and streams. Stormwater is also called urban stormwater, stormwater runoff and polluted runoff. Increased development across the Chesapeake Bay watershed has made stormwater the fastest growing source of pollution to the Bay and its rivers and streams. runoff through the use of green infrastructure.  The G3 Initiative supports the use of green streets to bring a community’s “Green Vision” to life and provides the tools and resources needed to develop a green vision, design-build, and operate and maintain green infrastructure stormwater management practices.  Green streets provide multiple community benefits by improving the water quality of local watershedHelpwatershedThe area of land from which rainfall (and/or snow melt) drains into a stream or other water body. Watersheds are also sometimes referred to as drainage basins or drainage areas. Ridges of higher ground generally form the boundaries between watersheds. At these boundaries, rain falling on one side flows toward the low point of one watershed, while rain falling on the other side of the boundary flows toward the low point of a different watershed.s and enhancing a community’s livability and economic vitality.

To learn more about EPA's water quality standards, please visit EPA's Standards for Water Body Health.   

The G3 Initiative is featured in the Chesapeake Bay Executive Order Strategy as an innovative effort that targets towns and communities in urbanized watersheds to help retrofit and create “green streets” that enable sustainable watershed protection.  The G3 Initiative also supports the restoration goals of the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL).

See: Chesapeake Bay Executive Order Strategy(173 pp, 8.6 MB, About PDFExit 
See: Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL)

Goals of the G3 Initiative

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The G3 Approach 

The G3 approach can be broadly applied to any community to manage stormwater runoff.  It builds on the concept that green streets provide an opportunity for sustainable development ("Smart Growth") that not only protects the environment, but provides a host of human health benefits.  When planning, designing, building, or replacing infrastructureHelpinfrastructureThe physical structures and facilities that support the functioning of a community, including roads, sewers, water lines and power supplies., communities can adopt a G3 approach that incorporates nature and natural systems into the community landscape to manage and infiltrate stormwater.  

Investing in green streets provides communities with an opportunity to:

  • update and enhance existing infrastructure to meet 21st century standards,
  • generate a new industry for green jobs,
  • create demand for innovation, and
  • become more sustainable and adapt to climate change.  

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Implementing a G3 Approach

In all communities, streets and roadways will reach a point in time when they must be repaired, resurfaced, or replaced. Commonly located within the same right-of-way as the street or roadway are public utilities such as, electric, water, gas, and sewer lines.  These public utilities also need upgrades, repairs or replacement.  When infrastructure improvements are needed, a community has the opportunity to incorporate green technologies & techniques into the rebuilding of the street and/or upgrades along the road corridor. Green street practices can be incorporated into all aspects of design and construction and can address a wide-range of environmental and human health issues, such as climate adaptation, renewable energy, air quality, water quality, and community health. 

For more information on how to create a successful Green Street Program in your community, please visit the Water Environment Research Foundation's (WERF) web page on "Creating a Successful Green Street Program" Exit

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