Green Infrastructure Funding Opportunities
Lack of funding is consistently cited as a barrier to the implementation of green infrastructure. One advantage that green infrastructure projects offer, however, is that they generate so many benefits that they can compete for a variety of diverse funding sources.
On this page:
Learn about federal funding sources in this section, including the following agencies:
- U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).
- U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
- U.S Department of the Interior (DOI).
- U.S Department of Transportation (DOT).
- National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
- U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
- U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA).
- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
EPA Clean Water Act Nonpoint Source Grant (Section 319 Grants)—Congress amended the Clean Water Act in 1987 to establish EPA's Section 319 Nonpoint Source Management Program to provide greater federal leadership in focusing state and local nonpoint source efforts. Under Section 319, states, territories, and Indian tribes receive grant money to support a wide variety of activities, including:
- technical and financial assistance,
- education and training,
- technology transfer,
- demonstration projects, and
- monitoring to assess the success of projects implemented under the grant.
EPA Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF)—The CWSRF program is a federal-state partnership that provides communities a permanent, independent source of low-cost financing for a wide range of water quality infrastructure projects, including stormwater and green infrastructure.
Learn more about the program in Green Infrastructure Approaches to Managing Wet Weather with Clean Water State Revolving Funds.
EPA Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF)—A drinking water counterpart to the CWSRF, the DWSRF program is a federal-state partnership that provides communities a permanent, independent source of low-cost financing for drinking water systems and state safe water programs. Green infrastructure projects that improve source water quality and/or quantity or maximize reliance on natural hydrological functions may be eligible for funding.
EPA Office of Wetlands, Oceans, and Watersheds (OWOW) Funding—OWOW has created this website to provide tools, databases, and information for practitioners that serve to protect watersheds.
EPA Great Lakes Restoration Initiative—The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) is the largest investment in the Great Lakes in two decades. Federal agencies use GLRI resources to strategically target the biggest threats to the Great Lakes ecosystem
EPA Brownfields Grant Program—EPA's Brownfields program provides direct funding for Brownfields assessment, cleanup, revolving loans, and environmental job training. To facilitate the leveraging of public resources, EPA's Brownfields Program collaborates with other EPA programs, other federal partners, and state agencies to identify and make available resources that can be used for Brownfields activities.
EPA Superfund program—. At Superfund sites, green infrastructure projects can be used to help prevent localized flooding and erosion as well as water-borne transport of contaminants. The Superfund Redevelopment Initiative has helped communities reclaim and reuse thousands of acres of formerly contaminated land.
Five Star and Urban Waters Restoration Grant Program—The US Environmental Protection Agency and the Urban Waters Federal Partnership are proud to co-sponsor the Five Star and Urban Waters Restoration Grants Program. This program seeks to develop community capacity by providing modest assistance to diverse local partnerships for river, wetland, riparian, forest and coastal restoration, and wildlife conservation.
EPA Environmental Justice Small Grants Program—The Environmental Justice Small Grants Program supports and empowers communities working on solutions to local environmental and public health issues. The program is designed to help communities understand and address exposure to multiple environmental harms and risks. Environmental Justice Small Grants fund projects up to $30,000, depending on the availability of funds in a given year.
EPA Urban Waters Small Grants Program—Since the inception of the Urban Waters Small Grants Program in 2012, the program has awarded approximately $6.6 million in grants to 114 organizations across the country and Puerto Rico. The grants are competed and awarded every two years, with individual award amounts of up to $60,000.
EPA Office of Sustainable Communities Greening America’s Communities Program—Greening America's Communities is an EPA program to help cities and towns develop an implementable vision of environmentally friendly neighborhoods that incorporate innovative green infrastructure and other sustainable design strategies. EPA provides design assistance to help support sustainable communities that protect the environment, economy, and public health and to inspire local and state leaders to expand this work elsewhere.
EPA Office of Sustainable Communities Building Blocks Program—Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities provides quick, targeted technical assistance to selected communities using a variety of tools that have demonstrated results and widespread application. The purpose of delivering these tools is to stimulate a discussion about growth and development and strengthen local capacity to implement sustainable approaches.
Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) Exit—ARC funds several hundred projects every year in the Appalachian Region in a wide range of program areas, including community infrastructure and asset-based development.
DOE Weatherization and Intergovernmental Program—The Weatherization and Intergovernmental Program provides grants, technical assistance, and information tools to states, local governments, community action agencies, utilities, Indian tribes, and U.S. territories for their energy programs. The funding can be used to encourage installation of green infrastructure—such as green roofs—as part of the weatherization process.
DOI Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance (RTCA) Program—Under the National Park Service, the RTCA program assists community-led natural resource conservation and outdoor recreation initiatives. RTCA staff provide guidance to communities on:
- conserving waterways,
- preserving open space, and
- developing trails and greenways.
EDA Funding Opportunities—EDA grants support a range of business and industrial development activities—including infrastructure development—that create or retain jobs. EDA-capitalized revolving loan funds encourage new business development in economically distressed communities.
HUD Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program—This flexible program works to ensure the availability of decent affordable housing, provide services to the most vulnerable in our communities, and create jobs through expanding and retaining businesses. CDBG-financed projects can incorporate green infrastructure into their design and construction. Chicago, for example, has used CDBG funding to put a new green roof on its historic Cultural Center.
HUD Section 108 Loan Guarantee Program—The Section 108 Loan Guarantee Program allows future CDBG allocations to be used to guarantee loans for neighborhood revitalization projects, including construction and installation of public facilities and infrastructure. Section 108-guaranteed projects can incorporate green infrastructure into their design and construction.
HUD Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grants—This program supports metropolitan and multijurisdictional planning efforts to integrate housing, land use, economic and workforce development, transportation, and infrastructure investments in a manner that empowers jurisdictions to consider the interdependent challenges of:
- economic competitiveness and revitalization,
- social equity, inclusion, and access to opportunity,
- energy use and climate change, and
- public health and environmental impact.
NOAA Community-Based Restoration Program—This program began in 1996 to inspire and sustain local efforts to restore coastal habitat. It has funded more than 1,500 projects in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean, and the Pacific Islands that have restored more than 41,000 acres of habitat and opened more than 1,700 stream miles for fish passage.
USDA National Urban and Community Forestry Program—Under the U.S. Forest Service, this program’s objectives are to establish sustainable community forests that improve the public’s health, well-being, and economic vitality, and create resilient ecosystems for present and future generations. When funds are available, cost-share grants support urban and community forestry projects that have national and multistate application and impact.
USDA Rural Development Water and Environmental Programs (WEP)—WEP is the only federal source exclusively focused on the water and waste infrastructure needs of rural communities with populations of 10,000 or less. The programs provide technical assistance and financing for development of drinking water, waste disposal, and stormwater systems in rural areas.
Tax Incentive Programs—You can use some federal tax incentive programs to support green infrastructure projects, including:
- DOE Energy Efficiency Savings -Green infrastructure can be integrated into project design to claim tax incentives and rebates. For example, in Eugene, Oregon, a new biofuel station built on an abandoned gas station site included a green roof, bioswales and rain gardens. Nearly $250,000 worth of tax credits reduced income and sales tax for the private company that built and operated the project.
- Department of Treasury’s New Markets Tax Credit program, which encourages private investment in a range of project types in distressed areas (e.g., real estate or business development projects). Awards are allocated to nonprofit and private entities based on their proposals for distributing the tax benefits.
There are a number of federal, non-profit, and local resources available to help communities explore the available funding options for stormwater projects. These resources include assistance programs, publications, and financing tools.
EPA’s Water Finance Clearinghouse—This tool is a one-stop-shop for all community water finance needs. The Clearinghouse allows you to search a database with more than $10 billion in water funding sources and over 550 resources to support local water infrastructure projects, including stormwater/green infrastructure funding.
EPA’s Water Infrastructure and Resiliency Finance Center (WIRFC)—WIRFC is an information and assistance center, helping communities make informed decisions for drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater infrastructure to protect human health and the environment.
Getting to Green: Paying for Green Infrastructure, Finance Options and Resources for Local Decision-Makers—This report summarizes various funding sources that can be used to support stormwater management programs or finance individual projects. Each type of funding source is illustrated by several municipal programs and contains a list of additional resources.
EPA's Managing Wet Weather with Green Infrastructure Municipal Handbook: Funding Options—This guide in EPA's Municipal Handbook series discusses two of the most common funding options that communities use to fund green infrastructure: stormwater fees and loan programs.
EPA's Managing Wet Weather with Green Infrastructure Municipal Handbook: Incentive Mechanisms— This guide in EPA's Municipal Handbook series describes incentives that municipalities can offer to promote implementation of green infrastructure on private properties and reduce stormwater management costs.
Community-Based Public-Private Partnerships and Alternative Market-Based Tools for Intergrated Green Stormwater Infrastructure: Guide for Local Governments—This document details how local governments can develop community based public-private partnerships for integrated green stormwater infrastructure using emerging market-based tools.
EPA's Financing Alternatives Comparison Tool (FACT)—This tool helps identify the most cost-effective method to fund a wastewater or drinking water management project. It produces a comprehensive analysis that compares financing options for the projects by incorporating financing, regulatory, and other important costs.
Overview of Clean Water State Revolving Fund Eligibilities—This is a technical support reference that details the many projects eligible to receive assistance through the CWSRF program.
Green Infrastructure Policy for the Clean Water State Revolving Fund Program—This memorandum establishes a national policy that promotes increased CWSRF financing for green infrastructure projects.
Financing Options for Nontraditional Eligibilities in the CWSRF Program—This is a technical support reference which looks at the varied types of financial assistance available to the CWSRF programs that can be deployed to fund eligibilities that do not fall within the realm of traditional grey infrastructure.
Financing Green Infrastructure: A Best Practices Guide for the Clean Water State Revolving Fund—This is a technical support reference that illustrates a variety of incentives state CWSRF programs use to encourage implementation of green infrastructure practices.
Drinking Water State Revolving Fund Eligibility Handbook—This is a technical support reference that answers DWSRF eligibility questions for states and interested stakeholders.
EPA Region 1 - Funding Stormwater Programs—This fact sheet supplements a review of common stormwater funding mechanisms with examples from two New England cities.
EPA Region 3 - Funding Stormwater Programs—This fact sheet supplements a review of common stormwater funding mechanisms with examples from three Mid-Atlantic cities.
Guidance for Municipal Stormwater Funding Exit—Prepared by the National Association of Flood and Stormwater Management Agencies, this guide addresses procedural, legal, and financial aspects of developing viable funding approaches for local stormwater programs. The guidance examines a range of possible approaches to paying for stormwater management, but the focus is on guidelines for developing service/ user/ utility fees to support these programs.
Financing Stormwater Retrofits in Philadelphia and Beyond Exit—This report developed by the National Resources Defense Council describes Philadelphia's innovative stormwater billing structure and how it sets the stage for innovative financing mechanisms that can underwrite the capital costs of green infrastructure retrofits.
Managing Stormwater in Your Community Tool 2: Program and Budget Planning Tool Exit—This spreadsheet tool and accompanying manual developed by the Center for Watershed Protection is designed to assist local stormwater managers with program planning, goal setting, and phasing.