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Soak Up the Rain: The Benefits of Green Infrastructure

Rain gardens, green roofs, tree plantings, and permeable pavements are examples of some of the practices used to soak up the rain. Often called green infrastructure, these practices rely on soil, plants and natural processes such as infiltration, evaporation, and transpiration to mimic the natural water cycle and manage rain water.

Green infrastructure is a cost-effective and resilient approach to managing stormwater that can bring many social, economic, public health, and environmental benefits to communities.

Reduce Runoff: Slow It Down, Spread It Out, Soak It In, U.S. EPA. Exit
Learn about some green infrastructure practices, their benefits and how they can be used around our homes and communities.

More Information

What is Green Infrastructure, Green Infrastructure, U.S. EPA
Learn about green infrastructure practices and how they work.

Healthy Benefits of Green Infrastructure in Communities, U.S EPA, 2017 (PDF) (2 pp, 312 K, About PDF)
Fact sheet describes how weaving natural features into the built environment, green infrastructure can not only provide stormwater management, but also a number of other environmental, social, and economic benefits not typically provided by gray infrastructure.

Are Green Spaces Good for Your Heart?, U.S. EPA Science Matters, February 2018
Research papers are adding to an emerging body of scientific research showing direct links between the natural environments and human health. What they are learning is helping local communities better capture those benefits as it becomes increasingly clear that greenspaces can be good for the heart.

An Introduction to Green Infrastructure Practices, Rutgers University Exit
Defines green infrastructure practices and the many benefits.

Green Stormwater Infrastructure, Vermont Agency of Natural Resources, Department of Environmental Conservation (PDF) (8 pp, 8.3 MB, About PDF) Exit
Series of fact sheets compare gray vs. green infrastructure and describe infiltration, evapotranspiration, storage and reuse – the use of which provide the basis for a wide range of green infrastructure best management practices. For information about the different green infrastructure practices. Exit

Green Infrastructure: Back to Basics, U.S. Green Building Council Exit
Article highlights the many benefits of increasing green space, particularly in urban areas.

The Value of Green Infrastructure, A Guide to Recognizing its Economic, Environmental and Social Benefits, American Rivers, Center for Neighborhood Technology, 2010 (PDF) (80 pp, 3.1 MB, About PDF) Exit
Provides a framework to help communities measure and value the air quality, energy use, and many other benefits that green infrastructure provides to allow communities to more accurately compare different infrastructure investments and choose the option that provides the greatest long-term benefit.

Banking on Green: A Look at How Green Infrastructure Can Save Municipalities Money and Provide Economic Benefits Community-Wide, April 2012 Exit
A joint report by America Rivers, the Water Environment Federation, the American Society of Landscape Architects and ECONorthwest focuses on the economic impacts caused by polluted urban runoff and provides a compendium of current experiences, analysis and knowledge.

For more information about green infrastructure, including it's many benefits, visit our Resource Index.