Rain gardens, porous pavement and green roofs – what do these three things have in common? They are all examples of green infrastructure, designed to help alleviate stormwater runoff.
Vermont's regional planning commissions have been working to educate local planning officials about green stormwater infrastructure techniques, which are intended to mimic pre-development conditions. The goal is to get municipalities thinking about green infrastructure and low impact development, which stresses the protection of important habitats that naturally filter and control the flow of stormwater.
Now the Vermont Association of Planning & Development Agencies has developed an online toolkit where municipal planners can learn about green infrastructure and low impact development, find links to specific case studies and sample policies, and use calculators to help determine the potential stormwater impacts of proposed development.
Vermont defines green infrastructure as “a wide range of multi-functional, natural and semi-natural landscape elements located within, around, and between developed areas at all spatial scales.” According to the VAPDA, that includes everything from forests and meadows to wetlands, floodplains, and riparian areas.
The toolkit is the latest step in VAPDA's ongoing effort to educate and support towns in adopting green infrastructure and low impact development policies and techniques. Grant funding for the effort has come from the U.S. Forest Service, through the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources.