Green Infrastructure for Stormwater Management
The population in Central Florida is rapidly growing. To support the rising population, rural lands are being developed into urban and suburban areas with a high density of roads, roofs, sidewalks, and other impervious surfaces. This urbanization can put a strain on the quantity and quality of water resources. When it rains, impervious surfaces do not allow water to infiltrate into the ground. Instead, the water runs off the surfaces collecting pollutants and debris. Integrating green infrastructure into development plans could resolve this problem.
Conventional stormwater management systems are designed to drain and quickly direct stormwater away through pipes and dispense it into a pond or other body of water. These systems are coined “pipe and pond” or “gray infrastructure.” In nature, stormwater is processed through a series of natural processes thanks to plants, soil, and microorganisms. Plant-based or “green” infrastructure aims to implement these natural systems in urban areas. They are designed to slow, spread, soak, and manage stormwater as a valuable resource for people and the environment.
Green Infrastructure Benefits
Green infrastructure includes all natural areas in an urban setting. It provides many benefits to people by:
- Cleansing urban runoff
- Replenishing aquifers
- Absorbing floodwaters
- Scrubbing airborne pollutants
- Sequestering carbon
- Moderating the urban heat island effect
- And sheltering wildlife
It also supports mobility, food, fiber, and water production, economic productivity, recreation, public health, cultural identity, and community cohesion.
Types of Green Stormwater Management
There are many types of green infrastructure, including:
- Green roofs
- Pervious pavement
- Constructed wetlands
- Rainwater harvesting
- Tree plantings
- Rain gardens
Reference: Gray to Green (G2G) Documentation and User Guide, University of South Florida in partnership with the University of Florida and Thomas L. Singleton Consulting with grant funding assistance from the U.S. Forest Service.