Communities embracing green infrastructure for stormwater management are not only reaping water quality benefits, they're building healthier communities, empowering citizens, and creating jobs.
In order for communities to fully embrace green infrastructure--which is often and erroneously perceived as costly and even "job-killing"--the case for cost effectiveness, mutliple community benefits, and job creation potential needs to be made again and again. Across the nation, more and more cities are proving that green Infrastructure IS improving water quality cost effectively; IS making for communities healthier, safer, and more livable; and that it IS spurring economic development. From design and installation to ongoing maintenance, there's a growing niche supporting green infrastructure: besides creating new opportunities within existing sectors like landscaping, paving, and building, entire new industries are emerging. And this is only the start...
Together with our partners at the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS), Tookany/Tacony-Frankford Watershed Partnership (TTF), U.S. Forest Service Philadelphia Field Station, and Philadelphia Dept of Parks and Recreation (PPR), we've been involved in developing a Training Curriculum to introduce key concepts in GSI. Sustaining Green Infrastructure Through Proper Landscape Management has been piloted in the City of Philadelphia and we're proud to say that it's resulting in greener cityscapes, healthier waterways, inspired job-seekers--and, yes, trainees with jobs!
After watching the Healthy Urban Waters video, dig into the Five Training Modules to learn more about green infrastructure, how to recognize whether various types of "green tools" are doing well or are in need of help, and what to do to maintain the systems so they function the way they were planned. Who knows, this might be the start of your own journey into the exciting world of community greening -- a journey that could lead to a rewarding career!
Greening Cities Cleans Water, Improves Health, Creates Jobs
Image from Gray to Green: Jumpstarting Private Investment in Green Infrastructure
There has been debate about the effectiveness of green infrastructure, apprehension that all GSI efforts are expensive, and misinformation stating that investing in Clean Water costs communities jobs. As more urban areas adopt green practices, there's a growing body of evidence showing that greening does improve water quality while providing multiple community benefits; that it's often cheaper than "grey" alternatives in the long run; and that it actually boosts local economies by creating jobs, not driving them away.
Don't just take our word for it. Check out some of these reports:
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Training: Preparing for a GSI Job
The Training series was developed with support from the U.S. EPA's Urban Waters Small Grant program. Its goal is to encourage the development of more GSI projects, further community beautification, increase local capacity to implementy and maintain GSI--and ultimately, to contribute to improved water quality within the highly urbanized portion of the Tookany/Tacony-Frankford watershed in Philadelphia. The training has been piloted locally--and we're delighted to make it available for others to use and adapt to meet their own localized needs.
Each Module in the five part series consisted of a classroom session and a field training session which provided hands-on experience applying the lessons learned at GSI sites. We've created a narrated version of each of the classroom sessions, and provided you with downloadable PowerPoints (complete with speaker notes) and associated resources so you can dig as deeply as you like and/or use the materials to present trainings to your community.
Module 1: Watersheds and Stormwater Management
Module 2: Components of Bio-Retention Systems
Module 3: Spring and Summer Maintenance
Module 4: Invasive Plant and Weed Management
Module 5: Proper Maintenance Outside the Bio-Retention System
We'd love your feedback, so let us know what you think and how you put these trainings to use!