The 2013 Ohio Stormwater Conference is just around the corner. The conference—which focuses on the advancement of stormwater and natural resources—is in its sixth year and will be held at the Sharonville Convention Center in Cincinnati, OH from May 8-10. One of this year’s key topics is green infrastructure. According to the Center for Neighborhood Technology, green infrastructure can be defined as follows:
“Green infrastructure is the interconnected network of open spaces and natural areas, such as greenways, wetlands, parks, forest preserves and native plant vegetation, that naturally manages stormwater, reduces flooding risk and improves water quality.” -- Source
Green infrastructure has received increasing attention from both communities and stormwater management specialists alike. Why the interest? The benefits of green infrastructure are widespread and not limited to just stormwater improvements.
Vegetation, which is central to most green infrastructure methods, improves both water and air quality, as plantings allow water to infiltrate the ground while they absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen. Likewise, plants and the additional water being diverted from the storm sewer system can provide habitat for wildlife, reduce the urban heat island effect (thus reducing energy usage needed for cooling), and benefit the local community by increasing visual appeal and aesthetics.
With so much to gain, it’s not surprising that municipalities are embracing this approach to managing stormwater; the environmental and cost benefits of green infrastructure can be much greater than for the equivalent gray infrastructure. There are numerous methods for implementing green infrastructure, each of which reduces the amount of stormwater runoff entering our municipal systems. Some common methods include:
- Downspout Disconnection
- Rainwater Harvesting
- Rain Gardens
- Planter Boxes
- Permeable Pavements
- Green Roofs
As the trend towards sustainability continues, the use of green infrastructure to handle stormwater is expected to become even more popular and be incorporated in project types ranging from home landscaping to highway design and urban planning. If you are interested in learning more about green infrastructure and its implementation in Ohio, consider registering for the Ohio Stormwater Conference—there’s still time! Click here for more information.