Water Quality and Land Development

When we replace our natural systems with urban growth, we lose important regulating ecosystem services, such as clean air, carbon storage in trees and soils, water quality through natural system purification, flood control and cooler temperatures that nature provides us for free. In fact, it's a problem in urban areas world-wide. This summarizing quote from the 2005 United Nations Millennium Ecosystem Assessment states:

​"Human activity is putting such strain on the natural functions of the earth that the ability of the planet's ecosystems to sustain future generations can no longer be taken for granted."

The bottom line is…we can’t continue on the same path that we’ve been on and protect our children's and grandchildren’s futures. We must integrate sustainable practices into our culture. 

  1. Green Infrastructure
  2. Ecosystem Services
  3. Smart Decisions

Green Infrastructure
Traditionally, cities have used gray infrastructure (stormwater inlets and pipes) to control and efficiently move water runoff away from properties. This helps to prevent flooding and control water quantity, but moving forward we have to not only move the water but slow it down to reduce erosion and clean it as it moves through the system toward streams. 

Green Infrastructure is an interconnected network of natural areas and open spaces, as well as technologies and practices, that use natural systems -- or engineered systems that mimic natural processes -- to provide, protect, maintain, or enhance ecosystem services in human dominated landscapes.

Check out how other cities are using green infrastructure. 
Grand Rapids
Design Ideas
Reports from Greening America's Capitals Projects

Ecosystem Chart
​Examples of Green Infrastructure
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