Green Infrastructure

Amigos de los Rios working to increase Green Infrastructure in East Los Angeles County. Green infrastructure encompasses the naturally occurring and human-built features that manage storm-water, remove pollutants, conserve energy, reduce erosion and provide other ecological, cost-effective and environmentally sustainable services.

Our park projects use green infrastructure methodologies, such as on-site water filtration, bioswales, and low-water-use irrigation, drought-tolerant and native-plant landscaping to conserve water, protect biodiversity and our natural resources.  Amigos de los Rios also works to educate within the schools, community organizations and municipalities on the benefits of green infrastructure and how their group or as an individual they can get involved in further greening their area.

To help communities implement green infrastructure, Regional Plan Association has produced a guide on how cities and can make green infrastructure a part of land use and other decisions. Their research found that proposed projects often floundered because of difficulties in incorporating them into other planning and management practices. The guide showcases nine approaches that planners and policy makers have relied on to successfully integrate these technologies, from securing spaces to funding construction to managing implementation.

As many of you are aware, one of the biggest environmental challenges faced by U.S. cities and towns is coping with the stormwater that accumulates from even routine rainfall. Urban areas are covered in roads and buildings, which prevent rainwater from being absorbed into the ground. Instead, it flows over rooftops, parking lots, streets and sidewalks, picking up pollutants along the way. The resulting stormwater can wind up flooding homes, overwhelming sewers and treatment plants and polluting surrounding waterways with contaminated run-off and untreated sewage.

Though many of these problems have typically been address by building hard infrastructure the pipes, storage tanks, and bigger treatment plants they rely on have continually become more expensive. This report takes demonstrates how municipal planners and officials can manage stormwater and wastewater more effectively through conservation of forests, fields and wetlands, as well as engineered processes that draw inspiration from nature.

The full report, Nine Ways to Make Green Infrastructure Work, can be viewed BELOW. For more information, contact Robert Pirani at rob@rpa.org or 212 253-6010.

RPA-9-Ways-to-Make-Green-Infrastructure-Work

For more resources and information on Green Infrastructure see the links below.

Necessity of Green Infrastructure:

The Los Angeles metropolitan area is one of the most beautiful places in the world. And yet for many people, there is no place to appreciate the great outdoors. In a recent study of land devoted to parks in the 25 largest metropolitan areas in the U.S., Los Angeles ranked 17th and lagged behind all other major metropolitan areas on the West Coast.¹ This is why our AMIGOS work building parks and trails in vacant and neglected public spaces and our  Emerald Necklace Forest to the Ocean Expanded Vision Plan are so important.

PUBLIC HEALTH –

The problem is most prevalent in low income neighborhoods, where parks
and recreation facilities are nearly non-existent.
It is no wonder that obesity,Type 2 diabetes, asthma and other
preventable health problems are at epidemic levels in these communities.
Nature Deficit Disorder – the term describes the lack of relationship with the natural environment and it has many consequences.

The term came from author Richard Louv in his book Last Child in the Woods,  it explains how our societal disconnect with nature is affecting today’s children.

ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH –

Air and Water Quality
Greenhouse Gas Uptake
Heat Island Mitigation
Native Plant Restoration
Storm Water Management

COMPLIANCE STATE & FEDERAL MANDATES –

Clean Water and Air Acts
Ms4 Permits, SB375…

BEAUTY…CULTURE –

With the restoration of original character and beauty of the land, the peoples of the past come back to life.

Helping Mother Nature Nurture Us All

Amigos de los Rios takes great care that in our arid climate the landscapes that we create are natural. Otherwise, they require too much energy, fertilizer, water, and financial resources to sustain them. Here are just a few ways in which, given the chance, nature takes care of itself (and us):

  • Green space lowers ambient temperatures especially in urban areas where concrete and asphalt have the opposite effect.Learn more about the  Heat Island Effect
  • Trees and vegetation not only provide shade, they filter pollutants our of the air.  A single mature tree can absorb carbon dioxide at a rate of 48 pounds per year and releases enough oxygen back into the atmosphere to support two people. Learn more about our Urban Forestry efforts
  • Native plants are drought-tolerant and require little or no irrigation after establishment. They provide critical habitat in urban areas where biodiversity is under siege.
  • Storm-water diversion and collection reduces erosion and the volume of sedimentation , pollutants and debris that make their way to the Pacific Ocean.

More information about Green Infrastructure:

EPA Green Infrastructure Research

Green Values® Storm Water Tool Kit

Philadelphia Water System

LA Stormwater

Green Infrastructure Center