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Green Infrastructure

What is Green Infrastructure?

Green infrastructure means any storm water management technique or practice employed with the primary goal of preserving, restoring, or mimicking natural hydrology. Green infrastructure includes, but is not limited to, methods of using soil and vegetation to promote soil percolation, evapotranspiration, and filtration. Green infrastructure includes the preservation and restoration of natural landscape features, such as forests, floodplains, headwaters, and wetlands. Green infrastructure also includes rain gardens, permeable pavements, green roofs, infiltration planters, trees and tree boxes, and rainwater harvesting for non-potable uses, such as toilet flushing and landscape irrigation. (Public Act 96-26)

Green Infrastructure Project - Alton, Illinois

Public Act 96-26, the Green Infrastructure for Clean Water Act, required the Illinois EPA to assess and evaluate using green infrastructure to help manage stormwater in Illinois. Illinois EPA worked with the University of Illinois – Chicago to undertake research to assess effective best management practices, green infrastructure standards and institutional and policy frameworks to support the development of a Green Infrastructure Plan for Illinois. The University, Professor Martin Jaffe specifically, provided a report to the Agency that outlines recommendations based on their research of this topic. The Agency received these recommendations and provided a report to the Illinois General Assembly June 2010.

The new Green Infrastructure Grant Opportunities (GIGO) Program, is funded through the Rebuild Illinois Capital Plan. The Agency seeks proposals for projects to construct green infrastructure best management practices (BMPs) that prevent, eliminate, or reduce water quality impairments by decreasing stormwater runoff into Illinois' rivers, streams, and lakes. Projects that implement treatment trains (multiple BMPs in series) and/or multiple BMPs within the same watershed may be more effective and efficient than a single large green infrastructure BMP. 

Between FY 2011 and FY 2014, forty IGIG grants, totaling nearly $20 million, were made available to local units of government and other organizations to demonstrate green infrastructure best management practices to control stormwater runoff for water quality protection in Illinois. Projects were located within a Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) or Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) area.