August 25, 2015 — As coastal community populations grow and climate change brings more frequent weather extremes, communities are looking for new ways to become more resilient. Green infrastructure is showing a lot of promise.
Green infrastructure—natural and nature-based engineered systems that mimic natural processes—positively impact water quality and help protect communities from flooding. Wetlands, for instance, act as floodwater storage, and green roofs prolong heating and cooling systems while filtering and lessening runoff.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Office for Coastal Management has developed a suite of products communities are using to better understand and implement green infrastructure approaches. Some examples are provided below.
Green infrastructure can be something as simple as a vegetated swale that filters runoff from a parking lot or a large wetland that absorbs excess water that would otherwise flood community streets. In addition to hazard reduction, green infrastructure provides many benefits such as climate adaptation, heat reduction, and water quality enhancement. Incorporating green infrastructure into new and existing development can be economical while making communities safer, environmentally sound, and aesthetically pleasing. NOAA’s mission is to understand and predict changes in the Earth’s environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and to conserve and manage our coastal and marine resources. Join us on Twitter and Facebook.
Green infrastructure practices provide ecological, economic, and societal benefits that play a critical role in making coastal communities more resilient to natural hazards.