Municipal Toolkit

Get started with green infrastructure

If you're considering implementing green infrastructure in your community, there are many resources to assist you. Below find a small selection of documents which provide background on the many advantages of green infrastructure and examples of how other communities have implemented it.

Click here to download the entire green infrastructure toolkit to your hard drive.

A Primer

Get the basics: what's wrong with conventional stormwater management techniques, what green infrastructure technologies can be used to improve upon the old methods, and why are they a good idea.
Rooftops to Rivers II: Green strategies for controlling stormwater and combined sewer overflows (2011). This report by the NRDC details the problems with urban stormwater runoff, the multiple benefits of green infrastructure solutions, the economic arguments for the use of green infrastructure, and policy recommendations for its implementation at all levels of government.


Economic Benefits

There are many economic arguments for the use of green infrastructure, from the actual cost of construction and maintenance to the economic value of the many cobenefits associated with green infrastructure.

Green Infrastructure guide for water management: Ecosystem-based management approaches for water-related infrastructure projects (2014). Report by the United Nations Environment Programme includes a description of each type of green infrastructure, its co-benefits and examples of the associated costs. Also includes a methodology for water management decision assessment.

Banking on Green: A look at how green infrastructure can save municipalities money and provide economic benefits community-wide (2012). Report by American Rivers, Water Environment Federation, American Society of Landscape Architects, and ECO Northwest focuses on the many benefits of green infrastructure including lower costs, reduced energy use, reduced flooding, and improved health.

Case studies analyzing the economic benefits of LID and GI programs (2013). Report by USEPA analyzing 13 case studies of economic evaluations of green infrastructure and LID programs.


 A major challenge of any infrastructure project is finding appropriate financing. These reports give examples of different methods used by communities to finance their green infrastructure projects.

Creating clean water cash flows: developing private markets for green stormwater infrastructure in Philadelphia (2013). This report provides detailed analysis and action-oriented recommendations to stimulate investment in green infrastructure on the part of municipalities and private investors.

9 ways to make green infrastructure work for towns and cities (2012). This report summarizes green infrastructure practice and presents nine successful ways by which planners and policy makers are integrating green infrastructure into site planning and land use decisions.

Credit River water management strategy update - municipal stormwater financing study (2008). Overview of various funding mechanisms employed in North America to support stormwater management programs. Includes case studies of municipalities in Canada and the U.S.

Click here to download all three documents.

Sample Policies

 Green infrastructure has already been adopted in a number of cities across North America. Policies can be structured in different ways, promoting green streets, green roofs, or on site infiltration. Below are some sample policies.

Mississauga resolution for LID. In 2014, Mississauga council voted for this resolution which requires the Transportation and Works Department to consider the feasibility of LID as part of the business planning and budget process for any road work.

City of Portland Green Streets Policy. Green streets handle stormwater on site, provide water qualtiy benefits and replenish groundwater, increase walk-friendliness, and connects the urban greenway.

Toronto Green Roofs Bylaw. Every building or building addition constructed after January 30, 2010, with a gross floor area of 2,000 square metres or greater shall include a green roof with coverage requirements dependent on size.

Washington D.C. Stormwater Management Regulation. Every development or redevelopment shall retain 0.8 inches of rainfall on site using stormwater best management practices. If this is not possible on the site, developments must purchase stormwater credits which fund infiltration projects off the site.

Stormwater Utiity and Credit Bylaw of the City of Waterloo. In 2011, the cities of Kitchener and Waterloo both implemented stormwater utility fees and a credit program through which property owners could get a rebate on some of the fee by implementing rainwater harvesting or infiltration landscaping practices. The RAIN program of REEP Green Solutions assists residents in taking advantage of the credits through the RAIN Home and Buisiness visit programs, demonstration projects, and workshops.

Municipal tools to promote green stormwater infrastructure: a jurisdictional review (2011). Overview of exisiting law and policy models to promote the use of green infrastructure for stormwater management in 25 U.S., Canadian, and European jurisdictions.

Click here to download all the sample policies.

Technical data, supporting research

One of the barriers cited to the implementation of green infrastructure is the lack of research surrounding its effectiveness. Although this may have been a valid complaint 10 years ago, there is now a significant body of research demonstrating the water quantity and quality control provided by green infrastructure technologies.

Review of the science and practice of stormwater infiltration in cold climates (2009). This review provides an updated summary of the body of knowledge on infiltration based stormwater management. Particular emphasis is placed on peer reviewed journal articles and published reports from jurisdictions with climate and soil conditions similar to Ontario, including the northeastern United States, United Kingdom, France, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Japan.

Burnsville Stormwater Retrofit Study (2006). This study investigated two neighbourhoods in Burnsville, Minnesota, one of which was outfitted with 17 rain gardens and one of which was not. Stormwater runoff was measured in the adjacent neighbourhoods, and the area with the rain gardens had 89%-92% less runoff than the area without.

Evaluation of permeable pavements in cold climates (2012). Report of the Sustainable Technologies Evaluation Program at the Toronto Region Conservation Authority and the University of Guelph on the performance of permeable concrete and permeable interlocking concrete pavers at the Kortwright Centre parking lot. Permeable pavements were found to reduce virtually all surface runoff, slow peak flows, and reduce pollutant concentrations in stormwater that was not completely infiltrated into soils.

LID Stormwater Management Planning and Design Guide (2010). Techincal guidelines by TRCA and CVC for the effective installation of a variety of LID (green infrastructure) technologies, including rainwater harvesting, green roofs, downspout disconnection, soakaway pits, bioretention, and permeable baving.

Click here to download all the technical data and supporting research.

What is Green Infrastructure?

Green Infrastructure uses rain as a resource, and takes advantage of the free services that nature provides, absorbing rainwater, and filtering out pollutants through soils and plants. Examples of green infrastructure include:

  • Rain gardens/ bioretention
  • Permeable pavement
  • Bioswales
  • Infiltration galleries
  • Green roofs
  • Trees
  • Wetlands

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