According to the DEP, green infrastructure mimics natural processes, utilizing soils and vegetation to manage rainwater where it falls. By focusing on nonpoint source pollution and the environmental impact of land development, green infrastructure can complement, or be an effective alternative to, traditional "gray infrastructure" techniques in minimizing and preventing adverse stormwater runoff impacts. By contrast, according to the DEP, traditional, or "gray infrastructure," generally focuses on collecting rainwater and sending it downstream to ultimately be discharged into a waterway.
Green infrastructure manages stormwater in two ways: by reducing the volume of runoff and by treating runoff. Municipalities and utilities can incorporate green infrastructure through investments such as tree plantings, green streets, community gardens, rain gardens, parking lot retrofits, and bioretention systems. For more information on individual green infrastructure practices, visit the links below:
Green infrastructure practices to be incorporated into site design should be selected based on an evaluation of individual site characteristics and needs. While green infrastructure practices should be considered as part of development design, most can also be used as a retrofit option once a site has already been developed depending on the site conditions.
Additional information on these and other green infrastructure strategies, as well as guidance on stormwater management strategies, can be found in the New Jersey Stormwater Best Management Practices Manual (BMP manual). For information on the environmental, social and economic benefits of green infrastructure, please also see the Frequently Asked Questions section.
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