Strategies for implementing green infrastructure

To promote community-wide implementation of green stormwater infrastructure, Green Communities Canada has developed a toolkit of proven effective policies and programs that work with nature to reduce runoff, flood risk, and stormwater pollution.

The Soak it Up! Toolkit is available for free download at http://www.raincommunitysolutions.ca/en/toolkit/.

The 50-page document outlines a wide range of practical strategies for municipalities and

The Soak it Up! Toolkit provides a wide range of strategies for municipalities and communities to implement green infrastructure. It is available for free download.

The Soak it Up! Toolkit provides a wide range of strategies for municipalities and communities to implement green stormwater infrastructure. It is available for free download.

communities, including green streets and alleys, green parks, development standards, and stormwater user fees and incentives as a way of promoting action on private property.

Each section includes a brief overview, examples from real-world experience, and insights into what works and what doesn’t.

“The Toolkit is an accessible overview of the options with lots of links for more information,” says Sharyn Inward, GCC Director of Water Programs.

“It’s designed for decision-makers, planners, and influencers, like community groups, contractors, and others. It’s a ‘getting started’ document to help formulate an action strategy suited to local conditions,” says Inward.

Green Communities Canada developed the Toolkit recognizing that communities are on the front lines of stormwater impacts, costs, and solutions. Conventional grey infrastructure (storm drains and pipes) is costly and can’t keep up with the challenges of increased urbanization and climate change. Green infrastructure (also known as low impact development) will be a big part of an effective, affordable solution.

Green stormwater infrastructure includes rain gardens, bioswales, permeable pavement, infiltration galleries, green roofs, the urban forest canopy, and rainwater harvesting and reuse.

“These are proven and effective ways to manage rain where it falls,” says Inward.

The toolkit was prepared by Clara Blakelock (current on maternity leave), with funding from the Ontario Trillium Foundation. Outreach activities to date include two Toronto workshops in December, hosted by Green Infrastructure Ontario, and a full day training at the recent Federation of Canadian Municipalities Sustainable Communities Conference.

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