28 Multi-Benefit Resources


Green Infrastructure Co-Benefits Valuation Tool

Author: Earth Economics, GI Exchange (2019)
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The Green Infrastructure Co-benefits Valuation Tool is intended to provide a framework, methods, and values to support rapid screening-level analysis of the costs and benefits associated with a range of GI investments. The tool itself is based in Microsoft Excel and comes with a users guide and fact sheet.

Water LA

Author: The River Project (2018)
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The 2018 Water LA report by the River Project explores the opportunities for and challenges of building a resilient region by making small, distributed changes to the urban landscape. The report offers a case study from LA where parcel-scale water management projects provide different social, environmental, and economic benefits.

Methods to Assess Co-Benefits of California Climate Investments: Water Supply and Availability

Author: Center for Resource Efficient Communities, UC-Berkeley (2017)
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Methods to Assess Co-benefits of California Climate Investments: Water Supply and Availability is a literature review of the different methodologies and approaches to quantifying the water supply and availability benefits from California Climate Investment projects. California Climate Investments are a broad group of projects being pursued across the state to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, such as wetland restoration and urban tree planting. While the literature review is targeted at California projects, some of the information provided could be applicable more broadly in the U.S.

Healthy Lands and Healthy Economies: The multiple benefits of Sonoma County working and natural lands

Author: Sonoma County Ag + Open Space (2018)
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Sonoma County Ag + Open Space presents the results of a thorough economic assessment of the county’s agricultural and natural lands, incorporating the multiple benefits of these landscapes.

Top 22 Benefits of Trees

Author: TreePeople (2019)
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This website, Top 22 Benefits of Trees, provides an overview of the top benefits provided by trees, which include, but are not limited to, saving water, preventing water pollution, and many other benefits.

Evaluating Ecological Restoration Success: A Review of the Literature

Author: (2013)
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Evaluating Ecological Restoration Success: A Review of the Literature synthesizes past trends in restoration project evaluations and identified major knowledge gaps. The review analyzes approximately 300 ecological restoration project evaluations that include measurements for impacts on the economy, society, and environment. The sources are organized by publication details, restoration project characteristics, and evaluation/monitoring methodology.

Dams and Development A New Framework for Decision-Making

Author: World Commission on Dams (2000)
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Dams and Development A New Framework for Decision-Making provides a comprehensive, global evaluation of the impacts of dams on people, the environment, and the economy. The report illustrates that while dams mainly provide benefits such as increased water supply, flood control, and energy generation, they also provide many secondary and tertiary benefits such as food security, employment, skills development, rural electrification, and expansion of civil infrastructure including roads and schools. The report also assesses alternatives to dams for water resource and energy projects. From this evaluation, several main conclusions and recommendations were developed to give to the World Bank, governments, construction, and financing agencies around the world.

Green Infrastructure Opportunities and Barriers in the Greater Los Angeles Region

Author: U.S. EPA (2013)
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Green Infrastructure Opportunities and Barriers in the Greater Los Angeles Region analyzes the regulatory barriers to installing green infrastructure in Los Angeles. The types of green infrastructure projects discussed in the report include bioretention cells, bioretention strips/swales, infiltration basins/swales/trenches, planter boxes, constructed wetlands, rainwater capture, permeable pavement, and drywells. The report defines the regulatory landscape for green infrastructure in California, identifies potential for fulfilling multiple regulations and requirements through green infrastructure projects, and lastly, examines the regulatory barriers to green infrastructure implementation.

Developing Scenarios to Assess Ecosystem Service Tradeoffs: Guidance and Case Studies for InVEST Users

Author: The Natural Capital Project (2012)
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Developing Scenarios to Assess Ecosystem Service Tradeoffs: Guidance and Case Studies for InVEST Users provides an evaluation of six case studies from across the globe that utilized inVEST to inform policy decisions. InVEST is a software tool for assessing how the location, quantity, and value of ecosystem services change under different scenarios. The tool was developed by the Natural Capital Project, a coalition that works to develop practical ecosystem services concepts and tools, apply these tools around the world to demonstrate the impact of ecosystem service approaches in decisions, and engage thought leaders to advance change in policy and practice. The report includes a discussion on the methodologies used as well as the strengths and challenges that arose with each application of InVEST.

Green Infrastructure in Parks: A Guide to Collaboration, Funding, and Community Engagement

Author: U.S. EPA (2017)
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Green Infrastructure in Parks: A Guide to Collaboration, Funding, and Community Engagement analyzes green infrastructure projects in parks and the resulting benefits. The report uses case studies to discuss the multiple benefits and encourage cities to invest in green infrastructure projects within their public parks. The multiple benefits cited within the report include recreation value, attractive park features, social and environmental equity, reduced maintenance, drainage, education, water quality, economic benefits, and overall benefits to environment.

Rainwater as a Resource: A Report on Three Sites Demonstrating Sustainable Stormwater Management

Author: TreePeople (2007)
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Rainwater as a Resource: A Report on Three Sites Demonstrating Sustainable Stormwater Management (2007) presents three case studies for stormwater management: (1) single-family, parcel sized greening in South Los Angeles, CA, (2) campus greening at Hillery T. Broadous Elementary School in Pacoima, CA, and (3) campus greening at Open Charter Magnet Elementary School in Westchester, CA. The report includes costs and quantified benefits for tree benefits (tree canopy, carbon storage, carbon sequestration, energy savings), stormwater benefits (runoff reduction, avoided storage), and air pollution benefits (ozone, SO2, NO2, PM10, and CO removal). The report also includes a discussion of additional non-quantified benefits including student health and safety, green waste reuse, and green recreation space.

Green Infrastructure Guide for Water Management

Author: United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), UNEP-DHI Partnership, International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), The Nature Conservancy, World Resources Institute (2014)
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Green Infrastructure: Guide for Water Management examines case studies of green infrastructure projects throughout the United States. The report argues that a lack of awareness of the solutions and additional cost benefits that green infrastructure projects can provide is the major barrier to implementation of green infrastructure solutions. The case studies include green infrastructure projects such as green roofs, permeable pavement, levee setbacks, wetland conservation and construction, reforestation and afforestation, and flood bypasses and coastal protection. The case studies cite benefits from the ecosystem service categories (i.e., provisioning services, regulating services, cultural services, habitat or supporting services), providing a qualitative discussion of primary benefits and co-benefits for each case study.

The Economic Benefits of Green Infrastructure A Case Study of Lancaster, PA

Author: U.S. EPA (2014)
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The Economic Benefits of Green Infrastructure: A Case Study of Lancaster, PA provides an economic valuation of green infrastructure in Lancaster, PA based on the Framework described in CNT’s “The Value of Green Infrastructure: A Guide to Recognizing Its Economic, Environmental and Social Benefits, 2010”. The report provides data requirements and methodologies for evaluation of water-related benefits (avoided capital costs of storage needs, avoided operational costs from wastewater treatment), energy-related benefits (reduced energy use for indoor temperature control), air-quality benefits (smog reduction, including NO2, O3, SO2 and PM10), and climate change-related benefits (CO2 reduction from carbon sequestration, reductions in water and wastewater pumping and treatment, and building energy use). The report also includes a discussion on the additional qualitative benefits including reduced urban heat island effect, increased property value, reduced noise pollution, increased recreational opportunities, habitat improvement, public education, and community cohesion.

Stormwater Capture Master Plan

Author: Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) (2015)
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Los Angeles’ Department of Water and Power (LADWP) Stormwater Capture Master Plan develops a strategy for long-term stormwater capture potential, examination of projects and programs, estimation of the value of projects with ancillary benefits, and stormwater program and policy implementations in California. Stormwater programs include on-site infiltration, green streets, subregional infiltration, on-site direct use, subregional direct use, and impervious replacement. The multiple benefits cited from increased stormwater capture include groundwater recharge, water conservation, open space alternatives, and improved downstream water quality and peak flow.

Envision V3 User Manual

Author: Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure (2017)
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The Envision V3 (Draft Credits for Public Review and Comment) user manual outlines additions to the Envision framework, a sustainability framework that aims to analyze infrastructure projects and promote collaboration on multi-benefit projects in order to improve system synergy. The framework defines co-benefits as services not directly related to the project’s primary function, and identifies five benefit categories: 1) quality of life, 2) leadership, 3) resource allocation, 4) natural world, and 5) climate and risk. Envision V3, launched in late 2017, modifies the final category, instead calling it ‘risk and resilience’.

Envision Framework

Author: Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure (N/A)
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Envision is a framework that provides the guidance needed to initiate this systemic change in the planning, design and delivery of sustainable and resilient infrastructure. Envision is a decision-making guide, not a set of prescriptive measures. Envision provides industry-wide sustainability metrics for all types and sizes of infrastructure to help users assess and measure the extent to which their project contributes to conditions of sustainability across the full range of social, economic, and environmental indicators.

The Hidden Value of Landscapes: Implications for Drought Planning

Author: Colorado State University (2017)
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The Hidden Value of Landscapes: Implications for Drought Planning analyzes the impacts of landscaping on quality of life, environment, and land values in Colorado. The report illustrates that while landscaping can provide the primary goal of drought relief, it also provides a suite of co-benefits. These benefits include environmental benefits (i.e., air quality, carbon sequestration, cooling effects, stormwater management, and wildlife habitat), increased real estate value, and enhanced community and health.

Barriers and Gateways to Green Infrastructure

Author: Clean Water America Alliance (2011)
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Barriers and Gateways to Green Infrastructure identifies and explores the major barriers to implementation of green infrastructure for stormwater management. The barriers were identified through a survey of various stakeholder groups from across the United States, and included the following themes: technical and physical barriers, legal and regulatory barriers, financial barriers, and community and institutional barriers. The report also provides several recommendations to the U.S. EPA for overcoming these barriers, including creation of new stormwater regulations and permits, full accounting for economic and environmental benefits, embracing of new stormwater approaches, and increased federal funding for green infrastructure.

The Value of Green Infrastructure: A Guide to Recognizing Its Economic, Environmental and Social Benefits

Author: Center for Neighborhood Technology, American Rivers (2010)
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The Value of Green Infrastructure: A Guide to Recognizing Its Economic, Environmental and Social Benefits is an in-depth framework for evaluating the multiple benefits of green infrastructure projects, including green roofs, tree planting, bioretention and infiltration, permeable pavement, and water harvesting. The framework provides methodologies for valuation of water, energy, air quality, and climate change-related benefits, as well as a qualitative discussion on community livability and public education benefits.

Systemic solutions for multi-benefit water and environmental management

Author: (2013)
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Systemic solutions for multi-benefit water and environmental management provides an academic, theoretical critique on the evaluation of multi-benefit systems. The report comprises case studies of successful green infrastructure projects, including constructed wetlands, urban ecosystem technologies, agricultural washlands, and integrated constructed wetlands.

Quantifying Watershed Restoration Benefits in Community Water Partnership Projects

Author: LimnoTech, Global Environment & Technology Foundation (GETF) (2015)
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Quantifying Watershed Restoration Benefits in Community Water Partnership Projects is a report that aims to quantify water-related benefits of Coca-Cola Company watershed protection, water for productive use, and water access projects. The report identifies nine categories of watershed restoration actions, including agricultural land practice changes, stormwater management, land use/land cover alterations, hydraulic/hydrologic waterbody alterations, recaptured leakage from water systems, wastewater treatment, biologic management, water reuse, and rainwater harvesting and aquifer recharge. The benefits quantified within this report include water quantity and water quality (i.e., sediment reduction), and the benefits not quantified include habitat improvement, biodiversity, and carbon sequestration.

Carbon Sequestration Potential of Extensive Green Roofs

Author: (2009)
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Carbon Sequestration Potential of Extensive Green Roofs provides data from two studies on vegetated roofs in Maryland and Michigan. The studies provide quantitative results on the carbon storage potential of extensive green roofs in both plant biomass and substrate.

Green Stormwater Infrastructure Economics in the Boise Urban Area

Author: (2015)
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Green Stormwater Infrastructure Economics in the Boise Urban Area (2015) examines the economics of green versus grey infrastructure in Boise, Idaho. Infrastructure projects analyzed include bioretention, trees with suspended pavement systems, permeable pavement, bioswales, conventional trees without suspended pavement systems, and conventional paved alleyways. Biophysical services and social benefits are compared to the alternative (i.e., status quo) option to determine the differences in services. The biophysical services identified include waste absorption/pollutant reduction, groundwater recharge, carbon sequestration, temperature reduction, and biodiversity/habitat provision. The social benefits identified include clean drinking water, water supply, clean air, aesthetics and recreation, pedestrian and vehicle safety, heat island effect, education and community engagement, and compliance credits.

Environmental Farming Act Science Advisory Panel Bi-Annual Report (2011-2013)

Author: California Department of Food and Agriculture (2013)
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Environmental Farming Act Science Advisory Panel – Bi-Annual Report (2011-2013) is a resource developed by the Environmental Farming Act Science Advisory Panel and organized by Secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA). The advisory panel aims to review the impact of agriculture on the environment and encourage agricultural practices with environmental benefits by providing incentives and modifying environmental regulations. The environmental benefit categories established by the advisory panel include: wildlife habitats; nutrient cycling; food, fiber, and fuel production; recreation and cultural; soil structure, formation, and fertility; biodiversity conservation; water cycling; atmospheric gas/climate regulation; pest control; pollination services; and water quality.

Beyond the Source: The environmental, economic and community benefits of source water protection

Author: The Nature Conservancy (2017)
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Beyond the Source is an in-depth, global study conducted by the Nature Conservancy on source water protection projects. In the report these projects are described as “nature-based solutions” that can improve water quality and quantity. Projects include targeted land protection, revegetation, riparian restoration, agricultural best management practices, ranching best management practices, fire risk management, wetland restoration and creation, and road management. The report provides a qualitative framework as well as quantitative guidance for calculating the multiple benefits.

Living Streets Economic Feasibility Project: Final Report

Author: Heal the Bay, Climate Resolve, GreenLA Coalition (2016)
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Living Streets Economic Feasibility Report presents an alternate, new paradigm to guide the future of street and sidewalk infrastructure design and creation for Los Angeles. The term they use for this new paradigm is “Living Streets”, and it incorporates green infrastructure and stormwater capture within street design to improve air quality, water quantity and quality, flooding, human health, and aesthetics within urban regions. The report presents the costs and benefits of Living Streets, and compares them to the costs and benefits of continuing with business as usual, as well as against what they call “Green Streets,” “Cool Streets,” and “Complete Streets.”

Central Valley Flood Protection Plan 2017 Update

Author: California Department of Water Resources (2017)
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The Central Valley Flood Protection Plan asserts that institutional frameworks hinder implementation of multi-benefit actions and outlines a framework to facilitate design and construction of multi-benefit projects. The report organizes Design Within Reach (DWR) Flood Management programs with the flood management policy issues they address, as well as discusses multi-benefit improvements for ecosystem vitality for specific projects. It includes a qualitative discussion of multi-benefit projects, defining them as projects designed to reduce flood risk and enhance fish and wildlife habitat, as well as create additional public benefits such as sustaining agricultural production, improving water quality and water supply reliability, increasing groundwater recharge, supporting commercial fisheries, and providing public recreation and educational opportunities, or any combination thereof.

Proposition 1 Stormwater Grant Program Guidelines

Author: California State Resources Water Quality Control Board (2015)
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Proposition 1 Stormwater Grant Program Guidelines, related to the Stormwater Grant Program (SWGP), establishes the process and criteria by which Proposition 1 funds are awarded in the state of California. The guidelines seek to encourage public agencies to develop multi-benefit stormwater management plans, as specified in the Stormwater Resource Planning Act (SB 985), that reframe stormwater projects, including dry-weather runoff as a water supply resource.