37 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.

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.

Sustainable Landscapes in the Santa Ana River Watershed

Author: Pacific Institute (2019)
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The Sustainable Landscapes in the Santa Ana River Watershed map is an interactive tool that allows users to explore potential benefits of sustainable landscaping practices across the Santa Ana River Watershed.

The Blueprint for Increased Investment in Green Infrastructure

Author: Earth Economics (2018)
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The Blueprint for Increased Investment in Green Infrastructure is a comprehensive resource for water managers and other decision makers seeking to start or expand investment in green infrastructure. The Blueprint presents five major cultural and institutional shifts that are required at the municipal level for the grown in green infrastructure. Data, tools, tips, and other resources are also provided.

Opportunities for natural infrastructure to improve urban water security in Latin America

Author: (2018)
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Opportunities for natural infrastructure to improve urban water security in Latin America offers a continent-scale analysis of ecosystem services provided by watershed conservation and other land management activities. The authors present a method for assessing the potential for watershed conservation activities to improve surface drinking water quality and mitigate flood risks.

On Spatially Distributed Hydrologic Ecosystem Services: Bridging the Quantitative Information Gap Using Remote Sensing and Hydrological Models

Author: (2017)
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The white paper, On Spatially Distributed Hydrologic Ecosystem Services, provides an explanation of and use case examples for a hydrologic ecosystem services model. This is a useful resource for quantification of water-related ecosystem services.The model is spatially and temporally designed for basin-scale analyses.

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.

National Management Measures to Protect and Restore Wetlands and Riparian Areas for the Abatement of Nonpoint Source Pollution

Author: U.S. EPA (2005)
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National Management Measures to Protect and Restore Wetlands and Riparian Areas for the Abatement of Nonpoint Source Pollution is a guidance document that is targeted at state level employees seeking management options for non-point source (NPS) pollution. The report provides guidance on reducing NPS pollution through wetland and riparian area restoration and protection and vegetated treatment systems. The report also includes further resources for NPS pollution management practices as well as relevant case studies organized by territory, state, and tribe.

Case Study Fluvial and ecosystem restoration of the Arga-Aragón Rivers systems by combining measures

Author: Natural Water Retention Measures (NWRM) (2013)
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Case Study: Fluvial and ecosystem restoration of the Arga-Aragon Rivers systems by combining measures details the process and implementation of watershed restoration along the Arga-Aragon Rivers systems with the goal of reducing flood impacts and restoring habitat functions. The report provides measures involving wetlands, floodplains, re-meandering, riverbeds, revitalization of flowing water, natural bank stabilization, elimination of riverbank protection, and riparian buffers. The costs of the project, including the amount of money required to reimburse farmers for lost land are included.

Green Infrastructure & Health Guide

Author: Oregon Health and Outdoors Initiative, Willamette Partnership, Oregon Public Health Institute (OPHI), The Green Infrastructure Leadership Exchange (2018)
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Green Infrastructure & Health Guide provides the tools, resources, and evidence for the connections between green infrastructure (GI) and human health. The chapters include Health Challenges and GI Solutions, GI and Health: What is the connection?, Nature Experiences and Health: Current evidence, Shared Language, Identifying Community Health Needs, Make the Case: Business and more, Community Engagement: Why and how, GI Siting and Design: Considerations for health, Evaluating Health Benefits of GI, and Needs and Next Steps. The appendices include Detailed Community Engagement Guidelines, Sample Tree Planting Health Survey, Sample Logic Model Linking Tree Planting and Health, and Sample City Health and Outdoors Opportunities Assessments.

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.

Milwaukee Green Infrastructure Scenarios Tool

Author: Climate Interactive, Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District (N/A)
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The Milwaukee Green Infrastructure Scenarios Tool (GIST) helps decision makers to analyze various scenarios and determine the best stormwater management solutions in Milwaukee’s Kinnickinnic River Watershed. The tool recommends the green infrastructure project (i.e., green roofs, bioretention, stormwater trees, porous pavement, etc.) that best provides stormwater management, extreme weather resilience, job generation, aesthetics, and financial savings. The tool provides outputs of system performance measures (i.e., number of overflow events annually), capital and operational costs, and the co-benefits of the project, including improved water quality, energy savings, and increased jobs and property values.

Preliminary Data Summary of Urban Storm Water Best Management Practices

Author: U.S. EPA (1999)
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Preliminary Data Summary of Urban Storm Water Best Management Practices synthesizes existing information on costs and environmental benefits of stormwater Best Management Practices (BMPs). The major goals of stormwater BMPs are flow control, temperature and pH control, and pollutant removal, including solids, oxygen-demanding substances, nitrogen and phosphorus, pathogens, petroleum hydrocarbons, metals, and synthetic organics. The environmental benefits cited include hydrological and habitat benefits, human health benefits (direct contact and seafood), and aesthetic benefits (property value/public perception, dual use systems using less space). The report provides a recommendation for stormwater BMPs and their associated costs and benefits.

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.

Oro Loma Horizontal Levee Vegetation Report

Author: Save the Bay (2017)
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The Oro Loma Horizontal Levee Project is a multi-agency and multi-jurisdictional project combining the expertise of numerous project partners to address multiple functions for the Oro Loma wastewater treatment facility. The project converted a 10-acre field along the San Francisco Bay’s edge into an eight-million gallon holding basin connected to a horizontal levee. Water from the wastewater treatment plant will be further treated by the vegetation in the holding basin and through microbial uptake as it passes through the horizontal levee before entering the Bay. The system also serves to protect the wastewater treatment facility from sea level rise.

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.

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.

Bay Area Project Tackles Sea-Level Rise and Water Quality

Author: NewsDeeply Water Deeply (2018)
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Bay Area Project Tackles Sea-Level Rise and Water Quality reports on a creative adaptive management strategy that has been applied to a section of the San Francisco Bay to help with sea-level rise and improve water quality. The strategy is called a “horizontal levee,” which uses vegetation on a slope to break wave impact. In the article they cite benefits for salt marshes that are at risk for disappearance due to sea-level rise, and benefits to water quality as a result of naturally occurring soil microbes uptaking nutrients in the wastewater delivered to the levee. Additionally, water that passes through the levee exhibits reduced pharmaceutical content.

Making the Utility Case for Onsite Non-potable Water Systems

Author: National Blue Ribbon Commission for Onsite Non-potable Water Systems (US Water Alliance, Water Research Foundation) (2018)
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Making the Utility Case for Onsite Non-potable Water Systems is a report that 1) defines the scope of onsite non-potable water systems, 2) highlights how utilities are using onsite non-potable water systems to meet One Water goals, 3) presents key considerations for implementing onsite non-potable water systems, and 4) outlines the role of utility leadership in implementing onsite non-potable water systems. The report also includes case studies from throughout the U.S. that illustrate the multiple benefits produced from onsite non-potable water systems, including system resilience, diversification of water supplies, stormwater management and pollution reduction, compliance with policy and regulatory requirements, reducing capital costs, enhancing environmental and community facilities, providing opportunities for public-private partnerships, and technology advancement.

Co-benefits for Water and Biodiversity from the Sustainable Management of High Nature Value Farmland

Author: Centre for Environmental Research Innovation and Sustainability (2017)
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Co-benefits for Water and Biodiversity from the Sustainable Management of High Nature Value Farmland examines the potential for high nature value farmland in Ireland. The types of high nature value landscapes cited in the report include farmed uplands, calcareous grassland and limestone pavement, machair/coastal grasslands, wet grasslands, islands, river floodplains, and the Wexford slobs. The report discusses water quality and water quantity benefits, as well as potential biodiversity benefits that can result from the maintenance of high nature value landscapes.

Impacts of forest restoration on water yield: A systematic review

Author: (2017)
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Impacts of forest restoration on water yield: A systematic review provides an academic review of 666 journals and studies conducted on the impact of forest restoration on water yields. From the works reviewed, forest restoration generally led to decreases in water yields, baseflow, and groundwater temporarily. The report suggests that green water may increase from reforestation, but there is little evidence to suggest that blue water will increase from reforestation.

The Economics of Low-Impact Development: A Literature Review

Author: ECONorthwest (2007)
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The Economics of Low-Impact Development: A Literature Review provides a review of economic valuations of low-impact development projects. The multiple benefits of low-impact development cited within the report include reduced flooding, improved water quality, increased groundwater recharge, reduced public expenditures on stormwater infrastructure, reduced energy use, improved air quality, and enhanced aesthetics and property values. The report provides guidance and literature discussion on methodologies for calculating the costs and benefits of low-impact development projects.

The Value of Green Infrastructure for Urban Climate Adaptation

Author: Center for Clean Air Policy (2011)
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The Value of Green Infrastructure for Urban Climate Adaptation provides a methodology for calculating the costs and benefits of green infrastructure, with particular focus on urban climate adaptation. Benefits of green infrastructure include land value, quality of life, public health, hazard mitigation, and regulatory compliance. In the report, economic analyses are provided for “Eco-Roofs,” Green Alleys and Streets, and Urban Forestry with several case study examples provided.

Green infrastructure and its catchment-scale effects: An emerging science

Author: (2017)
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Green infrastructure and its catchment-scale effects: An emerging science provides an overview of past research conducted on the impacts of green infrastructure (GI) and low-impact development (LID) on water quality (i.e. runoff and discharge) and water quantity at localized scales. The report also presents considerations for scaling GI and LID research to the catchment-scale, advances and findings in scaling efforts, and the use of models as tools for scaling.

Green Infrastructure: Lessons from Science and Practice

Author: Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, Syracuse University, Science Policy Exchange (2015)
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Green Infrastructure: Lessons from Science and Practice provides a literature review of peer-reviewed journal articles that measure and analyze flood control and water quality impacts of green infrastructure from across the United States. In addition, the literature review tabulates enabling factors and barriers to green infrastructure adoption within communities.

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

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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.

Freshwater Health Index Dongjiang Basin, China: An assessment of freshwater ecosystem health

Author: Freshwater Health Index (2017)
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The Freshwater Health Index is a tool that examines three components of ecosystem health: ecosystem vitality (i.e., water quantity, water quality, basin condition, and biodiversity), ecosystem services (i.e., provisioning, regulation and support, and cultural), and governance & stakeholders (i.e., enabling environment, stakeholder management, vision and adaptive governance, and effectiveness). The report applies the Freshwater Health Index to the Dongjiang Basin in China, providing semi-quantitative scores for each ecosystem health component.

Banking on Green: A Look at How Green Infrastructure Can Save Municipalities Money and Provide Economic Benefits Community-wide

Author: American Rivers, the Water Environment Federation, the American Society of Landscape Architects, ECONorthwest (2012)
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Banking on Green provides a business case for green infrastructure practices in the United States. Benefits cited within the report include reduced stormwater runoff, reduced energy costs, reduced impacts of flooding, improvements in public health, and reduced infrastructure costs. Within the report, it is argued that green infrastructure can blend seamlessly with traditional grey infrastructure, and make communities more resilient in the face of extreme events and climate change. The report provides case studies of successful green infrastructure projects across the United States, and a qualitative discussion on the multiple benefits.

Water Storage Investment Program Technical Reference

Author: California Water Commission (2016)
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Water Storage Investment Program Technical Reference details the methodology for quantifying the co-benefits or adverse impacts of water storage projects under California’s Water Storage Investment Program (WSIP). The report outlines methods for quantification of various co-benefits and adverse impacts, providing guidance on defining future site conditions, calculating physical changes, monetizing project benefits and costs, comparing benefits and costs, properly allocating costs to beneficiaries, determining cost-effectiveness and public-benefit ratio, and evaluating sources of uncertainty. Projects that quantify public benefits following these methodologies are eligible for California state bond funding to pay for the public benefits.

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.

Hydrologic Shortcomings of Conventional Urban Stormwater Management and Opportunities for Reform

Author: (2012)
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Hydrologic shortcomings of conventional urban stormwater management and opportunities for reform contrasts two conventional approaches to stormwater, one of which is focused on drainage efficiency (i.e., flood control) and one of which is focused on pollutant-load reduction. The report suggests that stormwater management should address both pollutants and peak flow, and examine more localized stormwater management options that maintain the pre-urban flow rate of rivers.

Life-cycle cost-benefit analysis of extensive vegetated roof systems

Author: (2008)
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Life-cycle cost-benefit analysis of extensive vegetated roof systems assesses the benefits and costs of green roofs from a pilot study in Athens, Georgia, including private and social benefits. The public benefits identified were avoided best management practice costs, energy savings, and air quality, and the private benefits identified were stormwater utility fee credits, building energy savings, and air quality. The costs identified in the study included lifetime construction and maintenance. The study revealed that green roofs were 10-14% more expensive than conventional counterparts, and therefore, recommended that a broader range of positive social benefits be included in the analysis in order to outweigh the higher construction costs and encourage the construction of green roofs.

Strategy to Optimize Resource Management of Storm Water (Storm Water Strategy, STORMS)

Author: California State Water Resources Control Board (2018)
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Strategy to Optimize Resource Management of Storm Water is a California State Water Board statewide strategy for stormwater management. The STORMS program mission is “to lead the evolution of stormwater management in California by advancing the perspective that stormwater is a valuable resource, supporting policies for collaborative watershed-level stormwater management and pollution prevention, removing obstacles to funding, developing resources, and integrating regulatory and non-regulatory interests.” The strategy includes various stormwater management initiatives including improving policy and regulation around stormwater capture and use, establishing a monetary value of stormwater, and encouraging stakeholder support of stormwater management best practices.