68 Multi-Benefit Resources


Economic-Engineering Method for Assessing Trade-Offs between Instream and Offstream Uses

Author: Génova et al., (2019)
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Economic-Engineering Method for Assessing Trade-Offs between Instream and Offstream Uses creates a method for comparing values of instream and offstream uses of water. Using the example of a river in Chile, the authors compare the valuation of more energy generation with providing more water for the river to support recreation. The method found the benefits depended heavily on drought and energy prices.

Recreation Benefits of Instream Flow: Application to Montana’s Big Hole and Bitterroot Rivers

Author: Duffield et al., US Forest Service (1998)
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Recreation Benefits of Instream Flow: Application to Montana’s Big Hole and Bitterroot Rivers uses economic valuation to calculate recreational and downstream energy production benefits. The authors develop an instream valuation framework and apply it to a Montana river case study.

Assessing The Direct Effects of Streamflow on Recreation: A Literature Review

Author: Brown et al., US Forest Service (1991)
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Assessing The Direct Effects of Streamflow on Recreation: A Literature Review examines the relationship between stream flows and recreation quality. Most papers found a nonlinear relationship between increases in stream flows and recreation quality. Recreation quality increases with streamflows until a site specific point, and then levels out. This indicates there could be an optimum stream flow in water systems for recreation quality.

Portland’s Green Infrastructure: Quantifying the Health, Energy, and Community Livability Benefits

Author: City of Portland Bureau of Environmental Services (2010)
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Portland’s Green Infrastructure: Quantifying the Health, Energy, and Community Livability Benefits quantifies the benefits of green infrastructure (GI) initiatives. Using available research and data, the city quantified benefits in energy and described benefits to community livability and health. This report breaks down the benefits by different GI types to show how projects impact each benefit category.

Green Infrastructure Evaluation Framework

Author: National Recreation and Park Association (2019)
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The Green Infrastructure Evaluation Framework allows for people planning green infrastructure projects to identify and systematically calculate project benefits. Step one of the framework has a tool to identify all the different benefits that could be expected. Step two lays out how to collect and manage data to evaluate green infrastructure. Step 3 builds a structure on how to use the data, once collected, for communication inside and outside of the organization.

Economic valuation of river restoration: An analysis of the valuation literature and its uses in decision making

Author: Bergstrom & Loomis, The University of Georgia, Athens (2016)
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Economic valuation of river restoration: An analysis of the valuation literature and its uses in decision-making compares valuations of 38 river restoration projects. The majority of valuations used contingent valuation methods and focused on fish populations. Other valuations used revealed preference or stated preference and valued water quality, recreation, or other benefits.

Identifying linkages between urban green infrastructure and ecosystem services using an expert opinion methodology

Author: Elliott et al., Columbia University (2019)
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Identifying linkages between urban green infrastructure and ecosystem services using an expert opinion methodology compares benefits in urban distributed stormwater infrastructure. This is commonly known as green infrastructure (GI), provides a wide variety of benefits. This study offers both a methodology for evaluating the multiple benefits of GI as well as a decision-support tool developed through interviews with 46 academic experts that helps to rank different GI strategies based on their known ability to deliver a variety of co-benefits.

Lower Snake River Dams: Economic Tradeoffs of Removal

Author: EconNorthwest (2019)
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The report, Lower Snake River Dams: Economic Tradeoffs of Removal, analyzes the costs and benefits of removing four dams along the lower Snake River in Washington State. The analysis applies economic values to the following benefits and tradeoffs: changes related to hydropower electric grid services, irrigation water supply, transportation along on the river corridor, recreation, and non-use values such as a restored natural river system and reduced extinction risk of wild salmon.

The Napa River Basin, California

Author: Naturally Resilient Communities (2016)
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The Napa River Basin, California provides a short overview of the multi-benefit approach taken by the Napa River communities to mitigate flood risk. The chosen approach deliberately sought not only to reduce the risk and impact of flooding from the Napa River, but also to preserve and restore habitat, reconnect the floodplain, and improve community livability.

i-Tree

Author: USDA Forest Service, Davey Tree Expert Company, Arborday Foundation, Society of Municipal Arborists, International Society of Arboriculture, Casey Trees, and SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (2019)
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The i-Tree portal allows environmental managers to quantify benefits of urban and rural forestry. The website provides tools from the USDA Forest Service based on scientific studies to create tangible ecosystem services. These tools allow for the calculation of benefits from the parcel to state level.

Recreation Use Values Database

Author: Oregon State University (2016)
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The Recreation Use Values Database catalogs studies that place valuations on recreational activities and the species related to these activities. The database is a downloadable Excel spreadsheet that allows for specific recreational uses and species to be analyzed.

An Analysis of the Demand for and Value of Outdoor Recreation in the United States

Author: Bergstrom & Cordell, USDA Forest Service (1991)
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An Analysis of the Demand for and Value of Outdoor Recreation in the United States examines the valuation for 37 different recreational activities across the US in 1991. Travel cost method determined the total value for recreation in the United States was $122 billion annually at the time of study. Value of individual recreation activities was also calculated.

Inclusive Urban Ecological Restoration in Toronto, Canada

Author: Newman, Center for Resource Economics (2011)
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Inclusive Urban Ecological Restoration in Toronto, Canada explores the ways improving diversity in park management could benefit Toronto communities. Involving more racial groups in projects has many unrecognized benefits. For example, it can help undo racial stereotypes that parks and natural spaces are only for white people. It can also make people who live in these communities more visible. Communities can also be empowered by being included in ecological projects. By involving minority groups from the beginning of a project, the project is more sustainable in the long term.

Dialogue on Diversity: Broadening the voices in urban and community forestry

Author: McDonough et al., US Forest Service (2003)
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Dialogue on Diversity: Broadening the Voices in Urban and Community Forestry reports the results of a national attempt to increase diversity in urban forestry efforts. This US Forestry project piloted a method of expanding urban forestry engagement by holding workshops across 11 different sites. This report showed that with enough effort, successful workshops can be held that identify new benefits for urban forestry.

Participatory development and the sustainable city: community forestry in Detroit

Author: Vachta & McDonough, The Pennsylvania State University at Harrisburg (2002)
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Participatory Development and the Sustainable City: Community Forestry in Detroit is a chapter in a book discussing sustainable city management. This chapter focuses on including equitable stakeholder engagement in these decisions by examining environmental investment in Detroit. After Detroit experienced a loss of about 1/5 of its city, green infrastructure projects were designed and implemented to fill the open areas. A series of projects were chosen by the communities, with public involvement. While implementation continued, a series of interviews were conducted to ensure the project was meeting community expectations.

Planning for inclusive urban ecological restoration

Author: Newman, Earthsake (2014)
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Planning for inclusive urban ecological restoration highlights some of the myths conservation managers might have about minority participation. It highlights how barriers such as only relying on volunteers and inaccessible comment periods make it challenging for diverse groups of people to participate even if they have interest in the project. The report claims conservation has a particular cultural perspective and may have different priorities than other cultural perspectives.

From brown to green? Assessing social vulnerability to environmental gentrification in New York City

Author: Hamil Pearsall, Clark University (2010)
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From brown to green? Assessing social vulnerability to environmental gentrification in New York City uses multiple linear regression to examine which factors determine if environmental improvements lead to gentrification. The report finds populations with low or fixed income such as seniors, people with disabilities, and people dependent on federal assistance can be significantly impacted by environmental gentrification. Areas that were redeveloped adjacent to other desirable amenities such as waterfront access, and easy public transit access experienced higher ecological gentrification.

Just green enough: contesting environmental gentrification in Greenpoint, Brooklyn

Author: Curran & Hamilton, DePaul University (2012)
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Just green enough: contesting environmental gentrification in Greenpoint, Brooklyn is a case study showing the benefits of partnerships between developers, environmentalists, and community members. While development can lead to displacement, there is a space for strategic development that does not negatively alter the neighborhood. Focusing on people’s health instead of aesthetics can protect the character of the neighborhood.

An Equitable Water Future

Author: US Water Alliance (2017)
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An Equitable Water Future highlights the main challenges and main solutions in water equity in the United States. There are 1.4 million Americans without access to modern plumbing. Affordability can also contribute to water inequity, the bottom 20% can pay 1/5 of their income on water bills. Communities might have disproportionate impacts from historical water quality threats such as nuclear testing or lead pipes. Examples of projects and organizations that are addressing these equity issues are provided. Equity and climate resilience are also discussed.

Economic Benefits: Metics and Methods for Landscape Performance Assessment

Author: Wang et al., Utah State University (2016)
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The Economic Benefits: Metrics and Methods for Landscape Performance Assessment presents a method and standard metrics for assessing the economic benefits of landscapes. This method and the associated metrics can be used to increase the scientific rigor of landscape architecture and to help achieve high(er) levels of sustainability in the built environment. Three test cases are used to demonstrate the utility of the method.

Urban green space, public health, and environmental justice: The challenge of making cities ‘just green enough’

Author: Wolch et al., UC Berkeley (2014)
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Urban green space, public health, and environmental justice: The challenge of making cities ‘just green enough’ is a review paper evaluating the global relationship between environmental improvements and inequity. The article concludes green space development’s impact on disenfranchised groups hinges on the goals of the development. Greening that is designed to increase the value of the neighborhood can be problematic, but greening that is “just enough” can accomplish significant health improvements without displacing people.

Wiped Out by the ‘Greenwave’: Environmental Gentrification and the Paradoxical Politics of Urban Sustainability

Author: Checker, Queens College CUNY (2011)
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Wiped Out by the ‘Greenwave’: Environmental Gentrification and the Paradoxical Politics of Urban Sustainability examines how profit driven environmental improvements could exacerbate inequities through ethnography in Harlem, New York. Environmental gentrification can be an issue when pursuing green infrastructure (GI) projects. The author suggests making any changes in land use sensitive to cultural activities and historical context.

Promoting ecosystem and human health in urban areas using Green Infrastructure: A literature review

Author: Tzoulas et al., (2007)
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Promoting ecosystem and human health in urban areas using Green Infrastructure: A literature review formulates a conceptual framework of associations between urban green space, and ecosystem and human health. Through an interdisciplinary literature review the possible contributions of Green Infrastructure on both ecosystem health and human health are critically reviewed. Over a dozen studies are cited that demonstrate human health aspects related to green space and nature. Included definition of ecosystem services and Green Infrastructure which differs from LID definitions of GI in the U.S.

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.

Nature and Health

Author: Hartig et al., (2014)
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This article presents the state of knowledge with regards to human health and well-being from contact with nature. The article includes a discussion of the term “nature,” a review of relevant research including linkages between nature and benefits, and the gaps, challenges, methodological approaches that could be used for future research.

Green Cities: Good Health

Author: University of Washington, U.S. Forest Service, and Urban and Community Forestry (N/A)
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Green Cities: Good Health is an online compilation and synthesis of research related to urban green spaces and human health and well-being. The website includes introductory material, summaries of current research into the numerous benefits of urban green space, future research, and a comprehensive list of references.

The value of public and private green spaces under water restrictions

Author: MacDonald et al., (2010)
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The value of public and private green spaces under water restrictions analyzes the economic impact of outdoor watering restrictions on private and public landscapes. The results show that outdoor watering restrictions do not have an impact on the value of private landscapes, but may have implications for public landscape usage.

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.

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.

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

Author: Simons et al., (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.

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.

Accounting for U.S. ecosystem services at national and subnational scales

Author: Bagstad, Ingram, & Shapiro, John Wesley Powell Center for Analysis and Synthesis (N/A)
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Accounting for U.S. ecosystem services at national and subnational scales is an ongoing project of the John Wesley Powell Center for Analysis and Synthesis to create a natural capital accounting tool within the United States. Natural capital accounting involves the national compilation of data, models, valuation frameworks in order to encourage the protection of natural capital. The project aims to provide quantified and monetized ecosystem services on a national and subnational scale.

Determining the Economic Value of Water: Concepts and Methods

Author: Young & Loomis, (2014)
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Determining the Economic Value of Water: Concepts and Methods provides a comprehensive summary of economic valuation techniques used for water management strategies. The book includes a framework for economic valuation of the primary and secondary benefits of water investments, including improved water quality, enhanced fish habitats, and recreation benefits. Non-market valuation techniques are discussed for the valuation of difficult to quantify public benefits. The book also includes an analysis of the various valuation techniques, examining specific applications, limitations, and advantages of each technique.

Valuing the Environmental Benefits of Urban Water Conservation: Final Report

Author: Coughlin et al., Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, University of California at Berkeley, California Urban Watershed Council (2006)
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Valuing the Environmental Benefits of Urban Water Conservation Final Report presents a method for valuing the environmental benefits of water conservation and efficiency. Water savings of a particular water conservation strategy are represented by the reduction in water demand, as well as the resulting co-benefits, including enhanced fish habitats, increased recreational opportunities, and improved water quality as a result of wetland filtration. The report provides a methodology for monetizing these environmental benefits so as to provide utilities with a method for comparing the benefits and costs of various best management practices.

California Beach Restoration Study Chapter 3: The Benefits of California’s Beaches

Author: California State Parks, Division of Boating and Wildlife (2002)
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California Beach Restoration Study Chapter 3: The Benefits of California’s Beaches is a chapter of a larger report on beach restoration in California. The chapter is divided into five sections, including discussions on 1) how beaches fulfill recreational needs within California, 2) the fiscal impact of beaches in California, 3) the value of beach restoration projects to recreation, 4) a San Diego case study on beach overcrowding, and 5) the public safety and environmental benefits of beaches. This particular chapter focuses on the economic value of beaches and their restoration.

The Economic Impact of Green City, Clean Waters: The First Five Years

Author: Sustainable Business Network (SBN), Green Stormwater Infrastructure Partners, Econsult Solutions (2016)
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The Economic Impact of Green City, Clean Waters: The First Five Years evaluates the economic impact of the Green City, Clean Waters (GCCW) plan in Philadelphia, PA. The Green City, Clean Waters was an initiative of the Philadelphia Water Department to implement more green infrastructure in the city of Philadelphia. The initiative resulted in a multitude of benefits, including boosts in the local economy, increased jobs, improved equity, revived habitats, and overall enhanced aesthetics.

Achieving Resilience through Water Recycling in Peri-Urban Agriculture

Author: Attwater & Derry, (2017)
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Achieving Resilience through Water Recycling in Peri-Urban Agriculture examines water recycling for agricultural use in the peri-urban regions of Western Sydney, Australia. The study provides a qualitative assessment of the benefits associated with agricultural water reuse of treated wastewater and drinking water in the context of the communities larger water system. The benefits identified include enhanced landscape ecology, environmental risk management, water supply reliability, agricultural products and services, reduced wastewater discharges to receiving waters, provision of ecosystem services, community livelihood, social values, and overall enhanced resilience.

Relevance and Benefits of Urban Water Reuse in Tourist Areas

Author: Lazarova, Sturny, & Sang, (2012)
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Relevance and Benefits of Urban Water Reuse in Tourist Areas presents a case study on factors that influenced the implementation of water reuse on the island of Bora Bora, French Polynesia. The study addresses the regulatory and technical challenges to implementation of water reuse systems, as well as provides methods for overcoming these challenges through the Bora Bora case study. The report emphasizes the need for reliability in treatment operations, feasible prices and operation costs, and effective utilization of the co-benefits of water reuse projects.

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.

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.

Sustainable Rivers Project

Author: The Nature Conservancy, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (2011)
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The Sustainable Rivers Project aims to enhance river habitats through modification of dam operations. The report includes eight case studies on sustainable river projects conducted throughout the United States. The benefits of these river preservation strategies include improved water quality, flood protection, enhanced fish habitats, increased tourism and recreation, and improved community livability and aesthetics. The Sustainable Rivers Projects also works to encourage community engagement, particularly by those living on or near the rivers, by providing outreach, workshops, and meetings.

Envision Project Awards Map

Author: Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure (N/A)
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Envision Project Awards map contains interactive case studies of projects from across the globe that have received Envision awards for sustainability. Envision is a comprehensive framework of 60 criteria that encompass the full range of environmental, social, and economic impacts and are used to assess project sustainability. These 60 sustainability criteria, called ‘credits’, are arranged in five categories: Quality of Life, Leadership, Resource Allocation, Natural World, and Climate and Risk.

Vision and GIS Case Studies

Author: The Trust for Public Land (N/A)
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Vision and GIS Case Studies presents sixteen case studies that utilized the Trust for Public Land’s Vision and GIS service. The service employs a ‘greenprinting’ tool that uses innovative research and mapping techniques to design parks, protect open space, and deliver community-driven conservation plans. A ‘greenprint’ provides both a long-term vision for conservation and a physical plan to protect a communities precious public spaces. The Trust for Public Land’s services also help communities develop partnerships, inform policies, and attain funding for land conservation efforts.

Just the FACTS: Dams in California

Author: Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) (2017)
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Just the FACTS: Dams in California highlights several key considerations of dams in California. The considerations include the crucial role of dams in water management in California, the multiple objectives that dams are designed to meet and the conflicts that exist within these objectives, the need for dam infrastructure upgrades, the benefits of new dams, and the reasons to remove old dams. The multiple benefits of dams include supplying water, reducing flood risk, providing energy, and recreation, however, in order to provide these benefits dam operations conflict with several public benefits, including wildlife habitats and recreation.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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’.