32 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.