92 Multi-Benefit Resources


Wellspring: Source Water Resilience and Climate Adaptation

Author: The Nature Conservancy (2019)
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Wellspring: Source Water Resilience and Climate Adaptation contributes to the evolving discussions connected to source water protection, risk, resilience, and climate change. This report provides a thorough description of literature, tools, and case examples of resilient management of source waters.

Inclusive Urban Ecological Restoration in Toronto, Canada

Author: 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.

Participatory development and the sustainable city: community forestry in Detroit

Author: 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.

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.

Landscape Performance Series

Author: Landscape Architecture Foundation (N/A)
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The Landscape Performance Series is a compilation of case studies, fact sheets, and a Benefits Toolkit, to support sustainable landscape design. It is available for designers, agencies, and advocates to help evaluate performance, show value, and make the case for landscapes.

Water Funds Toolbox

Author: The Nature Conservancy (N/A)
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The Water Fund Toolbox provides a wide variety of resources, case studies, tools, etc. for groups seeking to create or advance the work of a Water Fund. A Water Fund is an organization that designs and enhances financial and governance mechanisms which unite public, private, and civil society stakeholders around a common goal to contribute to water security through nature-based solutions and sustainable water management.

The Untapped Potential of California’s Water Supply: Efficiency, Reuse, and Stormwater – Issue Brief

Author: Pacific Institute, NRDC (2014)
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Increased pressures on California’s water supply, including from population growth and intense periods of drought exacerbated by climate change, are leading to the overuse of surface water and groundwater. But with existing technology and conservation methods, the state can take vital steps to improve its resilience to drought and plan for a more sustainable water future. This issue brief, produced in collaboration with the Natural Resources Defense Council, is a statewide analysis of the potential for improved efficiency in agricultural and urban water use, water reuse and recycling, and increased capturing of local rainwater.

The environmental benefits of water recycling and reuse

Author: Dept. of Public Works and Services, Sydney, Australia (2003)
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The environmental benefits of water recycling and reuse presents on the links between water reuse and sustainable water management through the examination of a variety of case studies from Australia. Some case studies included also quantify the environmental benefits of water reuse.

Neighborhood greenspace and health in a large urban center

Author: (2015)
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This study links tree density in an urban center (Toronto, Canada) to results of a health survey using statistical methods. The findings indicate that more trees improve health perception and health outcomes.

A Northwest Vision for 2040 Water Infrastructure

Author: Center for Sustainable Infrastructure (2017)
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In A Northwest Vision for 2040 Water Infrastructure the Center for Sustainable Infrastructure presents a vision for the future of water management for the Northwestern U.S. The vision describes how Northwest communities can develop integrated, sustainable, and resilient water systems that address water quality, water supply, and flooding. The report is full of qualitative descriptions of the benefits of this more sustainable and equitable vision and provides numerous real-world examples of how and where Northwest communities are already working towards this future.

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

Author: 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.

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

Author: (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.

Multisolving

Author: Climate Interactive (N/A)
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Multisolving is a concept developed by the Climate Interactive that provides an approach for finding systematic solutions that protect the climate while also improving health, equity, and well-being. The concept rests on the foundation that solutions to climate change will not only reduce carbon or sequester greenhouse gases, but will also contribute to attractive and livable communities that are more equitable and just for all. Multisolving is finding solutions that solve multiple problems with a single intervention. The website contains reports, tools, applications, case studies and more.

San Francisco Bay Shoreline Adaptation Atlas

Author: San Francisco Estuary Institute, SPUR (2019)
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The San Francisco Bay Shoreline Adaptation Atlas offers practitioners and decision makers in the region a comprehensive, science-based framework for assessing, planning, and designing sea level rise adaptation strategies. The framework organizes adaptation strategies around geographically connected areas, called Operational Landscape Units (OLUs); these OLUs are explained in depth with specific strategies considered for each within the Atlas’ mapping tool.

Measuring Benefits of Distributed, Nature-Based Stormwater Projects

Author: The River Project (2018)
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Measuring Benefits of Distributed, Nature-Based Stormwater Projects explores a variety of factors relevant to the assessment of distributed, nature-based stormwater projects. This report provides a useful discussion around definitions of terms, typology, scale, and other important factors related to the comparison of green, grey, and green/grey infrastructure.

Biodiverse perennial meadows have aesthetic value and increase residents’ perceptions of site quality in urban green-space

Author: (2017)
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Researches used photos and as well as actual urban green spaces converted to meadows to evaluate perceptions of visitors to these spaces in southern England. Perennial meadows increased perceived quality and appreciation of urban green space, with visitors showing a higher preference for meadows with higher plant and structural diversity.

Moving Toward a Multiple Benefits Approach for Water Management

Author: (2019)
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The Pacific Institute’s report, Moving Toward a Multiple Benefits Approach for Water Management, proposes a framework for systematically identifying and incorporating the multiple benefits and trade-offs of water management strategies into decision-making processes. The framework can help users broaden support for a policy or project; identify opportunities to share costs among project beneficiaries; minimize adverse and unintended consequences; optimize the investment of time, money, and other resources; and increase transparency associated with water management decisions.

Natural Infrastructure in the Nexus

Author: IUCN, International Water Association, World Resources Institute (2015)
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This paper discusses how natural infrastructure, the networks of land and water that provide services to people, can help decision makers and infrastructure managers address interconnected challenges facing water, energy, and food systems, often referred to as the “nexus.” The paper examines reasons and ways to include natural infrastructure in this nexus, challenges that have prevented increased investment in natural infrastructure, and recommendations for moving forward.

Nature and Health

Author: (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.

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.

Health Lands and Healthy Economies website

Author: Sonoma County Ag + Open Space (N/A)
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This is the landing page for Sonoma County Ag + Open Space Health Lands & Healthy Economies program. This website includes links to many resources on multi-benefit valuation of agricultural and natural lands.

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.

Urban Nature for Human Health and Well-Being

Author: USDA (2018)
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Urban Nature for Human Health and Well-Being summarizes the most recent research on connections between human health and natural urban spaces and features. This paper presents new and ongoing studies that seek to address the quantitative and qualitative impacts of green spaces on human mental, emotional, and physical well-being.

The Green Edge: How Commercial Property Investment in Green Infrastructure Creates Value

Author: NRDC (2013)
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This report explores the range of economic benefits that accrue to commercial property owners (including owners of multifamily residential buildings) when they install green infrastructure on their property to improve stormwater management.

From comparative risk assessment to multi-criteria decision analysis and adaptive management: Recent developments and applications

Author: (2006)
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From comparative risk assessment to multi-criteria decision analysis and adaptive management: Recent developments and applications provides a summary of regulatory frameworks in the United State and Europe. The paper also proposes a new decision-making framework that combines multi-criteria decision analysis (MCDA) with adaptive management strategies and significant stakeholder engagement. The report includes an application of the framework to a sediment restoration project in the New York/New Jersey Harbor.

Combining multi-attribute utility and geographic information for boundary decisions: An application to park planning

Author: (1997)
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Combining multi-attribute utility and geographic information for boundary decisions: An application to park planning provides a framework for inclusion of various objectives when determining park boundaries. The framework combines multi-attribute utility functions with spatial analysis in order to determine park boundaries that satisfy various stakeholders’ goals and objectives. The tool outputs multiple park boundary scenarios, allowing the user to evaluate the alternatives and select the best option.

Climate information? Embedding climate futures within temporalities of California water management

Author: (2018)
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Climate information? Embedding climate futures within temporalities of California water management analyzes the use of climate change information in water resources management decisions in California. The information was obtained by conducting interviews (n=61) with drinking water utility managers in California, analyzing three different methodologies for incorporation of climate change information: 1) modeled futures, 2) whose future?, and 3) truncated futures. The interviews revealed that ‘modeled futures’ most closely aligned with supply-demand projections in widely-accepted literature.

Progress Toward Establishing a National Assessment of Water Availability and Use

Author: U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) (2013)
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Progress Toward Establishing a National Assessment of Water Availability and Use discusses the need for a National Water Census within the United States. The goal of the Water Census would be to provide a comprehensive database that would inform managers and decision-makers on the water availability and water quality in the nation. The report illustrates the framework through various regional and national applications. The report also asserts that in order for a Water Census to be successful, there must be sufficient collaboration between organizations and agencies.

Multi-criteria decision analysis in environmental sciences: Ten years of applications and trends

Author: (2011)
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Multi-criteria decision analysis in environmental sciences: Ten years of applications and trends examines the use of multi-criteria decision analysis (MCDA) for environmental applications within the past decade. The literature review revealed that there has been significant growth in MCDA application within environmental practices. The review also found parallels between applications of MCDA across similar projects, suggesting that MCDA has been applied consistently within cases reviewed.

Achieving Resilience through Water Recycling in Peri-Urban Agriculture

Author: (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.

Policy and Economics of Managed Aquifer Recharge and Water Banking

Author: (2015)
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Policy and Economics of Managed Aquifer Recharge and Water Banking provides a summary of a series of papers on managed aquifer recharge (MAR) programs with excess surface water and recycled water. The paper argues that several limitations to implementation of MAR programs exist, including a deficiency in policies and government frameworks that support MAR programs, as well as limited economic analyses on MAR’s programs. The goal of this summary report is to fill these regulatory and economic gaps so as to encourage MAR program development and implementation.

Firewater Storage, Treatment, Recycling and Management: New Perspectives Based on Experiences from the United Kingdom

Author: (2014)
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Firewater Storage, Treatment, Recycling and Management: New Perspectives Based on Experiences from the United Kingdom is a literature review examining firewater management and recycling best practices in the United Kingdom. The literature review revealed that limited research is available on this subject and that development of decision support tools are needed to evaluate consumption rates, capacity, water quality, and pump requirements. A particular article suggested the need for further research into on-site treatment methods, such as mobile and compact filtration units.

Relevance and Benefits of Urban Water Reuse in Tourist Areas

Author: (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.

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.

An Analysis of the Energy Intensity of Water in California: Providing a Basis for Quantification of Energy Savings from Water System Improvements

Author: (2006)
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An Analysis of the Energy Intensity of Water in California: Providing a Basis for Quantification of Energy Savings from Water System Improvements analyzes water-related energy use in California. The report examines energy inputs to water systems for: 1) primary water extraction, conveyance, and storage, 2) treatment and distribution within service areas, 3) on-site water pumping, treatment, and thermal inputs, and 4) wastewater collection, treatment, and discharge. The report concludes that “with better information regarding the energy implications of water use, public policy and combined investment and management strategies between energy, water, and wastewater agencies and utilities can be improved.” The benefits cited for these energy savings include avoided capital and operating costs, reduced burden on rate-payers, improved distribution of capital, and environmental benefits.

One Water Roadmap: The Sustainable Management of Life’s Most Essential Resource

Author: US Water Alliance (2016)
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One Water Roadmap: The Sustainable Management of Life’s Most Essential Resource provides a comprehensive “One Water” framework for the United States. The report is divided into three sections: 1) a discussion on the current landscape of water issues, 2) a discussion of the vision and foundational features of the One Water approach, and 3) a discussion of current successes in utilizing the One Water approach and further improvements. The qualitative framework encompasses a broad range of management strategies and provides guidance for all sectors.

Impacts of desalination plant discharges on the marine environment: A critical review of published studies

Author: (2010)
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Impacts of desalination plant discharges on the marine environment: A critical review of published studies provides a qualitative review of the environmental impacts of desalination plants across the globe. The literature review revealed that the most detrimental environmental impacts have resulted from older multi-stage flash (MSF) plants as a result of the large amounts of discharge with little flushing. The negative environmental impacts cited include increased water salinity and temperatures, as well as the deposition of hydrocarbons, metals, and toxic compounds. The literature review also revealed that selected discharge location directly influenced the severity of environmental impacts.

City Resilience Framework

Author: The Rockefeller Foundation, Arup International Development (2015)
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City Resilience Framework provides a framework for analyzing the sustainability of a city. The framework identifies seven qualities of resilient cities (reflective, robust, redundant, flexible, resourceful, inclusive, and integrated) as well as four dimensions of resilient cities: health & wellbeing; economy & society; infrastructure & environment; and leadership & strategy. The report applies the City Resilience Framework to six cities across the globe, where the resiliency of each city was qualitatively analyzed following the four resiliency dimensions.

Water Reuse Project in Virginia Providing Multiple Benefits

Author: U.S. EPA (2015)
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Water Reuse Project in Virginia Providing Multiple Benefits provides an example of an effective water reuse project implemented in the Chesapeake Bay. Historically, treated wastewater in the region was discharged into Chesapeake Bay, the water reuse project redirected this water for beneficial uses such as cooling a waste-to-energy plant and irrigating a ball field and a golf course. The benefits produced by this innovative water reuse project include potable water conservation, reductions in phosphorus and nitrogen pollution, and discounts on water bills.

OneWaterSF

Author: San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) (2018)
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OneWaterSF is an integrated systems approach adopted by the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) that aims to provide greater water and energy resource reliability and resiliency, water infrastructure optimization, and contributions to the livability and sustainability of San Francisco and the surrounding Bay Area.The source contains examples of OneWaterSF programs in San Francisco, including a Water Reuse Program, a Resource Recovery and Solar Energy Program, a Stormwater Management Ordinance, and Westside Recycled Water Project and San Francisco Groundwater Project. The benefits cited in these projects and programs include water and energy savings, stormwater management, restoration of watersheds and ecosystems, improvements to community aesthetics, and increased educational opportunities.

What’s getting in the way of a “One Water” approach to water services planning and management?

Author: (2014)
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What’s Getting in the way of ‘One Water’ approach to water services planning and management? presents findings of research on the barriers and challenges encountered by water agencies and institutions on adopting a ‘One Water’ approach to water services planning and management. It categorizes the drivers and challenges into three groups: the “push of the present,” the “pull of the future,” and the “weight of the past.” Five key areas that presented challenges were identified through a literature review; these included legislation and regulations, economics and finance, planning and collaboration, culture and capacity, and citizen engagement.

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.

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.

Green Remediation: Incorporating Sustainable Environmental Practices into Remediation of Contaminated Sites

Author: U.S. EPA Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response (2008)
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Green Remediation: Incorporating Sustainable Environmental Practices into Remediation of Contaminated Sites contains fourteen case studies conducted throughout the United States that incorporated sustainable environmental practices into remediation of contaminated sites. The report names this strategy ‘green remediation’ and defines it as, “the practice of considering all environmental effects of remedy implementation and incorporating options to maximize net environmental benefit of cleanup actions”. The case studies provide examples of how green remediation strategies can increase the net benefit of cleanup, provide project cost savings, and expand the universe of long-term property use or reuse options without compromising cleanup goals.

Institutional Issues for Integrated One Water Management Snapshot Case Studies

Author: Water Research Foundation (WRF), Water Environment Research Foundation (WERF), Water Research Australia (2015)
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Institutional Issues for Integrated One Water Management Snapshot Case Studies provides twenty-five case studies that provide practical examples of how agencies and communities worked through institutional barriers. The institutional barriers identified in the report fall under the following categories: 1) planning and partnerships, 2) legislation and regulation, 3) economics and finance, 4) culture, knowledge, and capacity, and 5) citizen and stakeholder engagement. The goal of this report is to provide solutions to these barriers so that communities, organizations, and governments can practice a more integrated and sustainable approach to water resource management.

Agricultural Water Conservation and Efficiency Potential in California

Author: NRDC, Pacific Institute (2014)
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Agricultural Water Conservation and Efficiency Potential in California outlines the benefits of improving agricultural efficiency in California. The benefits cited include reduced consumptive use, improved water quality and instream flow, energy savings, increased yields, improved crop quality, reduced fertilizer, water, and energy costs, improved reliability of existing supplies, management flexibility, improved downstream water quality, and enhanced recreation.