In light of the devastation from Hurricanes Harvey and Irma during this particularly destructive hurricane season, we would like to share our recently updated toolkit with you that explains how best to proactively manage flooding and stormwater.

Cities and regions nationwide continue to struggle to meet the challenges associated with stormwater management, such as costly flooding and poor water quality.

Through the use of our toolkit, municipal managers and decision-makers can begin implementing green infrastructure in their communities. These tools provide communities with the resources needed to rethink the purpose of streets and open spaces for stormwater management. The toolkit features practical tools that can be scaled to sites across a wide geography, but are particularly well-suited to the Midwestern climate.

Kathy Evans, Program Manager at West Michigan Regional Shoreline Development Commission, used information from the toolkit in the Commission’s Stormwater Management Plan, which was submitted to West Michigan Shoreline Regional Development Commission & Muskegon Lake Watershed Partnership in late August.

“Using Delta’s Green Infrastructure toolkit, we estimated the cost of some of the conceptual green infrastructure Best Management Practices. We compared pricing with the estimated costs provided in the toolkit and found that they were consistent with the costs for similar products in West Michigan.”


What is Green Infrastructure?

Green infrastructure is a management technique that takes advantage of natural processes that allow water to infiltrate soil while minimizing discharge into nearby waterways.

Community Barriers

Effective management of stormwater and flooding is a priority of many municipalities. However, municipalities often face barriers to green infrastructure implementation, such as the lack of capacity and technical expertise, and constrained human and financial resources.

Stormwater Management

Stormwater management is paramount to the design and function of any human development. The natural water cycle allows for the infiltration of stormwater into the ground and for the absorption of water by plant roots and leaves (evapotranspiration).

Impervious surfaces from pavement and buildings fulfill our need for shelter and commerce, but they also eliminate opportunities for infiltration and natural plant processes. This causes more rainfall to flow from impervious surfaces, and the increased rainfall runoff causes flooding and accelerates erosion. Rainfall runoff also collects pollutants as it flows over impervious surfaces, causing increased water quality issues.

To avoid flooding, precipitation must be redirected from impermeable surfaces, which is often achieved using a “gray infrastructure” approach which uses gutters and underground pipe networks that discharge to local sewers or water bodies.



The toolkit features:

  • Design templates, which provide technical drawings, construction notes, and cost
  • Maintenance information for five different types of green infrastructure:
    • Rain gardens
    • Stormwater planters
    • Permeable pavement
    • Underground storage
    • Bioswales (sloped landscaping that helps capture and filter stormwater)
    • Green roof
    • Box tree filter
  • Decision-making rubric that helps municipal managers and decision-makers start the process of implementing green infrastructure in their community

Access the toolkit here: 

Green Infrastructure Designs: Scalable Solutions to Local Challenges

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