Green Infrastructure

PROGRAM OVERVIEW

Investments in so called “green” infrastructure solutions such as wetland restoration or agricultural best management practices are increasingly recognized as cost effective ways to achieve environmental quality outcomes relative to investments in “gray” infrastructure such as wastewater treatment or water filtration plants. For example, the Center for Neighborhood Technology asserts “[t]he research shows that green infrastructure measures are as effective as conventional approaches in relieving flooding, and can be installed more cheaply and quickly.” Moreover, green infrastructure is considered a lasting source of ecosystem service benefits for communities that appreciates rather than depreciates over time.

greeninfrastructure1CSE and other partners have pioneered an analytical technique for quantifying the economic and financial tradeoffs between green and gray infrastructure in three decision-making contexts: (1) disaster risk reduction; (2) regulatory compliance, and (3) infrastructure investment. This technique – green vs. gray analysis (GGA) – extends conventional public infrastructure analysis models used to evaluate the cost effectiveness of technological solutions like new reservoirs by factoring the unique role wetlands, forests, riparian zones and other green infrastructure elements can play in enhancing water quality and flow or achieving other environmental objectives. GGA is used to determine whether investing in these green infrastructure options is a more cost-effective approach.

PROGRAM NEWS AND UPDATES

Fossil Fuel Industry Concedes Defeat in Portland Infrastructure Case

Fossil Fuel Industry Concedes Defeat in Portland Infrastructure Case

Last week, climate activists cheered the news that the Western States Petroleum Association declined to pursue an appeal of Portland’s Fossil Fuel Terminal Zoning Amendments to the United States Supreme Court. After losing Dormant Commerce Clause challenges at the Oregon Court of Appeals (January, 2018) and Oregon Supreme Court (July, ... Read More
The Portland Model for Climate and Energy Action

The Portland Model for Climate and Energy Action

Any lingering doubt about whether Portlanders were ready to vote for strong climate and energy action was extinguished on election night when the Portland Clean Energy Initiative (PCEI) garnered a 63% ‘yes’ vote. This grassroots designed and driven measure taxes large retailers to fund clean energy initiatives, energy efficiency, workforce ... Read More
Pay for Performance: Maximizing the Impact of BMP Investments

Pay for Performance: Maximizing the Impact of BMP Investments

Agricultural best management practices (BMPs) such as streamside buffer zones and cover crops are increasingly being used to reduce nutrient pollution from fertilizers into water bodies. Eutrophication from fertilizer runoff is the key driver behind growth of hypoxic “dead zones” where fish production comes to a standstill. The extent of ... Read More

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