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

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CSE Asks Sally Jewell to Uphold Ban on Alaska Road

Despite a decision by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to recommend the “no action” alternative for an unnecessary and ecologically damaging road through the Izembek Wilderness, pressure from Alaska’s congressional delegation has forced the Department of Interior to reconsider. As part of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) review ... Read More
Front Range Green vs. Gray Analysis

Front Range Green vs. Gray Analysis

Center for Sustainable Economy (CSE) and World Resources Institute (WRI) have partnered with the Center for Collaborative Conservation at Colorado State University to investigate the potential cost savings associated with investments in green infrastructure solutions to water quality issues in the Cache la Poudre and Big Thompson Watersheds of Colorado’s ... Read More
Fire and Water in Colorado's Front Range

Fire and Water in Colorado’s Front Range

Colorado’s Front Range is no stranger to the dramatic interplay of fire and floods. Over the past five years, the region has seen several destructive forest fires with huge economic losses such as Waldo Canyon ($453.7 million), Black Forest ($292.8 million), Fourmile Canyon ($217 million), and High Park ($113.7 million) ... Read More

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