Green Infrastructure


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.


Baltimore’s Stormwater Management Plan Will Generate Significant Social and Economic Returns

Baltimore’s Stormwater Management Plan Will Generate Significant Social and Economic Returns

In December 2014 the City of Baltimore released an ambitious management plan for reducing stormwater pollution from nearly 24,000 acres of pavement within City limits. Nitrogen, phosphorous, and sediments contained in this stormwater are responsible for recurring hypoxic “dead zones” in the Chesapeake Bay devoid of fish, crabs, and other ... Read More
Victory for Alaska’s Wilderness

Victory for Alaska’s Wilderness

In February of 2013, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service released its Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for a proposed land exchange and road in Alaska’s Izembek National Wildlife Refuge and selected the alternative of “no action” as CSE, The Wilderness Society, and others argued for. The decision represented a ... Read More
Maryland's Purple Line

Maryland’s Purple Line

In the Maryland suburbs of Washington DC, the Federal Transit Administration has proposed 16-mile east-west Light Rail Transit (LRT) line extending inside the Capital Beltway from New Carrollton in Prince George’s County to Bethesda in Montgomery County. The project will be built above ground, and result in a wide range ... Read More