Green Infrastructure (GI) is our Nation’s natural life support system - a strategically planned and managed interconnected network of green spaces including: conserved natural areas and features, such as, wetlands, woodlands, waterways and wildlife habitats; public and private conservation areas, such as nature preserves, landscape linkages, wildlife corridors, and wilderness areas; private working lands of conservation value, such as forests, farms, and ranches; and other protected open spaces, such as greenways and parks. Green infrastructure supports native species, maintains natural ecological processes, sustains air and water resources and contributes to the health and quality of life for America’s communities and people. The term "green infrastructure" invokes images of planned networks of green spaces that benefit wildlife and people and link urban settings to suburban and rural ones. Just as growing communities need to plan for, upgrade and expand their gray infrastructure (i.e. roads, sewers and utilities) so too they need to plan for, upgrade and expand their green infrastructure. Green infrastructure is "open space with a purpose" that, like other infrastructure, should be an integral part of government budgets and management programs.
The University of Maryland EFC is working with several other centers in the EFC Network to deliver capacity building technical assistance to recipients of HUD-EPA-DOT Sustainable Community Partnership Grants. The assistance focuses on water and green infrastructure needs and has taken the form of large-scale workshops, community-specific “office hours” sessions, and development of a clearing house of additional outside resources.
The EFC is partnering with the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay and American Rivers on a multi-faceted effort, led by the Alliance, to build a green infrastructure program and create sustainable stormwater solutions across all 13 MS4s in Blair County. The effort will include both planning and implementation projects to help Blair County move forward in meeting water quality improvement goals and develop a sustainable, long-term regional program.