Local Green Stormwater Infrastructure projects

See below to learn about different types of green stormwater infrastructure and examples of where they are implemented locally and nationally.  Also, check out our Green Stormwater Infrastructure Bicycle Tour!  It highlights local examples of stormwater friendly projects near the regional trails system.

Rainwater Harvesting

Rainwater harvesting systems collect and store rainfall for later use.  When designed appropriately, they slow and reduce runoff and provide a source of water.  A rain barrel collecting roof runoff is an example of rainwater harvesting and is a cost-effective, low maintenance form of GSI that can be adopted at a home, business, or community building.  Rain barrels capture and store would-be runoff, keeping it out of the storm sewer system and providing source of water for yards and gardens.

Interested in adding a rain barrel to your property?  Check out the following resources:

A rain barrel collecting roof runoff

Rain Gardens

Rain gardens are versatile features that can be installed in almost any unpaved space. Also known as bioretention, or bioinfiltration, cells, they are shallow, vegetated basins that collect and absorb runoff from rooftops, sidewalks, and streets. This practice mimics natural hydrology by infiltrating, and evaporating and transpiring—or “evapotranspiring”—stormwater runoff. 

A 1 inch rain event produces 623 gallons of runoff on a 1,000 sq. ft. roof.  A rain garden equipped with deep rooted native plants can absorb, infiltrate, and filter this runoff that may otherwise carry pollutants into storm drains and discharge into rivers and streams.  They are a low maintenance (and beautiful) wet weather solution!

Local Example: Towar Gardens-Ingham County Drain Commission

 

Build your own: 

Local Resources:

An example of a rain garden at the residential level

Planter Boxes and Curb Cuts

Planter boxes receive runoff from multiple impervious surfaces, including rooftops, sidewalks and parking lots.   Curb cuts refer to gaps in streets, median, and sidewalk curbs that allow runoff to collect in a vegetated area.  Plants, soils, and gravel capture and infiltrate water before it can enter the storm drain.

Local Examples:

 

  • Michigan Avenue Streetscape Biorention

  • "Grand Rapids Sets Out Their Standard For Controlling the 'First Flush'"

A curb cut to allow water to infiltrate into the ground

Bioswales

Rainwater harvesting systems collect and store rainfall for later use.  When designed appropriately, they slow and reduce runoff and provide a source of water.  A rain barrel collecting roof runoff is an example of rainwater harvesting and is a cost-effective, low maintenance form of GSI that can be adopted at a home, business, or community building.  Rain barrels capture and store would-be runoff, keeping it out of the storm sewer system and providing source of water for yards and gardens.

Interested in adding a rain barrel to your property?  Check out the following resources:

Diagram of a Bioswale

Permeable Pavements

Permeable pavements infiltrate, treat, and/or store rainwater where it falls.  They can be made of pervious concrete, porous asphalt, or permeable interlocking pavers.  This practice could be particularly cost effective where land values are high and flooding or icing is a problem.  They can be implemented at the residential or commercial scale. 

Local Example: Porous Asphalt on Michigan State University's Campus

Pervious pavement at MSU's IM-West

Green Roofs

Green Roofs are covered with growing media and vegetation that enable rainfall infiltration and evapotranspiration of stored water.  They are particularly cost-effective in dense urban areas where land values are high and on large industrial or office buildings where stormwater management costs are likely to be high.  They can improve stormwater management by reducing runoff and improving water quality, conserve energy, mitigate the urban heat island, increase longevity of roofing membranes, reduce noise and air pollution, sequester carbon, increase urban biodiversity by providing habitat for wildlife, provide space for urban agriculture, provide a more aesthetically pleasing and healthy environment to work and live, and improve return on investment compared to traditional roofs.

Local Examples:

 

  • "Green Roof Opens on $7.7 Million East Lansing Development"

  • Green Roof at Jackson Life Insurance Lansing Campus

Additional Resources: 

 

  • Green Roof Research-Michigan State University

Green Roof at the Jackson National Life Insurance campus in Lansing

Urban Tree Canopy

Trees reduce and slow stormwater by intercepting precipitation in their leaves and branches.  Many cities have set tree canopy goals to restore some of the benefits of trees that were lost when areas were developed.  Homeowners, businesses, and community groups can participate in planting and maintaining trees throughout the urban environment.  Trees also absorb runoff with their roots.

Local Resources: 

Land Conservation

The water quality and flooding impacts of urban stormwater also can be addressed by protecting open spaces and sensitive natural areas within and adjacent to a city while providing recreational opportunities for city residents.  Natural areas that shoud be a focus of this effort include riparian areas, wetlands, and steep hillsides. ​

Local Resources: 

  • Greening Mid-Michigan

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The GLRC is supported by the Tri-County Regional Planning Commission
3135 Pine Tree Rd. Suite 2C, Lansing, MI 48911