Green infrastructure, stormwater management to be focus of major NJ forum

EPA and Rutgers University Cooperative Extension are co-sponsoring the NJ Green Infrastructure Forum on July 31 in Hillsborough, NJ.

NEW YORK, NY, July 19, 2013 -- The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Rutgers University Cooperative Extension are co-sponsoring the New Jersey Green Infrastructure Forum on July 31 at Duke Farms in Hillsborough, N.J. to highlight the importance of using green infrastructure to manage stormwater, enhance wastewater treatment and better withstand storms like Hurricane Sandy.

The forum includes remarks from the EPA's Regional Administrator, Judith A. Enck and Donna Drewes, the Co-Director of Sustainable Jersey and an address from Rutgers University Dean Robert Goodman. It will also include expert panel discussions featuring representatives from government agencies and key community groups. Experts at the conference will speak about practical issues such as how to finance projects and how to choose the best projects for a particular community.

"Green infrastructure makes both fiscal and environmental sense, especially given that communities need to start adapting to the growing effects of climate change," said Regional Administrator Judith A. Enck. “By learning how to implement the strategies that will be discussed at the New Jersey Green Infrastructure Forum, cities and towns throughout the state can greatly improve the way they manage stormwater and protect themselves against the more frequent and severe storms we are unfortunately likely to experience in the future."

Green infrastructure is an environmentally friendly technique to manage stormwater. It uses vegetation, soils, and natural processes to manage water and create healthier, more resilient urban environments. This type of infrastructure replaces more traditional concrete, or "gray," solutions. Green infrastructure, which includes green roofs, permeable pavement and other surfaces, rain gardens and restored wetlands, mimics nature by soaking up and storing water. The benefits of green infrastructure go beyond handling storm water. By reducing the polluted runoff that flows into rivers and streams, green infrastructure practices play a critical role in protecting water quality. Because many techniques involve the use of trees and other vegetation, green infrastructure improves air quality. It can also often lower energy costs by helping to keep buildings and sidewalks cool. Green infrastructure also plays a crucial role in making communities and facilities more resistant to storm damage. In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, the development of green infrastructure has become especially important for communities in New Jersey that are vulnerable to storm surge and flooding.

Discussions at the New Jersey Green Infrastructure Forum include:

1. How to fund Green Infrastructure projects

2. How to create or enhance Green Infrastructure

3. A discussion of New Jersey municipalities’ needs in terms of storm water management and green infrastructure

4. How to incorporate environmental justice concerns and other community needs into green infrastructure plans

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