Illinois EPA Seeking Comments About the State Green Infrastructure Plan

The Illinois EPA is seeking public comment by Wednesday, February 24, 2010 on the development of a Stormwater Green Infrastructure Plan for the State of Illinois, as required by the Green Infrastructure for Clean Water Act, passed in 2009.

Green Infrastructure is the interconnected network of open spaces and natural areas that naturally recharges aquifers, improves water quality and quantity, and provides recreational opportunities and wildlife habitat. Green infrastructure manages stormwater by capturing raindrops where they fall. CNT encourages reuse of natural moisture by using rain gardens, swales, green roofs, tree planting, permeable pavement and other low impact approaches to restore natural drainage functions and recycle stormwater in urban environments.

Green infrastructure has proven to be cost effective in managing stormwater, as compared with conventional “hardscape” stormwater systems, and so can save municipalities money at a time when budgets are tight. In addition, green infrastructure provides many other benefits that conventional systems do not, such as improved water quality, air quality and aesthetics, increased groundwater recharge, reduced energy use and cost, and increased land values, to name a few.

CNT is working with the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) and others to study potential green infrastructure policies and regulations that will help Illinois communities realize the multiple economic, social and aesthetic benefits of green infrastructure. The study will culminate in a report with recommendations to the Illinois Legislature in June. IEPA has posted information on its website about the study and the development of the Green Infrastructure Plan.