Water Quality and Land Development
When we replace our natural systems with urban growth, we lose important regulating ecosystem services, such as clean air, carbon storage in trees and soils, water quality through natural system purification, flood control and cooler temperatures that nature provides us for free. In fact, it's a problem in urban areas world-wide. This summarizing quote from the 2005 United Nations Millennium Ecosystem Assessment states:
"Human activity is putting such strain on the natural functions of the earth that the ability of the planet's ecosystems to sustain future generations can no longer be taken for granted."
The bottom line is…we can’t continue on the same path that we’ve been on and protect our children's and grandchildren’s futures. We must integrate sustainable practices into our culture.
Traditionally, cities have used gray infrastructure (stormwater inlets and pipes) to control and efficiently move water runoff away from properties. This helps to prevent flooding and control water quantity, but moving forward we have to not only move the water but slow it down to reduce erosion and clean it as it moves through the system toward streams.
Check out how other cities are using green infrastructure.
Reports from Greening America's Capitals Projects
Ecosystem Services are what nature provides us for free.
Large urban areas such as Philadelphia, Portland, Arlington,Washington, DC., New York are all using green infrastructure to take the place of adding new gray infrastructure, to help with excess stormwater flow on gray infrastructure and to CLEAN stormwater before it reaches surface waters.
The form that new development and redevelopment projects take will have a profound effect on our planet’s ecology and resource use for many generations to come. Vision 2001-2020 Plan.
The City of Roanoke is working on integrating sustainability and environmental protection into daily city activities. View the city's
You can help protect ecosystem services and clean your local stream and save money by integrating green infrastructure techniques on your property. View the Roanoke Stormwater Ideabook. More details can be found here for residential properties and here for commercial properties.