The Center for Neighborhood Technology has developed a green infrastructure portfolio standard (GIPS) as a way for communities to cost effectively scale up green infrastructure in developed urban areas to substantially reduce the volume of storm water runoff and pollutants that enter the sewer system. Green infrastructure-managing stormwater on-site with plants, trees, and grasses-provides a suite of cost-effective ecological and quality of life benefits not associated with conventional stormwater infrastructure. Working in areas with water quality or flooding problems, the GIPS program incorporates green infrastructure features in selected public and private projects to slowly but steadily reduce the stormwater that enters the sewer system over a period of several years.

This guide provides a framework for the long term and predictable implementation of green infrastructure. The concepts were developed around actual on-the-ground work done in Grand Rapids, MI and Milwaukee, WI.  The guide begins with an introduction to GIPS; then describes the GIPS planning process from developing long-term measureable goals to monitoring implementation of a project and identifying new projects; and finally includes local policy recommendations that align with GIPS goals.

The report was a joint effort by American RiversThe Center for Neighborhood Technology (CNT); and The Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative.  CNT has been a leader in promoting more livable and sustainable urban communities. The organization is an “innovations center for urban sustainability,” primarily focusing on three activities: researching urban problems to build knowledge through tools and activities that change how residents, policymakers, and market actors respond to urban sustainability issues; building coalitions to advocate for public policies that can help address these issues; and designing, developing, and operating economic development demonstration projects to address urban sustainability in innovative ways.  American Rivers is the leading organization working to protect and restore the nation’s rivers and streams. The Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative is a bi-national coalition of mayors and other local officials that works actively with federal, state, and provincial governments to advance the protection and restoration of the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence River.