A number of federal agencies are advocating for stormwater management through the use of low impact development, sustainability and/or green infrastructure and have begun incorporating it into their regulatory guidance. We've included a list of organizations with a brief overview and links for your reference.
Environmental Protection Agency
FEDERAL TRANSIT ADMINISTRATION
MAP 21 - Capital Investment Program
In September 2015, the Federal Transit Administration announced that nearly $20 million in grants were awarded to transportation agencies, cities and regional governments around the U.S. The pilot program is meant to encourage residential and commercial transit-oriented development in order to maximize investments and bolster ridership for new lines. The Capital Investment Grant program is a discretionary grant program unlike most others in government. Instead of an annual call for applications and selection of awardees by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), the law requires that projects seeking CIG funding complete a series of steps over several years to be eligible for funding.
GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE COLLABORATIVE
On October 8, 2013, EPA’s Green Infrastructure Program and the White House Council on Environmental Quality launched a broad collaborative of external stakeholders to advance green infrastructure implementation. The Green Infrastructure Collaborative will leverage efforts from the federal family, non-governmental organizations, the private sector and academia to advance green infrastructure as a means of supporting water quality and community development goals. As part of the announcement, EPA released a Statement of Support outlining specific commitments from Collaborative members to advance cooperation and coordination around green infrastructure initiatives.
The Collaborative will build capacity for green infrastructure by providing a platform for national stakeholders to:
- Leverage joint efforts to promote the multiple community benefits of green infrastructure;
- Share and build knowledge around emerging green infrastructure technologies and policy issues; and
- Facilitate shared inquiry into the best ways to encourage adoption of green infrastructure technologies at the local level.
The Green Infrastructure Collaborative consists of more than 20 organizations committed to advancing the adoption of green infrastructure as a means of supporting water quality and community development goals. This broad group of signatories includes academia, non-governmental organizations, and the private sector including the American Society of Civil Engineers, the National Resources Defense Council, the Center for Neighborhood Technology, University of New Hampshire Stormwater Center, the American Society of Landscape Architects, and the Low Impact Development Center.
The Collaborative will build on the Green Infrastructure Partnership launched in 2007 by EPA and its founding partner organizations.
For more information on the Collaborative, visit: http://water.epa.gov/infrastructure/greeninfrastructure/gi_partners.cfm
White House fact sheet: http://www.whitehouse.gov/administration/eop/ceq/Press_Releases/October_8_2014
Federal Highway Administration
Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) Guidance
The Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) was authorized under Section 1122 of Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) and is codified at 23 U.S.C. sections 213(b), and 101(a)(29). Section 1122 provides for the reservation of funds apportioned to a State under section 104(b) of title 23 to carry out the TAP. The national total reserved for the TAP is equal to 2 percent of the total amount authorized from the Highway Account of the Highway Trust Fund for Federal-aid highways each fiscal year. (23 U.S.C. 213(a)).
The TAP provides funding for programs and projects defined as transportation alternatives, including on- and off-road pedestrian and bicycle facilities, infrastructure projects for improving non-driver access to public transportation and enhanced mobility, community improvement activities, and environmental mitigation; recreational trail program projects; safe routes to school projects; and projects for planning, designing, or constructing boulevards and other roadways largely in the right-of-way of former Interstate System routes or other divided highways.
INVEST, the FHWA Sustainable Highways Self-Evaluation Tool
INVEST (Infrastructure Voluntary Evaluation Sustainability Tool) was developed by FHWA as a practical, web-based, collection of voluntary best practices, called criteria, designed to help transportation agencies integrate sustainability into their programs (policies, processes, procedures and practices) and projects. While the use of INVEST is voluntary, it can be used by transportation agencies, such as DOTs, MPOs, Council of Governments, public works departments, and their consultants and partners, to evaluate and aid the integration of sustainability into their programs and projects.
INVEST considers the full life cycle of projects and has three modules to self-evaluate the entire life cycle of transportation services, including System Planning (SP), Project Development (PD), and Operations and Maintenance (OM). Each of these modules is based on a separate collection of criteria and can be evaluated separately.
U.S. General Services Administration
GSA and Sustainable Design
In January 2006, 19 federal agencies signed a Memorandum of Understanding for Federal Leadership in High Performance and Sustainable Buildings committing to "federal leadership in the design, construction, and operation of High-Performance Sustainable Buildings. Termed the "Guiding Principles," it charged agencies with implementing building design and operation strategies that provide optimal performance and maximize life-cycle asset value.
GSA is committed to incorporating principles of sustainable design and energy efficiency into all of its building projects. The result is an optimal balance of cost, environmental, societal and human benefits while meeting the mission and function of the intended facility. It is GSA's intent that sustainable design will be integrated as seamlessly as possible into the existing design and construction process.
Natural Resources Conservation Service
National Water Management Center
The National Water Management Center (NWMC) serves as a focal point for water resources information exchange. It is a production support center for NRCS helping to address water resource problems across the nation by providing leadership, direct assistance, information, and technology for natural resources conservation. The NWMC also provides expertise in and guidance with the application of water resource technologies to assess watershed health and plan watershed-scale solutions.
Technical Soil Services Handbook - Operational and procedural policy and guidance for technical soil services within NRCS.
National Soil Survey Handbook - Policy, definitions, and procedures for conducting soil survey.
Soil Survey Manual - Major principles and practices for soil surveys.
Urban Waters Federal Partnership
The Urban Waters Federal Partnership is an innovative union of thirteen federal agencies that is improving coordination among federal agencies and collaborating with local community-led revitalization efforts. The Partnership is improving our nation’s waters and promoting the economic, environmental and social benefits of communities near them. The Partnership was launched on June 24, 2011 with local partnerships at seven pilot locations across the nation. As Partnership locations grow, actions will continue and expand to assist projects and collaborative actions that reconnect communities with their urban waterways. This work has a particular emphasis on communities that are overburdened or economically distressed.
The Partnership is also complementary to the Strong Cities, Strong Communities Initiative and the Sustainable Communities Partnership, which together with our other place-based strategies are redefining how the federal government works with its local partners.
The EPA is awarding grants ranging from $40,000 to $60,000 for projects taking place in areas that align with the 18 designated Urban Waters Federal Partnership locations. All funded projects work to advance environmental justice in their communities and focus on one of the following three categories: community greening and green infrastructure, communities and water quality data, and integration of water quality and community development in planning. Read more here.
U.S. Department of Energy
Housing & Urban Development
The Sustainable Communities Initiative at HUD is comprised of two grant programs: the Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant program and the Community Challenge Planning Grant program. This report shares the green infrastructure best practices and outputs of HUD grantees under the HUD SCI grant programs as part of HUD’s commitment under the Green Infrastructure Collaborative.
The Sustainable Communities Initiative grew out of the HUDDOT-EPA Partnership for Sustainable Communities, which began on June 16, 2009 when the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), and the U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency (EPA) joined together to help communities nationwide improve access to affordable housing, increase transportation options, and lower transportation costs while protecting the environment.
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