Complete Parks Playbook 15 Grow Planting and Maintaining Sustainable Parks Parks and green spaces support not only humans but also other species of animals, insects, trees, and plants. Environments that are ecologically healthy are also healthy for people. Designing our parks to protect and support biodiversity and ecological integrity will enhance sustainability and enable users to better connect with nature. California experiences regular drought cycles, and water is becoming an increasingly scarce resource. To comply with existing and future restrictions on public water use, parks must be designed to use water efficiently and sparingly whenever possible. Leaders will need to balance water conservation with several competing interests, including the needs of park users, neighborhood aesthetics, and fire safety. Thoughtful park design will also help conserve water. Parks can be designed to control stormwater runoff and replenish groundwater supplies. In addition, tree canopies remove greenhouse gases from the air, and reduce the overall urban heat island effect. Parks should be designed and maintained to grow sustainable (preferably native) tree canopies. Cities should also consider an Urban Forest Master Plan for the proper management and care of urban forests. Using environmentally sustainable practices in the construction, renovation, management, and maintenance of parks will help protect native species, preserve groundwater supply, and remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. POTENTIAL POLICIES for planting and maintaining sustainable Parks • Low-Impact Development Policy • Drought Resistant Vegetation Policy • Stormwater Management Guidelines • Water Usage Policy • Urban Forest Master Plan