Green Infrastructure in Parks

18 5. Plan for Maintenance Define Roles and Responsibilities It is important to determine who will operate and maintain the project over the long term and define roles and responsibilities. Some agencies document the installation and maintenance roles and responsibilities using MOUs to clarify who (e.g., stormwater agency, park agency, department of transportation, public works department) is responsible for inspecting and maintaining green features. The MOU can include a maintenance schedule to ensure that all parties know what is needed to ensure the long-term function of the green infrastructure features. Perform Maintenance and Repairs Ensuring the health of vegetation is one of the key factors in the successful performance of green infrastructure practices. Maintaining vegetation is an important component of a maintenance program. Typical maintenance activities include watering during the establishment phase, conducting assessments of plant health, pruning, mulching to control weeds, removing unwanted vegetation, and planting replacements as necessary. To promote plant health and properly manage runoff, porous soils need to be assessed and replaced if they become clogged. Infiltration and drainage features often need to be checked for clogging— they might require trash, debris, and sediment removal and sometimes structural and erosion-related repairs. Ensure Optimal Performance Green infrastructure infiltrates runoff through soils or other filtration media to filter out pollutants and retain stormwater; therefore, the permeability and overall health of the soil is critical to performance. Infiltration rates can diminish over time if the surface of an infiltration feature becomes clogged with fine sediment, organic matter (leaf litter), or other materials that prevent percolation. Soils can also become compacted if they are subject to excessive foot or vehicle traffic. Soils might need to be excavated, scraped, aerated, tilled, or replaced if standing water is present several days after a storm, indicating poor drainage. Permeable pavement might need to be vacuumed or, in the most challenging cases, removed and reinstalled to restore permeability. Engage Community Service Organizations In many areas, parks agencies have opportunities to hire individuals from community service organizations, youth conservation corps, or other youth summer employment programs. This type of engagement provides younger people with valuable opportunities to improve the communities in which they live, provides skills training and job experience, and results in citizens who are knowledgeable about the environment. MOUs A memorandum of understanding (MOU) is an important tool to clearly identify each department’s or agency’s roles and responsibilities. Parks and stormwater departments or agencies are not the only ones that might be involved. If the green infrastructure project overlaps or affects the right-of-way, transportation agencies might also need to be included to ensure that their input is sought and their objectives, responsibilities, and requirements are documented. Elements of an MOU • Describe the property and features for which responsibility is shared. • Detail funding sources and amounts for design/construction and maintenance, including requirements for each. • List each department’s objectives, roles and responsibilities, and legal requirements. • Define methods of communication or collaboration. • State the term of agreement, e.g., from date of signature until… • Outline procedures for modifying, extending, or severing the agreement.