Green Infrastructure in Parks

HOW GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE CAN ENHANCE PARKS Enhances Recreation Value Green infrastructure can be used to create or enhance amenities in parks. For example, hiking or biking trails can be built incorporating green infrastructure. Restoration of degraded areas can provide wildlife habitat and viewing areas and opportunities for outdoor education. Green infrastructure practices can be designed to reduce pollutants discharged into waterbodies and reduce the threat of illness from recreational contact due to wading, swimming, or boating. Buried streams and springs can be unearthed and restored to provide interactive water features such as wetlands, ponds, and creeks for public use. Natural drainage ways and infiltration practices can be used to help maintain adequate flows to these waterbodies. Creates Attractive Park Features Green infrastructure practices designed to infiltrate runoff can include a diverse palette of native plants and locally adapted plants of many textures and colors. These bioretention areas can be designed with pathways and benches for public enjoyment and planted to attract beneficial wildlife such as butterflies or other pollinators. Drainage and infiltration areas can be designed to enhance the topography of the park and provide picnicking and play areas, as well as visual or physical barriers to create special areas for meditation or wildlife viewing. Trees, shrubs, and ornamental grasses, in addition to being visual amenities, can be used to reduce noise and cut-throughs. Enhances Social and Environmental Equity Green infrastructure can be used to enhance public wellbeing in underserved or underprivileged communities. These communities often lack adequate park access and facilities. Newly created and rehabilitated parks can enhance the health of local residents by providing opportunities for physical activity, interactions with nature, and destination community gathering places. Reduces Maintenance Green infrastructure can be used to help reduce maintenance at parks. Stormwater utility funds can be used to improve drainage, reduce erosion, and eliminate standing water. The health of vegetation can be improved through better drainage and the maintenance burden can be reduced. Good drainage systems that promote infiltration or overland flow can help reduce mosquito breeding habitat and disperse water over a larger vegetated area and potentially reduce irrigation needs. Converting high maintenance vegetation (such as turf) to lower maintenance native vegetation can reduce the need for supplemental water and other inputs such as fertilizers and pesticides. Mowing and weeding frequency might also be reduced. Green infrastructure areas can help reduce problems caused by high runoff or sedimentation of streams. 2