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Ditch the Detention Basin - Green Infrastructure is IN!

Written by: Sue Quackenbush, Department Manager, Ecology & Permitting and Will Erdman, Environmental Scientist

Effective March 2, 2021, NJ Stormwater Management Rules now require the use of Green Infrastructure best management practices (BMPs) to meet water quality, water quantity, and groundwater recharge requirements for Major Development projects. Municipalities will also be required to update their stormwater ordinances to comply with these new standards. Wondering what “green infrastructure” is, and if it works? Read on for a brief explanation and details on a real-life implementation that outperforms traditional stormwater and sewer systems.

Green Infrastructure is designed to create an environment that maximizes the benefits of natural systems. Instead of concrete and monoculture lawns, Green Infrastructure allows for decentralization and enhanced biodiversity in an eco-friendly atmosphere that provides benefits to water quality, flood prevention, and improved living conditions for both humans and wildlife. Examples of Green Infrastructure BMPs include bioretention systems, wet ponds, constructed wetlands, grass swales, pervious paving systems, and green roofs—to name a few.

While these rule changes may be new to NJ, AGE is no stranger to Green Infrastructure! Since 1998, Amy Greene Environmental Consultants (AGE) has provided environmental services for construction of various Green Infrastructure BMPs within the Staten Island Bluebelt. Our Restoration Specialists and Construction Monitors oversee construction to ensure compliance with approved plans, applicable regulations, and permit conditions including monitoring of erosion/sedimentation control practices. Our staff also serve as an integral liaison between governmental agencies, contractors, and project management personnel.

AGE has served as Restoration Specialist/Construction Monitor on the New York City Infrastructure Upgrade Project in the Travis neighborhood of Staten Island since 2019. The project includes a new storm sewer, sanitary sewer, water main, and a constructed wetland BMP to convey and treat the outflow of the stormwater system, which then flows into Neck Creek and the Arthur Kill.

Prior to implementation of this project, the existing stormwater system was insufficient, and frequently resulted in flooding of the low-lying residential properties. The area was flat and overgrown with non-native, invasive plant species such as Japanese knotweed and common reed, a landscape which provided little ecological or flood prevention value. The solution called for an upgraded storm sewer system, which flows into a constructed stream and wetland BMP.

AGE guided the planting of native wetland species throughout the BMP, which act like sponges that filter stormwater and alleviate flood waters. AGE also oversaw the construction of a pervious gravel and paver access entrance, which will include installation of an educational sign explaining the benefits of the site. Residents have already commented on how flooding has decreased since construction of the BMP.

AGE’s experience with these projects has demonstrated that green infrastructure can perform just as well (if not better) than traditional, structural stormwater systems, and we look forward to supporting these projects in NJ!

For more information on the new NJ Stormwater Management Rules, and how AGE can assist in the successful application, implementation and monitoring of Green Infrastructure BMPs, please contact our staff at agemarketing@davey.com. You may also reach any of our staff at 908-788-9676.

Ms. Quackenbush specializes in wetland delineation, environmental permitting, and rare, threatened, and endangered species surveys. Mr. Erdman specializes in wetland delineation and wetland mitigation monitoring.

In November 2019, Amy S. Greene Environmental Consultants, Inc. joined Davey Resource Group, Inc. (DRG) as a wholly-owned subsidiary and will be doing business as Amy Greene Environmental, a Davey Company. We are thrilled to expand our team of experts with additional resources and opportunities to support you.