If It Ain’t Broke… It Still Needs Maintenance: How to Effectively Maintain Blue/Green Infrastructure


February 24 at 12:00 PM

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Blue/Green Infrastructure (BGI) is being implemented with greater and greater frequency throughout the country in order to meet water quality goals, enhance our communities, improve climate change resiliency, and even reduce costs. As communities implement individual BGI projects or large-scale programs with multiple projects, they face numerous challenges, of the most significant of which is how to integrate new and presumably different maintenance protocols into their existing maintenance programs and operating budgets. This is a question that municipal governments, other public entities, and even private organizations are facing as they make decisions about long-term BGI implementation. Fortunately, both large and small communities throughout the U.S. are proving that BGI maintenance programs can succeed through proper planning, effective integration with existing programs, and the creation of new partnerships through education and outreach. In this presentation, experienced BGI designers from Jacobs Engineering will draw on examples from throughout the country to provide a framework of BGI operations and maintenance (O&M) considerations to help guide communities that are in the process of or are considering implementing BGI programs. The presentation will begin with a high-level discussion of key programmatic elements, such as planning and design considerations for BGI O&M (especially in harsh urban settings and varying climates), potential barriers to implementation, as well as guidance in developing O&M Plans that cost effectively support BGI programs. Planning discussions will include innovative approaches to BGI O&M program implementation that consider regulatory drivers and requirements, BGI program scale, differences in “blue” vs. “green” system design/function, and funding for large and small scale BGI maintenance programs. The presentation will also provide guidance on considerations to help communities determine which entities should be responsible for maintenance and how to integrate BGI maintenance into existing or planned asset management approaches. It will also inform stormwater program managers, governments, community organizations and even design professionals about the numerous tools, strategies, and lessons learned from other communities that have implemented successful BGI O&M programs or projects, including Lancaster, PA, Syracuse, NY, Cincinnati, OH, Milwaukee, WI, San Francisco, CA, and Atlanta, GA. The information provided will help decisionmakers overcome significant technical and institutional challenges as they relate to long term BGI maintenance and the steps to implement successful O&M programs.

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