Green Infrastructure

What Is Green Infrastructure?

Simply put, green infrastructure is a practice that captures and absorbs rainwater where it falls! This can be as simple as a rain barrel to capture the water coming from your roof or as complicated as removing pavement to install permeable pavers. These practices are meant to take advantage of nature-based solutions by using vegetation and engineered soils to reduce stormwater runoff and erosion. This a helpful co-benefit of reducing URBAN HEAT ISLAND effect by providing shade. Shaded surfaces may be 20–45°F cooler than the peak temperatures of unshaded areas.1

Green Stormwater Infrastructure (GSI) are practices that conserve natural ecosystem services, sustain clean air, provide wildlife habitat, and promote water quality by mimicking natural processes to infiltrate or reuse stormwater. Green infrastructure can include engineered practices such as rain gardens, bioswales, or permeable pavement as well as networks of natural areas (forests, waterways, wildlife areas, wetlands, historic landscapes, farms, vineyards, and public parks).

Green Infrastructure Examples:

Download our new Green Infrastructure Basicsbooklet to walk you through the 8 most common practices! 

THANK YOU for a great Green Infrastructure Charette!

The George Washington Regional Commission hosted a Green Infrastructure Charette on Friday, April 26, 2024 at the Howell Library in Stafford County.

The goals of the Charette were for participants to:

  • Learn about green infrastructure
  • Share feedback on where green infrastructure is needed
  • Network and connect with green infrastructure resources (such as funding opportunities!)

Attendees had the chance to share feedback through a variety of engagement activities including a participatory mapping project (see the pictures to the right) where they identified problems areas that warranted green infrastructure to address either heat, lack of green space, flooding, or erosion/runoff. If you were unable to attend but want to share feedback in this participatory mapping project, there is survey tool open until 5/3 at 5pm that can collect your input as well!

Additionally, the public was introduced case study projects at Cosner Park in Spotsylvania County, Cedell Brooks Jr. Park in King George, and North Stafford High School. See the posters from the Charette below! After the Charette, project coordinators from the local governments met to discuss the feedback from the public and how they could move projects forward at each location.


Thanks to Chesapeake Bay Trust and the US EPA for providing technical assistance through their Green Streets, Green Jobs, Green Towns grant which enabled this community event. 

Photos from the event:

Participatory Mapping Results:

Participants identified problem areas using a color code: 

RED for Urban Heat / Air Quality

BLUE for Flooding

YELLOW for erosion 

GREEN for lack of green space

Green Infrastructure Plans

In 2011, as an approach to strategic conservation of our green infrastructure assets, GWRC undertook a series of tasks to define the region’s critical green infrastructure and the pressure on this regional asset. The resulting 2011 Regional Green Infrastructure Plan and its 2016 and 2017 updates are linked below.

2011 Regional Green Infrastructure Plan

2016 Regional Green Infrastructure Plan Update

2017 Regional Green Infrastructure Plan Update

2017 Regional Green Infrastructure Retention Prioritization Strategy