Green infrastructure is an interconnected network of natural and social systems such as rivers, trails, lakes, wildlife habitat, working lands, and parks, and open space.
Green infrastructure planning differs from conventional approaches to land conservation or natural resource protection because it looks at landscape ecology in concert with human geography and demographics. Green infrastructure conserves natural ecosystem functionality, sustains clean air and water, and provides a wide array of benefits. This comprehensive approach brings together diverse stakeholders to help form a common planning approach.
SOME OF THE BENEFITS OF GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE
Some of the Benefits of Green Infrastructure
- Protect Critical Habitats
- Protect Habitat Connections
- Conserve Biodiversity
- Sustain Working Lands and Forest Lands
- Provide Mental and Physical Health Benefits
- Provide Opportunities for Recreation
- Protect Valuable Natural Amenities
- Attract Tourism
- Direct Growth Away from Areas Prone to Natural Hazards
- Reduce Opposition to Future Development
(RE)CONNECT: THE WASATCH FRONT GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE PLAN
(Re)Connect:The Wasatch Front Green Infrastructure Plan
is a planning tool that can be used by regional councils, municipalities, transportation agencies, natural resource agencies, and others to incorporate green infrastructure planning into longer range initiatives. The Plan places a strong emphasis on implementation and identifies strategies that can be used by resource agencies, private foundations, cities, counties, and other local or state agencies for updating master plans, transportation plans, or watershed plans. Green infrastructure implementation strategies exist at various scales from site-specific, such as a community garden, to regional, such as a watershed restoration project.(Re)Connect
acknowledges the relationship of land use, transportation, green infrastructure, economic development, and community livability. It furthers the Wasatch Choice for 2040 vision developed by the Wasatch Front Regional Council.(Re)Connect: The Wasatch Front Green Infrastructure Plan
- Identify existing green infrastructure
- Bring together diverse interests through collaboration
- Explore a multi-jurisdictional approach to planning for Green Infrastructure
- Utilize existing plans to ensure consistency
- Quantify economic advantages
- Identify implementation strategies
- The Plan can guide land development and acquisition decisions, funding allocations, and local and regional planning processes.
Example of a Green Infrastructure Network Map Design Used by The Conservation Fund
- Asset Network Maps help determine which lands can accommodate growth and which lands are better suited to protect, preserve or conserve. The asset network maps identify and illustrate existing high-quality green infrastructure lands. The asset network mapping process identified similar lands and categorized them into five maps, known as "asset network maps". Each of the five asset network maps has its own set of criteria. The criteria include more than forty datasets and used to establish the cores, hubs, and corridors within each asset network. Cores are highly functional, high-quality lands. Cores are geographically large, un-fragmented lands that are either connected or close to one another. These lands provide the most effective ecosystem services and sustained functionality. Hubs are lands that support cores, though they are not always connected to cores. The hubs have been identified through qualitative assessments rather than spatially defined locations that surround cores. Corridors are linear landscapes that physically link assets together; they facilitate mobility between cores and hubs. Corridors support and enhance green infrastructure network resiliency.
ASSET NETWORK MAPS DATA & DOCUMENTATION
Includes military lands, tribal lands, SITLA lands, historic districts, transit stops, transit lines, railroads, cemeteries, historic trails, sites of community significance, parks and open space, community and regional trails, and other lands with community assets within them.Dropbox GeodatabaseDropbox DocumentationEcological Assets
Includes high quality forest lands, wetlands, riparian, scrub/shrub, and desert lands. Also includes protected lands (including public lands and conservation easements), important bird habitat areas, wildlife reserves, and wilderness areas.Dropbox GeodatabaseDropbox DocumentationHydrological Assets
Includes reservoirs, lakes, streams, rivers, wetlands, aquifer recharge/discharge areas, drinking water source protection zones, water-related conservation easements, canals, land cover data, and Watershed Restoration Areas.Dropbox GeodatabaseDropbox DocumentationRecreational Assets
Datasets include parks, trails, golf courses, marinas, open spaces, ski areas, water bodies and waterways, public lands, habitat for popular game species, cooperative wildlife management units, major roads, transit lines & canals.Dropbox GeodatabaseDropbox DocumentationWorking Lands Assets
Includes canals, prime farmland soils, agricultural easements, irrigated agricultural land, state trust grazing leases and other cropland.Dropbox GeodatabaseDropbox DocumentationFinal Green Infrastructure Geodatabase - Dropbox
- United States Forest Service - funding partner
- Utah Forestry, Fire, and State Lands - funding partner
- Utah Governor's Office of Planning and Budget, Quality Growth Commission - funding partner
- Eccles Foundation - funding partner
- Whole Foods - funding partner
- Center for Green Infrastructure Design - project consultant
- Wasatch Front Regional Council - project manager
Additional information on Green Infrastructure may be obtained by contacting LaNiece Davenport.