ing for the potential to move water
through the landscape to promote
vegetation in the desert,” explained
McDonald. “It is a great way to alleviate pressure on the stormwater
system while creating pocket parks
for the community.” Santa Fe has built seven gardens so far
and has made funding for the remaining gardens a priority.
Building this infrastructure is only half the battle. These sys-
tems are made up of living, breathing organisms that require
monitoring and care to continue to perform at optimal levels.
“Maintenance of green infrastructure isn’t more challenging
than managing gray infrastructure,” McDonald said, “it just re-
quires cities to rethink how they do things, and whose job it is.”
Yet the lack of specific knowledge about green infrastructure
can make it difficult for municipalities to staff these projects,
noted Matt Ries, chief technology officer for the Water Envi-
ronment Federation (WEF) in Washington, D.C. “You’ve got
streets and sanitation crews who are trained to do paving, not
installing permeable pavement and maintaining rain gardens,”
he said. “It is the antithesis of green infrastructure.”
WEF recognized that for the green infrastructure movement
to fully take hold, cities would need access to a workforce that
is trained to build and maintain these systems. So they partnered with 15 leading utilities to create the National Green Infrastructure Certification Program (NGICP), which sets national
certification standards for green infrastructure construction,
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The NGICP program features 35 hours of class and field work and includes a final certification exam. Photo courtesy of DC Water.
In Santa Fe, roadside gardens catch rain
water and draw it through sediment traps
that filter debris, support growth, and send
cleaner water more slowly back into the
river. Photo courtesy of City of Santa Fe.