Policy News

NOAA’s Green Infrastructure Product Suite Helps Communities Reduce Extreme Weather Impacts

As coastal community populations grow and climate change brings more frequent weather extremes, communities are looking for new ways to become more resilient.

Green infrastructure is showing a lot of promise.

Green infrastructure—natural and nature-based engineered systems that mimic natural processes—positively impact water quality and help protect communities from flooding. Wetlands, for instance, act as floodwater storage, and green roofs prolong heating and cooling systems while filtering and lessening runoff.



The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Office for Coastal Management has developed a suite of products communities are using to better understand and implement green infrastructure approaches. Some examples are provided below.

• Information. Green Infrastructure Protective Services is an interactive animation that introduces green infrastructure and shows how it can protect communities from coastal storm impacts.

• Data. Coastal County Snapshots provides county-level flood exposure data via charts and graphs. Communities use the easy-to-understand data to learn about the economic and protective benefits of wetlands in their locale.

• Guidance. Economic Assessment of Green Infrastructure Strategies for Climate Change Adaptation showcases a Great Lakes study that assesses the costs and benefits of using green infrastructure for flood reduction. The framework can be applied in other communities.

• Training. Green Infrastructure Mapping Guide walks spatial analysts through a work plan, case studies, and templates for incorporating green infrastructure strategies into community mapping efforts.

Additional green infrastructure products can be found on the Topics page on NOAA’s Office for Coastal Management Digital Coast website.



Green infrastructure can be something as simple as a vegetated swale that filters runoff from a parking lot or a large wetland that absorbs excess water that would otherwise flood community streets. In addition to hazard reduction, green infrastructure provides many benefits such as climate adaptation, heat reduction, and water quality enhancement. Incorporating green infrastructure into new and existing development can be economical while making communities safer, environmentally sound, and aesthetically pleasing.



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