Rutgers Cooperative Extension and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will co-sponsor the New Jersey Green Infrastructure Forum to be held at Duke Farms on July 31.
The conference begins at 8:30 a.m. and will highlight the critical importance of using green infrastructure to manage storm water and enhance treatment of sewage and better withstand storms like Sandy.
The forum includes remarks from the EPA’s Regional Administrator Judith A. Enck and Donna Drewes, the co-Director of Sustainable Jersey, plus an address from Rutgers Executive Dean Robert Goodman. It will also include expert panel discussions featuring representatives from government agencies and key community groups.
In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, the development of green infrastructure has become especially important for communities in New Jersey that are vulnerable to storm surge and flooding. Experts at the conference will speak about practical issues such as how to finance projects and how to choose the best projects for a particular community.
“Green infrastructure makes both fiscal and environmental sense, especially given that communities need to start adapting to the growing effects of climate change,” said Regional Administrator Judith A. Enck. “By learning how to implement the strategies that will be discussed at the New Jersey Green Infrastructure Forum, cities and towns throughout the state can greatly improve the way they manage storm water and protect themselves against the more frequent and severe storms we are unfortunately likely to experience in the future.”
Green infrastructure is an environmentally friendly technique to manage storm water. It uses vegetation, soils, and natural processes to manage water and create healthier, more resilient urban environments. This type of infrastructure replaces more traditional concrete, or “gray,” solutions. Green infrastructure, which includes green roofs, permeable pavement and other surfaces, rain gardens and restored wetlands, mimics nature by soaking up and storing water.
The benefits of green infrastructure go beyond handling storm water. By reducing the polluted runoff that flows into rivers and streams, green infrastructure practices play a critical role in protecting water quality. Because many techniques involve the use of trees and other vegetation, green infrastructure improves air quality. It can also often lower energy costs by helping to keep buildings and sidewalks cool. Green infrastructure also plays a crucial role in making communities and facilities more resistant to storm damage.
Doors open at 8:30 AM. The registration fee is $50 for those choosing to have the buffet lunch and $35 for those who are not. Scholarships to attend this conference are available and requests will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. If you are interested in a scholarship, please email Amy Rowe at rowe@NJAES.Rutgers.edu.
For information about the forum and to register for the forum, visit http://epa.gov/region02/njgiforum.