City of Austin concludes Green Infrastructure Public Meeting Series

August 21, 2015  | By Shoal Creek Conservancy

On June 26, the City of Austin’s Green Infrastructure Working Group concluded a series of six public consultation sessions, a series which kicked off in January of this year as part of CodeNEXT, the City’s land development regulations rewrite process. The Group was looking to inform the public about its goal of creating “an interconnected system of parks, waterways, open space, trails, green streets, tree canopy, agriculture, and stormwater management features that mimic natural hydrology.” Today, they released a summary of those six sessions.

What is Green Infrastructure (GI)? The US Environmental Protection Agency describes GI as a stormwater management practice which uses vegetation, soils, and natural processes and can help create healthier urban environments. The approach has been proven effective at removing oil, trash and other pollutants which run off our streets and into streams and creeks during rain events. An example of green infrastructure in the Shoal Creek watershed would be the rain garden we are planning to build in Duncan Park, which will be the first wet and dry wildflower meadow in the city.

The sessions summary includes reporting of stakeholder/staff voting and identification of  10 key priorities. At the top of that list is “improving on-site infiltration and stormwater retention,” two functions at which the Duncan Park rain garden will excel. Other priorities include better integration of green elements, stormwater conservation/reuse and “adequate provision of trees.” All of the priorities have pertinent applicability in the Shoal Creek watershed and can be used to help address the flooding, water quality and erosion issues we have experienced in recent years.

On August 26, the Group will be briefing City Council’s Open Space, Environment and Sustainability Committee on their achievements. We will be discussing green infrastructure in the Shoal Creek context more here in our blog, but you can also follow the Group’s progress and have your say on the CodeNext website.

Interested in learning more about green infrastructure? Here’s a great primer from In Our Backyards to get you started.