Photo courtesy of Chesapeake Bay Program

Cleaner Water Faster

Creating a Green Infrastructure Master Plan for the City of Richmond

In 2019, the Alliance received $1 million in funding from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to institutionalize the use of green infrastructure practices on city-owned lands and increase the effectiveness of Richmond’s Clean Water Plan. We have partnered with RVAH2O and the City of Richmond’s Department of Public Utilities to develop this green infrastructure master plan for the city.

We’re focusing on Richmond’s three priority watersheds:

  • Cannon’s Branch/Shockoe Creek
  • Gillie’s Creek
  • Goose Creek/Manchester Canal

These watersheds have the least amount of green space and trees in the city, and are home to the highest amounts of paved surfaces, which produce a significant amount of polluted stormwater runoff entering the James River.

These watersheds also have the highest urban heat island impacts, lowest life expectancy, and highest presence of heart disease and diabetes.

Implementing green stormwater practices in these locations will reduce polluted runoff entering Richmond’s waterways, as well as increase green space and tree cover, thus providing climate equity to these communities.

We have contracted the help of Arcadis, a design, engineering and management consulting company, to create a green infrastructure ranking tool for these city-owned parcels. Their tool will allow city departments to identify parcels best suited for green infrastructure practices, which they can then incorporate into the design process for city projects.

We have also enlisted the help of University of Virginia’s Institute for Engagement and Negotiation to act as an unbiased facilitator in workshops with city departments to facilitate our engagement and negotiation process for green infrastructure policy change throughout the city.

Focus on New Parks and Green Infrastructure

The Alliance has participated in an advisory process with Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney to identify parcels of land for new city parks, as well as identify policies to enhance implementation of green infrastructure throughout the city. These parks are focused on the concept of providing all Richmonders park space within a 10 minute walk of their home.

All of these parcels are in underserved parts of the City with high impervious cover and low tree canopy, so these new green spaces will provide not only water quality benefits, but equity and quality of life benefits as well.

Photo courtesy of Chesapeake Bay Program