Staying Green: Strategies to Improve Operations and Management of Green Infrastructure in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed

Staying Green discusses the barriers to and recommendations for effective operation and maintenance of green infrastructure practices for stormwater management. Green infrastructure (GI) requires proper maintenance to function effectively and continue to provide climate change adaptation benefits, such as urban heat island and flood mitigation. This report offers specific strategies, based on examples from throughout the Chesapeake Bay region and the country, to improve the operations and maintenance of GI practices. While specifically developed for the Chesapeake Bay Watershed (a region that includes the District of Columbia and portions of six states on the east coast of the U.S.), this report includes general GI operation and maintenance information useful to other regions as well.

Four primary barriers to effective GI operations and maintenance are discussed in the report including 1) limited financing, 2) limited training, 3) lack of property owner awareness of GI practices, locations, and maintenance responsibilities, as well as 4) limited inspections and enforcement of GI operations and maintenance. Case studies and brief examples from across the country illustrate these challenges and model how communities can respond. Discussion of each of these issues is followed by recommendations for addressing the specific challenge, including, among others:

  • Implement a Stormwater Utility – a user or service fee stormwater utility can provide consistent funding for stormwater management and maintenance and should include GI
  • Establish a Homeowner Incentive Program – incentive programs can increase GI practices on private property and inform owners of maintenance responsibilities
  • Develop Maintenance Standards and Training/Certification Programs for Green Infrastructure – standards for maintenance of GI from local governments should also include guidance handbooks for contractors and homeowners; training programs based on consistent standards will improve quality of work
  • Establish Inspection Procedures and Schedules for Green Infrastructure – inspection procedures should be developed with checklists and a database for tracking the function and maintenance of GI projects

The report’s Appendices provide:

  • inspection and maintenance schedules for select green infrastructure practices;
  • resources from across the country for operations and maintenance manuals, checklists, and training programs; and
  • outreach materials for homeowners and the general public on green infrastructure.


Author or Affiliated User:

  • Stacey Detwiler

Related Organizations:


Resource Category:

Resource Types:

  • Best practice
  • Policy analysis/recommendations

States Affected:


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