Trees and Stormwater Toolkit

The Trees and Stormwater Tool can help communities better understand the benefits of tree-based green infrastructure and to incorporate trees into stormwater management plans. Use of this guidance can help inform local decision makers in communities across the U.S. of options and best practices for including trees in stormwater facility design regulations and policies to improve community resilience.

The site contains guidance on what information is needed to build support for, develop, fund, and implement a stormwater management plan that incorporates community forestry. The toolkit offers hundreds of resources, case studies, and best practices to help understand and quantify the benefits of trees in stormwater management and beyond. 

For example, the Places page encourages the user to map out the relevant characteristics of the community and includes links to access data related to tree canopy, impervious surfaces, air pollution and public health, watershed maps, soil maps, climate change/temperature/heat island, and demographics to incorporate principles of equity into any planning. 

The Implement section provides information on: 

  • Tree Planting: including how to evaluate site conditions, soil volume and composition, species selection, and tree ID guides
  • Stormwater Design and Implementation Guides
  • Design Specifications
  • Stormwater Modeling: including advice on selecting stormwater modeling tools
  • How to Make the Case for Green Over Grey
  • Funding sources: such as leveraging existing taxes, Business Improvement Districts, and mitigation
  • Return on Investment: trees bring net benefit to air quality, public health, energy conservation, urban heat islands, and community cohesion

The Plan and Policies pages help users navigate typical plans, policies, and regulations that influence where, how, and to what extent green infrastructure and trees can be used for stormwater management.  

The Document Builder tool allows users to create a white paper with customized information about their community which can be shared with local officials and decision makers to support tree-based green infrastructure investment decisions in their communities.


Publication Date: March 2018

Related Organizations:

  • Ohio Kentucky Indiana Regional Council of Governments


Resource Category:

Resource Types:

  • Best practice
  • Education/training materials
  • Tool (general)


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