National Green Infrastructure Implementation Awards Announced

February 16, 2011

Projects from Arkansas, Michigan and Maryland receive national recognition for designing and achieving innovative, green infrastructure solutions 

Arlington, Va. — Three community-based programs will be honored during the inaugural National Green Infrastructure Conference, Feb. 23-25, for their efforts to employ cutting-edge strategies to address local environmental and economic challenges. The National Green Infrastructure Implementation Awards will be presented on Thursday, Feb. 24, at the National Conservation Training Center in Shepherdstown, W.Va. to: 

  • Green Infrastructure Planning: Linking Arkansas Communities is a partnership between the Fayetteville Natural Heritage Association, the Arkansas Forestry Commission’s Urban and Community Forestry Program and Beaver Water District to evaluate priorities for natural resource conservation in Northwest Arkansas communities in order to create a Green Infrastructure Network Map. This map provides valuable data for future decisions on local land use and green infrastructure strategies.
  • Oakland County, Mich.’s Green Infrastructure Initiative reflects the collective conservation threats and opportunities brought forth by 61 local communities. This countywide green infrastructure vision presents goals, objectives and basic strategies to help communities create partnerships, build local support and embrace green infrastructure as an investment in a sustainable future.
  • Carroll County Agricultural Land Preservation Program’s Leveraged Installment Purchase Agreement (IPA) is a one-of-a-kind financing program designed to significantly increase the pace of conservation easement acquisition. IPAs enable Carroll County, Md., to secure conservation easements at a fraction of the cost of cash payments while simultaneously providing numerous financial benefits to landowners. Employing one of the most successful agricultural land preservation programs in the country, the county has protected more than 60,000 acres of farmland from urban sprawl since 1979.

“These three projects stood out not only because they were able to accomplish real, on-the-ground solutions to their conservation priorities, but also because they are ahead of the national trend in which more and more communities are turning to green infrastructure planning to effectively address natural resource use,” said Kris Hoellen, Director of The Conservation Fund’s Conservation Leadership Network.

The three-day National Green Infrastructure Conference, organized by The Conservation Fund, will bring together expert policymakers and practitioners from across the country for the first time to explore the extensive growth of green infrastructure and chart its course for the next ten years. Targeted sessions will allow attendees to investigate the concepts and applications of infrastructure projects in industries like transportation and renewable energy; discuss the societal benefits—public health, livability and sustainability —of successful implementation; and assess the future of green infrastructure planning with relation to climate change and food security.

“Receiving the National Green Infrastructure Implementation Award recognizes the joint commitment the Fayetteville Natural Heritage Association, Arkansas Forestry Commission and Beaver Water District have for the conservation of our natural resources and the strong citizen support within our communities,” said Patti Erwin, Urban Forestry Coordinator for the Arkansas Forestry Commission. “The success of our Green Infrastructure Plan demonstrates the collaborative process that was implemented among key partners and local officials and the invaluable public input provided through volunteerism and professional recommendations.”

“The National Green Infrastructure Implementation Award validates what we are doing here in Oakland County, Mich.,” said L. Brooks Patterson, Oakland County Executive. “Preserving green space adds to the quality of life of our residents, but it is one facet of a larger green initiative. We also are attracting alternative energy companies to provide green jobs; identifying and incorporating energy conserving devices and strategies here on our government campus; and we are building the nation’s first green airport terminal.”

“For the past three decades, Carroll County has been one of the most successful farmland preservation programs in the country,” said Jeff Everett, Preservation Specialist with Carroll County. “But in these uncertain financial times, we realized that we had to create a new conservation easement acquisition paradigm if we wanted to achieve our land preservation goals. While inherently complex in methodology, the philosophy is straightforward—create a program that fairly compensates landowners while ensuring taxpayers are getting the best bang for their buck.”

Green infrastructure is a strategically planned and managed network of natural areas and open spaces—woodlands, wetlands, trails and parks—that conserves ecosystems, helps sustain clean air and water and provides many other benefits to people and wildlife.

About The Conservation Fund
At The Conservation Fund, we combine a passion for conservation with an entrepreneurial spirit to protect your favorite places before they become just a memory. A hallmark of our work is our deep, unwavering understanding that for conservation solutions to last, they need to make economic sense. Top-ranked, we have protected more than 7 million acres across America.