Working for Smart Growth:
More Livable Places and Open Spaces


Mainstreaming Green Infrastructure

Mainstreaming Green Infrastructure

Mainstreaming Green Infrastructure

Green Infrastructure Municipal Toolkit

Green Infrastructure Municipal Toolkit

Permeable Pavement

Permeable Pavement

Developers' Green Infrastructure Guide

Developers' Green Infrastructure Guide

Stormwater Camp in Sussex County

Stormwater Camp in Sussex County

Stormwater never travels alone.

Stormwater never travels alone.

Under today’s climate trends, the art and science of managing stormwater is getting more complicated. Even moderate rain events and brief but powerful downpours cause flooding, and carry pollutants like motor oil, trash, fertilizer, pesticides, and animal waste into local bodies of water, making many of our waterways unsuitable for recreation. Stormwater runoff pollutes the majority of New Jersey’s rivers, streams, and lakes.

Green infrastructure (GI) helps address these problems. On a given site, GI can be designed to capture the rainfall from at least 90% of rain events, preventing runoff that leads to pollution and flooding. GI techniques enable stormwater and melting snow to soak into soils near where they fall or be captured for a beneficial re-use such as irrigation or flushing toilets. Keeping runoff out of the storm sewer system improves water quality and minimizes localized flooding. GI also delivers multiple associated benefits. It cleans and conserves the world’s most precious resource, reduces flooding, improves public health, provides jobs, raises property values, beautifies neighborhoods, and supports wildlife.
Examples of GI include street trees, pervious pavement, rain gardens, rain barrels and cisterns, green roofs, and vegetated swales.

Learn how to make GI a mainstream practice in your municipality using the Green Infrastructure Municipal Toolkit or in your development project using the Developers Green Infrastructure Guide 2.0.



Our Program

Mainstreaming Green Infrastructure is a program aimed at moving green stormwater infrastructure practices into common practice. Years ago, green building standards such as LEED were considered eccentric and expensive. Now, they are understood to be the smart way to build. The same thing is happening with green infrastructure. An important paradigm shift has accelerated the mainstreaming process: the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection updated its stormwater rule, which takes effect in March 2021, to mandate the use of green infrastructure to meet the rule’s stormwater management requirements. The implications of this rule change will affect many, but not all, developments. There is more work to be done to improve water quality and reduce flooding.
To ensure successful and widespread implementation of GI New Jersey Future works with:

  • State agencies to update and improve rules, manuals, standards, programs, and review processes to facilitate GI.
  • Developers to promote and advance the implementation of GI, and to encourage and assist a group of developers to act as ambassadors to the industry.
  • Municipalities to understand local challenges to green infrastructure implementation and develop solutions.

Download a factsheet to learn more about this program.

Our Work with State Agencies

New Jersey Future is working with state agencies to update and improve rules, manuals, standards, and programs to facilitate and incentivize the use of green infrastructure.

For example, we collaborated with our partners in the building and environmental communities to advocate for amendments to the state’s stormwater management rules (NJAC 7:8). New Jersey Future is continuing work with our partners to advocate for further state-level improvements to mainstream green infrastructure.

Our Work with Developers

Photo courtesy of PaverGuide

GI can offer a powerful return on investment. New Jersey Future partners with the New Jersey Builders Association to convene the Developers Green Infrastructure Task Force, which helps New Jersey’s developers and their design professionals learn about, finance, and build green infrastructure. The task force includes developers, engineers, green infrastructure experts, and attorneys who advise and assist this important work and act as ambassadors to the industry.

The Developers Green Infrastructure Guide, a product of the Task Force, breaks down New Jersey’s Stormwater Rule amendments and helps developers and decision makers understand green infrastructure options (even for challenging sites), advantages, costs, and benefits.

Our Work with Municipalities

New Jersey Future and partners install a rain garden in Newton.

Municipalities are on the front lines of installing GI on municipally-owned land including city hall, public parks, local streets and sidewalks. In addition, municipalities are required to update their stormwater control ordinances by March of 2021.

We provide resources for municipalities in our Green Infrastructure Municipal Toolkit to:

  • Comply with NJDEP’s stormwater rules; 
  • Plan the right GI for their towns;
  • Implement their plans; and 
  • Sustain the good work with training, community engagement, and maintenance.

To learn more about how to plan, implement, and sustain GI in municipalities, view the recently-updated Green Infrastructure Municipal Toolkit. 

Fact Sheets and Brochures

Mainstreaming Green Infrastructure Fact Sheet
New Jersey Green Infrastructure Municipal Toolkit
Developers Green Infrastructure Guide 2.0

Much of New Jersey Future’s work to mainstream green infrastructure
is supported by a grant from the William Penn Foundation.


Future Facts

Curb Bumpout with plants
New Jersey Municipalities Share Green Infrastructure Planning Progress

The new stormwater rules that went into effect on March 2, 2021 require NJ municipalities to update their Stormwater Control Ordinances (SCOs) to require GI in new major development projects. We examined which municipalities had updated their SCOs as required and which had gone above and beyond the NJDEP’s minimum requirements. Out of the 43 towns surveyed and researched, 28 towns have updated their SCO and 24 have posted these updates on their respective websites.

Strategizing from Sussex to Stone Harbor: Water Infrastructure in New Jersey’s Climate Strategy

When thinking about climate change in New Jersey, it is easy to focus on the most obvious threat: coastal flooding from sea level rise. However, climate change will have a number of effects on New Jersey’s drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater infrastructure as well. The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection’s Draft Climate Change Resilience Strategy recognizes these issues and is an important first step toward adapting New Jersey’s drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater infrastructure for an uncertain future.

New Stormwater Rules Require New Developments to Include Green Infrastructure

New public and private sector developments in New Jersey must now include the use of green infrastructure as a stormwater management technique starting March 2, 2021.

flooding photo from Jersey Water Works video
Want to Get Ahead of Flooding? Use NJF’s New Tool, the Enhanced Model Stormwater Ordinance

Municipal leaders should use New Jersey Future’s new tool to update their town’s stormwater ordinance as soon as possible to increase green infrastructure and reduce flood risk. 

Green streets are pedestrian-friendly alternatives to traditional streets. See the toolkit for a side-by-side comparison of green and traditional streets. Graphic designed by E&LP for NJF.
Stuck with Stormwater Issues? See Expert Solutions to Fight Flooding and Pollution in the Updated Municipal Toolkit

Green infrastructure can make your town a healthier, cleaner, and safer place to live by reducing flood risk, returning clean water to the ground, cleaning and cooling the air, and aiding in pedestrian safety. Learn more in the updated Municipal Toolkit.

See all New Jersey Future Blog posts and articles in this category »

Back to top

© New Jersey Future, 16 W. Lafayette St. • Trenton, NJ 08608 • Phone: 609-393-0008 • Fax: 609-360-8478

It’s Official: NJDEP’s New Green Infrastructure Rule is Effective!

On March 2, 2021 important changes to the
state’s stormwater management rules
(NJAC 7:8) went into effect.

These amendments have been in the works for years. They include a requirement that new developments must use green infrastructure to meet stormwater management standards for water quality, groundwater recharge and quantity control.  


Learn more