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.

Email us for more information  (greeninfrastructureatnjfuturedotorg)  


Future Facts

Green Infrastructure in the Garden State: Stormwater Research in the Delaware River Watershed

In 2020, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) updated the Stormwater Management Rules, which now require that municipalities incorporate green infrastructure into major development projects. In many areas of the state, this relatively new policy change has meant a significant departure from the way that stormwater management was approached previously.

Planning for Climate Resilient Stormwater Infrastructure

“Watersheds are not political and do not follow political delineations,” said Mayor Andrew Nowick from the City of Lambertville at the 2023 NJ Planning and Redevelopment Conference (NJPRC). As flooding increases due to increased intense rain events and aging stormwater infrastructure, it is more important than ever to plan ahead to protect all New Jerseyans in the face of climate change.

New NJDEP Watershed Improvement Plan Requirement and What This Means for Municipalities

In our highly developed state, upgrading and retrofitting New Jersey’s stormwater infrastructure and reducing impervious cover is a key way to address nonpoint source pollution. It is estimated that up to 60% of the State’s existing water pollution is attributable to stormwater and nonpoint sources of pollution.

Clean Water in the Garden State: Reflecting on 50 years of Progress and Challenges

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the monumental piece of legislation known as the Clean Water Act (CWA). The CWA plays an important role in cleaning water pollution and protecting healthy waterways in the State of New Jersey for drinking water supply, healthy habitat for fish and wildlife, and economic and recreational activity. As we look ahead, we also acknowledge the work that still must be done to ensure that the CWA’s legacy is lived out in full.

Reducing Rain’s Repercussions: Exploring the Potential for Green Infrastructure on Redevelopment Sites

“The benefits of green infrastructure are boundless,” says Jennifer Gonzalez, Director of Environmental Services and Chief Sustainability Officer in Hoboken. Green infrastructure (practices like rain gardens, green roofs, and rain barrels that capture stormwater) can brighten towns through more beautiful streetscapes, reduced flooding, improved health of both people and ecosystems, and increased pollinator habitat.

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

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Questions about NJDEP’s Updated MS4 Permit? Check out our new MS4 Primer!

The 2023 Tier A Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) permit went into effect on January 1, 2023, and NJF has created a new resource to guide the implementation of its requirements on the local level to help communities address stormwater issues related to new and existing development. Check out “Understanding the New MS4 Permit: A Primer for NJ Municipalities” by clicking the link below!  


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