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Green Infrastructure

 What is Green Infrastructure?

Green infrastructure is a form of Low Impact Development (LID) that utilizes vegetation and natural hydrologic processes to manage and treat stormwater.

The goal of green infrastructure is to capture rainwater where it falls in urban spaces, providing benefits for both the community and environment. Green infrastructure is beneficial for the environment and society as it catches pollutants and cleans water, decreases runoff volumes and adds aesthetic value to neighborhoods, parks, and residences.

  • Green infrastructure are not intended to look like traditional gardens
  • These plants are working! While they do add beauty, they are working hard to uptake & transpire water, so they are functional pieces that are integral to the infrastructure
  • These devices are created to mimic natural processes that have been disturbed by humans with the addition of impervious surfaces like roofs, parking lots, and roads


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  •  Bioretention basin at John A. Patten Rec Center


Why is green infrastructure important?

With aging infrastructure, increasing populations and a need for results that are collaborative and efficient with financial resources, green infrastructure is becoming the standard for stormwater management throughout the country.

Whether encouraged by compliance, community activism or natural disaster response, communities are creating natural environments for proactive management of urban waters. As small as rain gardens or raised garden beds and as large as regional corridors or parks, green infrastructure endeavors are varied and individual.

On the localized scale, rain gardens or bioretention ponds, wetlands, riparian zones, permeable pavement, green roofs, rainwater harvesting, sidewalk trees and urban agriculture are all examples of green infrastructure. On the regional scale, green infrastructure preserves, conserves and restores natural landscapes and is often connected to corridors for people and wildlife.


How can I help?

Catch the rain at your house, support urban gardens, and dissipate or infiltrate the rain water hitting your property as much as possible. We have programs that support & can potentially help fund green infrastructure projects, such as:

  • RainSmart for residential rain gardens & rain barrels
  • Green Grants for businesses & non-single family residential
  • Rain Garden Guardians

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  •  Bioretention basin at Renaissance Park

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  •  Bioretention basin at Warner Park 


Chattanooga's new stormwater ordinance financially incentivizes new and redevelopment sites to capture increased amounts of stormwater onsite. This new program supports the mindset that stormwater is not a nuisance, but a resource. Checkout Resource Rain and the Rain Management Guide (RMG), to see guidelines for new development design.

For more information on this topic, see the EPA or American Rivers definitions of green infrastructure.

Past Green Infrastructure Projects in Chattanooga 



Stormwater Division

1250 Market Street, Suite 2100
Chattanooga, TN 37403
(423) 643 - 5877

To report an issue please call 311 at 423-643-6311

Click here to view information on the proposed FEMA Floodplain Map Update

Check Mocassin Bend Wastewater Treatment Plant Information for sanitary sewer information

Photo by Phillip Stevens and Matt Lea