GRAND RAPIDS – Grand Valley State University researchers have found the benefits outweigh the costs of Grand Rapids’ investment in green infrastructure to limit stormwater runoff.

Advocates say the findings are significant for quantifying the environmental benefits of projects that cost more upfront compared to traditional “gray infrastructure” that simply diverts stormwater to the Grand River, posing flood and pollution risks. Green infrastructure includes porous pavement, rain gardens and the preservation of natural areas.

While city officials have a plan for deploying green infrastructure on public property, the extent to which developers and other private property owners will invest in such projects remains unclear. The question comes down to how to incentivize private property owners to bear the costs of a project that benefits the public, according to researchers.

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