Onondaga County to Host National Green Infrastructure Summit – Agenda to Highlight Save the Rain Program

in News

(October 17, 2013)

U.S. EPA Invites Green Infrastructure Partner Communities From Around The Nation To Convene In Syracuse For Two Day Dialogue

Syracuse, NY – Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney today announced that with Congress’ vote to re-open the federal government, Onondaga County and US EPA will proceed with a planned Green Infrastructure Community Summit beginning Sunday and running through Tuesday, October 22, 2013. Absent yesterday’s vote to fund the federal government, it was very likely the summit would have been postponed or canceled.

In early September, US EPA Deputy Administrator Robert Perciasepe invited more than a twenty green infrastructure partner communities from around the nation to join him and EPA staff in Syracuse for a two day green infrastructure summit. The summit agenda includes discussions on selecting and funding green infrastructure projects, how best to manage green infrastructure maintenance, as well as comments on scientific research of green infrastructure technologies.

The two-day summit, co-hosted by Onondaga County, the City of Syracuse, Syracuse University’s Center of Excellence and SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry will be held at SUNY ESF’s new Gateway facility. ESF’s recently opened, LEED Platinum Gateway building features numerous innovations in sustainable design and energy systems as well as one of Syracuse’s newest and largest green roof installations.

“We couldn’t be happier to proceed with this long planned event and welcome USEPA and our fellow Green Infrastructure Community Partners to Syracuse; October is wonderful time of year to showcase the beauty of Central New York,” said County Executive Mahoney. “We’re really looking forward to sharing some of the lessons that we’ve learned through the Save the Rain program as well as learning from others that are facing similar challenges,” Mahoney continued.

Green Infrastructure helps community’s to manage stormwater holistically, maintaining healthy waters by weaving natural processes, such as bio-swales, tree plantings, green roofs and porous parking lots into the built environment. Since 2009, Onondaga County has installed or funded the installation of more than 100 green infrastructure projects throughout the City of Syracuse and suburban communities.

In April 2011, EPA designated Onondaga County as one of the Agency’s first generation Green Infrastructure Partner Communities; EPA Deputy Administrator Bob Perciasepe and Regional Administrator Judith A. Enck, will return to Syracuse next week as Summit hosts and participants. In 2011, EPA selected one community from each of its ten multi-state Regions as a community partner; in 2012; EPA designated an additional seventeen communities as GI community partners. All twenty seven communities have been invited by EPA to participate in the October summit, invitees include:

Chelsea, MA, Anacostia River Watershed, Jacksonville, FL, Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District, Austin, TX, Kansas City, MO, Denver, CO, Los Angeles, CA, Puyallup, WA, Barnstable, MA, Beaufort SC, Camden, NJ, Dallas, TX, Franklin, MA, Pittsburgh, PA, Seattle, WA, Baltimore, MD, Chicago, IL, San Francisco, CA, Milwaukee, WI and Philadelphia, PA.

County Executive Mahoney launched the award winning Save the Rain program in 2008 as an alternative to building three planned sewage treatment plants in the City of Syracuse. In 2009 and with USEPA’s support, Onondaga County received permission to alter its lake clean-up program and incorporate green infrastructure technologies into the County’s overall combined sewer overflow mitigation strategy. To date, Onondaga County has invested more than $30 million in green infrastructure technologies.

Additional information on EPA’s Green Infrastructure Community Partners

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