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JUNEAU - Alaska communities have an opportunity to jump start their green infrastructure planning efforts to prevent water pollution and improve water quality because of a new grant program supported by economic recovery funds.
The Department of Environmental Conservation received $236,000 in stimulus funds, out of $39 million nationally, for water quality management planning.
DEC is using $80,000 for the green infrastructure grants. The rest will be used to develop water-related elements of an Alaska Climate Change Adaptation Strategy.
Stormwater runoff from large areas of impervious surfaces such as parking lots, buildings and roads pollute lakes, rivers and oceans, DEC said. Green infrastructure mitigates the pollution by using soils and vegetation to infiltrate, evaporate and recycle polluted stormwater run-off. It includes practices such as vegetated roofs, porous pavements and planted swales.
Because the stimulus funds are required to be spent quickly, DEC is partnering with the Department of Natural Resources urban forestry program to distribute the money as soon as possible.