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Green Development

Green Development Contacts

Jennifer Watson
Division of Water Resources
William R. Snodgrass Tennessee Tower
312 Rosa L. Parks Avenue, 11th Floor
Nashville, TN 37243
Office: 615-532-0359

John Chlarson
Tennessee Stormwater Association
Office: 731-423-3710

Since 2008, the Tennessee Stormwater Association (TNSA), the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), and the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) have partnered together with the Tennessee Department of Environment & Conservation (TDEC) to offer a Green Development Grant program that was developed as an effort to encourage the advancement of green infrastructure projects across the state.

Green infrastructure refers to stormwater management systems that mimic nature by soaking up and storing water. More technically, green infrastructure refers to the use of systems and practices that use or mimic natural processes to infiltrate, re-use stormwater runoff generated at the site, or evapotranspirate. Green infrastructure can be used in a wide range of landscape applications in place of, or in addition to, more traditional stormwater control measures.

2013 Green Development Grant Winners!

This year’s grant cycle represents the third time the Green Development grants have been offered to local governments. The four grant awards announced today join efforts in the cities of Athens, Chattanooga, Lakeland, Memphis, Knoxville, Nashville and the Southeast Tennessee Development District which were part of the 2008 and 2012 funding initiatives for projects ranging from pervious concrete parking or walking paths to green infrastructure improvements to a Green Development Excellence Award Program.

The 2013 applicants and projects include:

  • Town of Farragut: $19,300 – Farragut’s project consists of an above-ground artistic rainwater harvesting component (Cistern) which is a component of the Town of Farragut’s larger Outdoor Classroom and Water Quality Demonstration Site. This is an ambitious project combining a variety of demonstration elements as well as community space for civic engagement and citizen interaction with the many resources that nature provides. Green Development Funds will be used for the installation of the system, interpretive signage and a mural.
  • University of Tennessee: $21,900 – Coupling student-led rain garden projects on the “urbanized” east campus with constructed stormwater wetlands at UT Gardens along the banks of the Upper Tennessee River to decrease stormwater runoff and pollution, increase awareness and support ongoing educational programs.
  • City of Morristown: $21,900 – The city, along with multiple committed private partners, is redeveloping the downtown farmer’s market including removing 5,000 square feet of existing impervious parking lot and replacing it with a community green space. This space will include expansive lawns, a wide landscape buffer and construction of a new 400-foot long porous walkway. The city is committed to a long term environmentally conscious revitalization project that includes a detailed and ongoing publicity campaign via print and electronic media as well as signage and tours to promote green development.
  • Memphis and Shelby County Sustainability Office: $21,900 – This sustainability office will be offering a Low Impact Development (LID)/Green Infrastructure workshop March 6-7, 2014.It will feature keynote speaker Stephen Luoni of the University of Arkansas who was instrumental in producing Low Impact Development: a Design Manual for Urban Areas. The workshop will be open to the public, but geared toward developers, designers, and municipal stormwater decision makers. [Look for more detailed information in the new year].

    Government and non-profit partners who have agreed to help in the planning and implementation:
    Memphis-Shelby County Office of Sustainability, Shelby County Engineering, City of Memphis Stormwater Program, Memphis Chapter of Urban Land Institute, Tennessee Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects (TNASLA), Tennessee American Planning Association (TAPA),
    West Tennessee Branch-American Society of Civil Engineers (West TN ASCE)

    A design competition will be launched with a call for entries in April 2014. Design teams will consist of at least one engineer and one landscape architect, with a minimum of one being local. There will be one to three proposed sites to choose from for competition entry. The designs will be due in July with final awards presented in September. Winners will get a monetary compensation between $10,000-$15,000.

Please check back for updates on the next Green Development Grant offering. Applications will be available June 2014.

October 15, 2013 Press Release - Agencies Announce $85,000 in Green Development Grants


2008 Green Development Grant Recipients in Tennessee
In response to the local interest generated by the Green Development Conference held in Nashville in 2008, a new Green Development Grant opportunity was created to fund projects implementing green infrastructure and low impact development practices.

For the first Green Development Grant solicitation, seventeen local governments responded with funding requests totaling over $450,000. The quantity and quality of proposed projects was very encouraging. Four projects worth at total of $100,000 were selected for funding from this particular solicitation: City of Athens, City of Lakeland, City of Knoxville and City of Nashville.

  • City of Athens (McMinn County)
    The city of Athens received $30,000 to transform a conventional parking area shared with the YMCA, using pervious concrete parking stalls, pervious geoblock drive land and a rain garden.
  • City of Knoxville (Knox County)
    The city of Knoxville received $10,000 to develop a public dog park in the downtown area featuring permeable surfacing materials on the walking path, an infiltration trench and enhancement of the riparian zone.
  • City of Lakeland (Shelby County)
    The city of Lakeland received $30,000 for the expansion of the parking lot that serves city hall, a city park and soccer fields utilizing a pervious concrete application that reduces runoff by allowing infiltration into the surface.
  • Metro Nashville (Davidson County)
    Metro Nashville received $30,000 for the development of the McCabe Park and Community Center, which will include a green roof, permeable pavement and rain gardens.

2012 Green Development Grant Award Winners!

The 2012 applicants and projects include:

  • City of Memphis: In partnership with Memphis City Schools, Memphis and Shelby County Offices of Sustainability, and the Memphis Botanic Gardens will design and install 3 rain gardens and associated educational curriculum materials to 3 schools sites.
  • City of Knoxville: Stormwater infrastructure retrofit. This project will separate the stormwater from the sanitary sewer system, create a rain garden/bioinfiltration planter, install pollution control catch basins, and provide system storage that allows infiltration into ground water.
  • City of Chattanooga: Low Impact Development Excellence Award Program. The LID Excellence Awards will recognize outstanding achievement of land development/redevelopment projects exceeding regulatory requirements or meeting regulatory requirements through innovative Green Infrastructure technologies.
  • City of Athens: Green Street Initiative. In partnership with Tennessee Public Works Institute and Tennessee Transportation Assistant Program will purchase of a Spray/Squeegee machine and applying traditional and experimental technologies to local roads, trails, and parking lots while monitoring the environmental benefits of creating a Green Perpetual Pavement Program. City of Athens will share the technology and equipment with cities and counties across the state.
  • Southeast Tennessee Development District: Outreach, education, and planning project to promote stormwater planning for rural communities in the 10 county region of Southeast Tennessee. The SETDD will partner with fifteen municipalities and five counties in Southeast Tennessee to study and develop amendments to land use regulations to improve storm water run-off quality.

Helpful Links

Tennessee Stormwater Association

Tennessee Valley Authority

Tennessee Department of Transportation

Case Studies and Resources

U.S. Water Alliance

SE Tennessee Development District Green Infrastructure Handbook

American Rivers: Green Infrastructure

Reduce Runoff website

Low Impact Development

Green Infrastructure

Green Infrastructure Case Studies: Municipal Policies for Managing Stormwater with Green Infrastructure

Green Infrastructure Cost Benefits
Green infrastructure can often provide more benefits at lesser cost than single-purpose gray infrastructure.  A growing body of research and experience demonstrates the potential for green infrastructure to improve the triple bottom line at multiple scales.  This section provides access to some of the most recent cost-benefit analyses, as well as several tools that developers and communities may consult to inform their own analyses.

Low Impact Development  - an economic fact sheet

Reducing Stormwater Costs through Low Impact Development (LID) Strategies and Practices

Economics and LID Practices

A Triple Bottom Line Assessment of Traditional and Green Infrastructure Options for Controlling CSO Events in Philadelphia's Watersheds: Final Report

Center for Watershed Protection (CWP) - Stormwater Stormwater Manager's Resource Center

Banking on Green: A Look at How Green Infrastructure Can Save Municipalities Money and Provide Economic Benefits Community-wide

The Chesapeake Stormwater Network is pleased to announce the release of its 3-part instructional video series on Low Impact Development construction, in-stallation and maintenance:

    1. Guide to Proper Construction Techniques for contractors, local governments and in-volved homeowners
    2. Inspecting LID Stormwater Practices: A Guide to Proper LID Inspection Practices for local governments and contractors
    3. Stormwater BMP and LID Maintenance: A Guide to Proper Maintenance Practices for Local Government Staff and Landscapers

Low Impact Development (LID) "Barrier Busters" Fact Sheet Series EPA released a fact sheet series on the benefits of Low Impact Development (LID) and addressing obstacles to wider adoption of LID.

Permitting Green Infrastructure: A Guide to Improving Municipal Stormwater Permits and Pro-tecting Water Quality American Rivers released a guide to permitting approaches that encourage or re-quire “low impact development” or “green infrastructure." The guide combines model permit language with excerpts from comment letters that have helped to drive permit evolution, and is intended to be a resource for community and watershed advocates.

9 Ways to Make Green Infrastructure Work: This report summarizes green infrastructure practice and presents nine successful ways by which planners and policy makers are integrating this innovative technology with land use and site planning decisions. These include measures to secure space for green infrastructure, find the funding to pay for construction and management and rethink management responsibilities.

Utilizing Green Infrastructure as a Cost-Effective Means to Reduce Stormwater Runoff and Improve Water Quality

Rain Gardens: Saving Streams One Yard at a Time. The video discusses the benefits rain gardens can confer on water quality, drinking water costs, flood control, and aquatic and land habitats. It also touches on rain garden design elements and plant selection.

For more information on the Green Development Grant process contact Jennifer Watson at or phone at (615) 532-0359.