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Adapting to Climate Change with Green Infrastructure: Opportunities in the Charles River Watershed

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Recent reports indicate that the Greater Boston area is likely to experience significant impacts to water resources from climate change in the coming century. The most effective water resource adaptation strategies are likely to be those which protect and restore natural hydrology, reducing and reversing the impacts of land use and infrastructure development. The protection and creation of green infrastructure at a variety of spatial scales is a key, cost effective way to improve the current urban environment and to help adapt to the expected water resource impacts of climate change. Historical precedents for using green infrastructure in the Charles River watershed, in particular the Emerald Necklace and the Natural Valley Storage project, have provided multiple benefits lasting over many decades. Today, with many tributaries buried in pipes and limited open vegetated space available in urban areas, new approaches are needed to create green infrastructure. Several urban green infrastructure design strategies and pilot projects are presented to highlight the numerous opportunities in the Charles River watershed.

Keywords: Climate Change Adaptation; Green Infrastructure; Green Streets; River Restoration; Urban Restoration

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2010-01-01

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  • Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation is an archive of papers published in the proceedings of the annual Water Environment Federation® Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC® ) and specialty conferences held since the year 2000. These proceedings are not peer reviewed.

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