Sonoran Desert Green Infrastructure Resource Library

Tucson, Arizona

In recent years, green infrastructure has become a proven solution to address many of the challenges created by urban stormwater. By soaking up stormwater and harvesting it to grow trees and plants, green infrastructure can provide multiple benefits to landowners, neighborhoods and communities. Green infrastructure can be particularly useful for transportation projects by reducing stormwater pollution at its source, minimizing localized street flooding, and cooling urban roadway systems. 

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American Rivers is committed to supporting Transportation Departments in their move to embrace green infrastructure solutions. Our previous report, Rivers and Roads, highlights techniques for planning, funding and designing green infrastructure for urban areas, and relates two case studies for using nature-based solutions to reduce roadway runoff impacts in Atlanta and Toledo.

However, this report and many of the resources that highlight green infrastructure techniques feature programs and projects from the Pacific Northwest or Atlantic Northeast – places where it rains a lot. Building green infrastructure for desert communities requires a slightly different skill set and expertise.

Working with long-time partners in Tucson, Arizona, American Rivers produced this resource library tailored for transportation professionals and community planners working in arid environments. While primarily focused on Tucson and the surrounding Pima County region, the planning, funding, and project design elements it discusses will be relevant to other Southwestern communities.

The report is broken down into three sections: Integrating Green Infrastructure into Project Planning, Funding Green Infrastructure as Part of Transportation Projects, and Green Infrastructure Design, Implementation, and Maintenance for Arid Landscape Transportation Projects. It contains stepwise checklists for integrating green infrastructure into roadway projects, as well as design and maintenance checklists. An annotated bibliography of design guides provides links to technical standards developed by Southwestern cities.

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