Alisa Diaz Richardson, Managing Engineer Environmental Division, Rhode Island Department of Transportation
Shaun O'Rourke, Director, Stormwater & Resiliency, Rhode Island Infrastructure Bank
We all love green stormwater infrastructure. It cleans water and air, cools urban areas, helps prevent flooding, makes communities more beautiful and livable and so much more. Creating the right funding scheme and partnerships to maximize projects and benefits while assuring long term maintenance is always the problem. Not every community is ready to roll out a stormwater utility. In Rhode Island, two state agencies are partnering with local non-profits and municipalities to put lots of green infrastructure on the ground quickly. Our innovative funding scheme turned a state MS4 consent decree into a tool to leverage partners and additional funding while making new friends, building green infrastructure and training local green workforces. This workshop will describe in detail the win/win/win/win structure we call "Let's Make a Deal" and provide the details of the pilot project that has now bloomed into a statewide model for siting and accelerating green infrastructure installation on the ground while assuring long term maintenance. Since the program first began in 2018 with one pilot partnership we have installed 5 stormwater control measures, matched over $625K in state funds with more than $500K in leveraged funds, accounted for 9.3 acres of consent decree credit, and started three more partnerships statewide and counting... Bring your state and local MS4s with consent decrees, your state infrastructure banks, your watershed groups and groundwork crews to learn how we crafted this unprecedented program. Then steal it and bring it back home. When it comes to building climate resilience into our landscapes, speed and partnerships are of the essence.