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How to Get Started

The list of suggestions below, developed with the cooperation of seasoned stormwater experts, will help you bring GSI to your community. The list includes instrumental ingredients that will show you how to navigate the varied rules from one municipality to the next as you build your plan and communicate with local partners, stakeholders and experts.


Get Connected

Identify key internal stakeholders.

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This could include staff in public works, transportation, parks and recreation or other municipality departments who may also participate as part of a future project team.

Identify external stakeholders and partners.

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This could include local businesses, schools and neighborhoods who may also participate as part of a future project team.

Identify and establish lines of communication.

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Clear and effective communication across departments and with internal and external stakeholders will be key throughout the process.

Choose a Focus

Identify areas with stormwater management problems.

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Work with other municipal departments to identify locations where flooding or other stormwater issues are occurring in town.

Identify sites best fit for GSI implementation.

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Using the list of identified problem locations, determine which ones might be best managed with a GSI solution. Consider a smaller project for your first implementation of GSI practices before diving into a larger infrastructure resolution.

Know the Rules

Research city and state policies.

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Local codes or ordinances may have existing restrictions in place that could impact GSI implementation. Speak with a colleague in development review or permitting who is familiar with local ordinances and can advise regarding any constraints.

After completion of a project, consider whether policy updates may need to be submitted to assist with future GSI projects.

Get to know an expert.

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Talk with a stormwater professional such as an engineer or landscape architect in the area about considerations for a GSI project in your region.

Research permitting requirements.

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Some infrastructure projects may require filing or pulling permits, which will need to be considered when planning project cost and timeline.

Identify any contract/bidding requirements.

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Necessity for multiple vendor bids or other requirements to initiate a contract should be accounted for in their potential impact to project planning and timeline.

Do your Research

Reach out to other communities that have implemented similar projects.

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Creating a network of municipal staff in other cities who have undertaken similar GSI projects can prove a great resource throughout planning and implementation.

Know the terrain.

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Use the Basin Management Action Plan (BMAP) map to determine if any local waterbodies are impaired. View BMAP Information.

Explore existing plans and projects.

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Does your community have an existing stormwater master plan(s)? If there is a local stormwater fee, determine how it is being used. Assess if there are any existing capital improvement projects that could leverage mobilization costs as a testing opportunity for GSI features.

Visit other communities with similar implementations for inspiration.

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Seeing GSI solutions in person is a great way to better understand and promote the environmental and aesthetic benefits of nature-based infrastructure. This is also a great opportunity to ask questions about the project’s implementation process and continued maintenance.

Identify vendors (e.g. engineers, designers) and request quotes.

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Use the network of municipal staff you have built to gather vendor recommendations to reach out for bids and timeline estimates.

Identify municipal or grant funding sources and submit applications for your project.

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Some projects may be covered entirely by local municipal funding, while others may require additional outside funds. Keep in mind that some grants or loans may require matching funds.

Make it Happen

Finalize the project team.

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Your team should include internal and external stakeholders who are invested in the process of GSI implementation and the benefits these solutions bring to your community. They will be your biggest champions!

Finalize a funding plan.

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Incorporate any vendor quotes, grant awards and budget allocations into a complete project funding plan. Be sure to account for a contingency budget.

Create a communication/marketing plan.

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Make a plan for how you will share project updates with stakeholders and the general public. This may include email campaigns, social media posts, website updates or other channels you use in your community.

Capture your progress throughout the project.

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Take photographs before, during and after your project that you can share as part of your communication updates and final report. Time lapse videos are another great way to engage your community in the process.

Share your success.

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Once you’ve completed the project, send us your success story for inclusion on this website so that other communities can learn from it.