The Boston Parks and Recreation Department was recently selected by the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) and Southwest Airlines to receive a $10,000 Community Outreach and Education Grant that will be used to engage Boston residents in the planning, design, implementation and ongoing maintenance of a green stormwater infrastructure project.

The grant program is part of NRPA’s Great Urban Parks Campaign, which aims to improve environmental and social outcomes in underserved communities through green stormwater infrastructure projects in local parks.  As part of the program, grants totaling $30,000 were recently awarded to three communities to help engage residents in the planning, implementation and ongoing maintenance of local green stormwater infrastructure projects.  The three agencies that received grants are:

  • Boston Parks and Recreation Department
  • The Greening of Detroit; Detroit, Michigan
  • Tualatin Riverkeepers; Tualatin, Oregon

NRPA will work in partnership with these communities to identify best practices and innovative strategies that effectively empower the community to influence the design of a green stormwater infrastructure project that best suits their needs, while also benefiting the local environment. Unlike traditional gray stormwater management, green stormwater infrastructure uses natural processes to filter and slow the flow of water to protect and restore clean and healthy waterways. Publicly owned parks are ideal venues for the installation of these solutions as they offer a variety of benefits beyond stormwater mitigation, especially in underserved communities where flooding and water quality are a concern.

The Green Stormwater Infrastructure Community Outreach and Education Grant will supplement an existing traditional public input process with thought-provoking intervention projects to encourage collaboration among neighbors and local organizations while exploring resiliency measures.   The green stormwater infrastructure project being developed by the Boston Parks Department is part of The Moakley Park Vision Plan that will engage residents in the revitalization of Moakley Park’s 60 acres.

Climate resiliency of South Boston is a focus as the park’s location along Dorchester Bay provides an opportunity to protect existing and new development from the projected sea level rise and stormwater flooding, while reducing the urban heat island effect in an environmental justice neighborhood.  The Parks Department will use the grant to utilize a mobile, interactive “Climate Kiosk” to introduce new elements of climate resiliency.  By making the information accessible, residents will be educated and empowered to take an active role in advocating for the protection of their homes and community.

To learn more about NRPA’s Great Urban Parks Campaign and the Community Outreach and Education Grant, visit www.nrpa.org/about-greeninfrastructure.  To learn more about NRPA, visit www.nrpa.org.