Stormwater & Green Infrastructure

Stormwater & Green Infrastructure

Most people live in increasingly impervious worlds—sidewalks, streets, parking lots, and buildings fill the environment. Hard surfaces don’t absorb rain, letting it run off, flow into nearby waterways, and carry accumulated contaminants. As climate change brings bigger, more frequent storms, managing this precipitation as it hits the ground is even more critical to prevent flooding and protect water quality. Simple solutions, including installing rain gardens, can help by bringing green back into the environment.

Programs & Initiatives


Stormwater@Home is a collection of residential-scale green infrastructure resources filled with information that can encourage people to integrate rainwater management practices at their own homes. The resources include videos and brochures inspired by the Red Oak Rain Garden, a demonstration landscape on the University of Illinois campus.

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Natural Lawn Care

Maintaining a healthy lawn can be an important aspect of homeownership, but sometimes conventional lawn care practices negatively impact our water resources. For example, fertilizers and pesticides that are used to grow thick green grass can run off your lawn into nearby stormwater drains and pollute local waterways. The solution is to create an attractive and environmentally-friendly landscape using natural lawn care principles promoted by IISG’s Lawn to Lake Midwest program. This program reduces polluted runoff in our waterbodies and enhances a lawn’s natural ability to thrive.

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Green Stormwater Infrastructure: Illinois Groundwork

Green stormwater infrastructure (GSI) uses design strategies, such as rain gardens and permeable pavement systems that slow, cool, and cleanse stormwater to alleviate urban and downstream flooding and to improve water quality. Our Illinois Groundwork website provides information on GSI, an in-depth design process guide, and additional resources such as a plant finder, sizing tool, built examples, and regulations to consider.

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Purdue Rainscaping Education

​Rainscaping includes the use of sustainable landscape design and management practices at both the household and community scales to prevent pollution from reaching water bodies by directing stormwater to be absorbed by plants and soils. The Rainscaping Education Program provides training and resources on practices that can be installed in a residential setting or small scale public spaces project.

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Red Oak Rain Garden

The Red Oak Rain Garden located on the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign campus soaks up rainwater, enhances the community aesthetic and educational experience, and promotes well-being for everyone who visits.

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Calumet Collaborative Training & Maintenance Workgroup

The Calumet region of Chicago experiences chronic urban flooding, resulting in property damage, polluted runoff, infrastructure stress, and community disinvestment. The workgroup engages in coordinated planning to improve stormwater management, helping address the negative impacts of urban flooding through green infrastructure.

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Nutrient Loss

The Illinois Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy is a blueprint for improving water quality at home and all the way down to the Gulf of Mexico by reducing nitrogen and phosphorus losses from farm fields, city streets, and wastewater treatment plants. Released in 2015, the strategy outlines a suite of voluntary and mandatory practices that are expected to ultimately cut nutrient loading to rivers and streams by 45 percent.

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Research Projects

Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant funds original research projects that support and complement our education and outreach activities. The link below will take you the Stormwater and Green Infrastructure section of our funded research database, where you will find project descriptions, contact information, and final reports and publications.

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Stormwater & Green Infrastructure Contact Information

Topic Specialist

Eliana Brown
Stormwater Specialist
Margaret Schneemann
Water Resource Economist

Research Projects

Carolyn Foley
Research Coordinator


Ethan Chitty
Administrative Assistant

Education & Training

Terri Hallesy
Education Coordinator
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