Several weeks ago I was honored to be an invited participant at a small White House sponsored conference to explore how to accelerate the nationwide implementation of Green Infrastructure. It was truly an interesting experience and one that I believe it’s safe to say, the 80 invitees and 20 or so observers from across the country, came away from feeling energized about. Voices were heard, ideas were explored in detail, and action plans expressed.
While or friend, Seth Brown, already wrote all about this, what he doesn’t mention is the ‘behind the scenes’ role he and others at WEF played in working with the White House Council on Environmental Quality to bring the parties to the table (quite literally, as we were all seated at tables in highly orchestrated workgroups) for this conference. The interest of the CEQ in holding this conference in the first place, was undoubtedly piqued by a series of meetings Seth and WEF have put together over the past six months between EPA, other federal government leadership, and small groups of Low Impact Development savvy stormwater industry players. The purpose of these meetings was to explore obstacles (e.g., lack of important enablers including national performance targets, a nationally recognized technology verification process, creative retrofit financing options for local government) and opportunities (e.g., cost savings for developers and public agencies, environmental benefits, quality of life benefits) inherent in the process of fostering implementation of these technologies.
Although historically focused in the dominant segments of the water industry, thankfully, WEF is rapidly moving into the leadership vacuum that exists in the nascent stormwater management industry. If you haven’t looked into membership yet, you should. Founded in 1928, the Water Environment Federation (WEF) is a not-for-profit technical and educational organization of 36,000 individual members and 75 affiliated Member Associations representing water quality professionals around the world. They bring science-based credibility which is sorely needed in the stormwater industry.