Green infrastructure (GI), such as permeable pavement, rain gardens, tree-well planters, or bioswales, can be used as cost-effective, resilient approaches to managing stormwater at its source while delivering environmental, social, and economic benefits for your community. GreenPlan-IT is a versatile open-source toolset that helps aid municipalities with their efforts to plan and evaluate the placement of green infrastructure in the landscape and track the effectiveness of these installations in reducing stormwater run-off, PCB, and mercury in receiving waters. A component of the Green Plan Bay Area project, GreenPlan-IT is a planning level tool that was developed by SFEI in collaboration with the San Francisco Estuary Partnership, a technical advisory committee, pilot partners, and BASMAA to provide Bay Area municipalities with the ability to evaluate multiple management alternatives using green infrastructure for addressing stormwater issues in urban watersheds. GreenPlan-IT combines sound science and engineering principles with GIS analysis and optimization techniques to support the cost-effective selection and placement of Green Infrastructure (GI) at a watershed scale.  Tool outputs can be used to develop quantitatively-derived watershed master plans to guide future GI implementation for improving water quality in the San Francisco Bay and its tributary watersheds.

Structurally, the GreenPlan-IT comprises four components:

  1. a GIS-based Site Locator Tool to identify potential GI sites;
  2. a Modeling Tool that quantifies anticipated watershed-scale runoff and pollutant load reduction from GI sites;
  3. an Optimization Tool that uses a cost-benefit analysis to identify the best combinations of GI types and number of sites within a watershed for achieving flow and/or load reduction goals;
  4. and a Tracker Tool that helps municipalities to track their placement of green infrastructure in the landscape via an online tool. Once placed on the map, then the features enter a portfolio to calculate total PCB, mercury, and stormwater flow reductions.

The four tool components were designed as standalone modules to provide flexibility and their interaction is either through data exchange, or serving as a subroutine to another tool.

A wealth of information about the project, including how to download and use the tool, can be found on the GreenPlan-IT website.

Programs and Focus Areas: 
Clean Water Program
Watershed Monitoring and Modeling
Environmental Informatics Program
Software Engineering
Geographic Information Systems
Location Information