New public service media project: Water Blues Green Solutions

June 4, 2013 | Development, Environment, EPA, Report, Stormwater

Water is a limited resource, essential for life. Just as we recognize the value of water, so must we recognize the value of natural systems to store, clean, and maintain clean and fresh water.

Americans often underestimate – or simply ignore – the value of “ecosystem services” which are natural ecosystems that serve as infrastructure. But as planners, developers, cities and local governments work to find sustainable ways to supply clean water and manage wastewater and storm water, ecosystem services are playing an increasingly significant role.

The public service media project Water Blues, Green Solutions is an integrated initiative designed to promote public education and awareness of the so-called “green infrastructure” and how natural processes can interface with and complement existing gray or manmade infrastructure. The ultimate project goal is an informed citizenry that can intelligently assess and influence policy and practice.

Stories of impact:

Water Blues, Green Solutions will explore stories about real people making real changes to water infrastructure in four cities across the country.

  • Philadelphia: A water department is engaging citizens to create and implement an ambitious green infrastructure program to bring new life to neighborhood and communities.
  • Portland: Environmental leaders are leading the nation on the path to a sustainable future by successfully implementing green infrastructure projects in Portland that can serve as models for other cities.
  • San Antonio: City organizers are driving a movement to conserve, reuse, and protect the Edwards Aquifer and restore the ecosystem of the San Antonio River.
  • Bronx New York: Community organizers are working together to clean up the Bronx River transforming it into a vital part of the urban environment and creating new opportunities for the people who live in the Bronx.

Integrated education and outreach:

Water Blues Green Solutions is an initiative that integrates a nationally distributed documentary with online and community outreach resources to achieve wide dissemination and outreach that is in alignment with existing
green infrastructure initiatives and public education efforts.

  • On- line resources: Online and mobile delivery of media, content and resources
    • Website—a robust, interactive project website as a resource for engaging people in identifying and solving water issues in their city or town
    • Social media feeds—Facebook, Twitter, Storify, and Pinterest
    • Story catalog—a library of visual assets and stories broadly available for use by educators, advocates, and the interested public
  • Community Activation: The project is working with more than 20 engagement partners to elevate water literacy and empower water advocates in communities across the country.
    • Local reporting initiative—small grants to public radio stations for local reporting on green infrastructure problems and solutions
    • Partner engagement—distribution and marketing through partners dedicated to promoting green infrastructure to their stakeholders and a coordinated strategy to facilitate experts at the local level for community activation events
    • Water action toolkit—an online resource for hands-on community activation

K-12 and higher education learning modules: The short-story design allows media incorporation into K-12 curriculum,
as well as credit and non-credit courses in water, landscape architecture, civil engineering, and other disciplines.

Confirmed engagement partners include the following organizations:

  • Americ an Society of Civil Engineers
  • American Society of Landscape Architects
  • U.S. Botanic Garden
  • Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center
  • Sustainable SITES Initiative™
  • U.S. Water Alliance
  • Ecological Society of America
  • Society for Ecological Restoration
  • U.S. Green Building Council
  • The Conservation Fund
  • National Wildlife Federation
  • American Rivers
  • Land Trust Alliance
  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency