Green Infrastructure & Stormwater

A bioretention system in South Burlington

Stormwater management is one of the most pressing issues for resource managers in the cold climate of the Lake Champlain basin. Runoff from developed lands can carry pollutants to our waterways and impact the health of aquatic ecosystems. 

Green infrastructure (GI), which includes green stormwater infrastructure (GSI), is a cost-effective and resilient approach to managing stormwater impacts while also providing many co-benefits to communities. Green infrastructure uses nature-based solutions such as vegetation, soils, and other elements and practices to restore some of the natural processes required to manage water and create healthier human environments.

Examples of GI include: rain gardens, rain barrels, vegetated swales or channels, permeable pavement, berms or steps of stone for infiltration, vegetated riparian buffers, bioretention ponds, and others.

Learn more from an informative video on stormwater management from the Lake Champlain Basin Program (LCBP).

What We Do

Applied Research

Lake Champlain Sea Grant is a leader in green infrastructure research and outreach throughout the Lake Champlain basin. Research supported by Lake Champlain Sea Grant led to data-driven updates to the Vermont Stormwater Management Manual in which green infrastructure practices are featured as preferred methods for managing runoff from developed lands.

Lake Champlain Sea Grant also worked with partners to create a Bioretention and Gravel Wetland Soil Media Testing Guidance document. This resource presents research-based recommendations for bioretention and gravel wetland projects for designers and contractors. It includes soil media specifications and required soil testing for phosphorus.

Professional Networking & Outreach

The Green Infrastructure Collaborative, a partnership between Lake Champlain Sea Grant and the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation combines efforts to bridge the gap among research, extension, and application of Green Stormwater Infrastructure and natural asset management in Vermont. The Collaborative leads a statewide Green Infrastructure Roundtable. Professionals from design consulting firms, non-profit organizations, state agencies, municipalities, and academia gather to discuss persistent stormwater management concerns and new green infrastructure methods to address them. Communication via a listserv educates and informs hundreds of professionals about the newest information on GSI practice and performance to improve water quality. Join the GI Roundtable mailing list.

An Advisory Committee guides the activities of the Green Infrastructure Roundtable. The committee consists of representatives who work in this space and hold positions in research, environmental consulting, engineering, municipalities, and with the Department of Environmental Conservation. The GI Roundtable strategic plan was updated in fall 2021 (PDF). Please reach out to the Green Infrastructure Collaborative Coordinator Jill Sarazen (jillian.sarazen [at] for more information. 

What You Can Do

Self-Guided Tours of Green Infrastructure

Tour green stormwater infrastructure by bike, on foot, or from your desk! Lake Champlain Sea Grant has produced bike and walking tour maps of green stormwater infrastructure in four Vermont cities.

How-To Guides and Resources to Explore

Visit our GI Resources page for a full list of how-to guides, programs, and organizations to help you implement green infrastructure practices.