Deerfield enacts green infrastructure policy

DEERFIELD — In celebration of Earth Day, the Deerfield Selectboard adopted an innovative “Green Infrastructure and Climate Resiliency Policy” on April 22.

According to a press release from the town, the goals of this new policy are to promote climate resiliency and the use of green infrastructure in public and private development as a cost-effective and sustainable practice for storm water management.

The policy is expected to be a model for other communities around the region and the state, as they work toward green climate change and adaptation solutions, the release states. Development of the new policy was funded using a Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness grant from the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs.

“Deerfield is one of the leading small communities in Massachusetts in addressing climate resiliency,” said Selectboard member Carolyn Shores Ness, “and the town’s new cutting-edge policy is another example of the town’s commitment to using nature-based solutions to prepare for climate change.”

Keeping in line with the new policy, going forward, Deerfield officials will:

■evaluate new municipal projects to determine if they will make the town more climate resilient and green;

■install new and replacement culverts that are designed for fish and wildlife passage, and sized to handle larger storm events expected with climate change;

■use green street and parking lot designs with tree box filters, permeable pavement and curbless planted medians and shoulders;

■purchase electric or hybrid municipal vehicles;

■install electric vehicle charging stations and prioritize electric vehicle parking spaces;

■support “Solarize” neighborhood programs to incentivize group solar panel purchases;

■conduct energy audits for all municipal buildings, and use MassEnergyInsight data to track and reduce energy use;

■expand green practices at existing and new municipal buildings, schools and facilities, such as incorporating rain gardens, green roofs and porous pavement;

■install LED lighting for traffic lights, street lights and municipal buildings;

■install green storm water infrastructure in public green spaces;

■work toward having the town generate its own green power using solar or wind installations;

■and work with power companies to bury power lines to reduce vulnerability to storm-related power outages.

Selectboard member Trevor McDaniel noted “Deerfield is already at work on numerous projects to implement this policy, including designing and constructing green streets in the town center, green parking lots at Frontier (Regional) School and the town center, and rainwater harvesting and rain gardens at schools.”

Author: Going Green

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