Green Infrastructure - Encourage Regional Watershed Management and Planning

hydrologic cycle

How Land Use Effects Hydrology

West Michigan Watersheds

Recommendation Overview Protect Critical Biodiversity Areas Support Development of Trails and Greenway Network
Encourage Regional Watershed and Management Planning Protect Our Dunes and Shoreline Promote Integration of Green Infrastructure in Urban Settings
Promote Regional Farmland Preservation Local Implementation Data Sharing

Watershed management is becoming an increasingly important dimension of conservation and land use planning. Water quality and quantity are two important ecosystem services provided by green infrastructure, as it protects natural hydrologic cycles. One of the most obvious areas to target for protection are riparian lands, those that are in contact with rivers, streams, and lakes.

Water Facts:

  • 97.5% of the earth's water is in the ocean.
  • Of the 2.5% that is fresh water, 74% is stored in icecaps and glaciers and 25.6% is stored as groundwater.
  • Lakes, rivers, and soil moisture account for only 0.01% of the world's water.
  • Water quality and scarcity is becoming one of the leading global environmental issues.
  • Over the last century, world population has tripled, but water use has multiplied six-fold.
  • The United States has the highest per capita use of water in the world.
  • 25% of the fresh surface water on earth is in the Great Lakes.
  • In the Great Lakes, only 28% of water is used for public water supplies; 29% is used for irrigation and 24% for industrial purposes
  • In developing countries, over 80% of water is used for agriculture.
  • Globally, approximately 1.4 billion people currently live without clean drinking water.

The Hydrologic Cycle

How Land Use Affects Hydrology

Watersheds are an Important Organizing Principle when Considering Green Infrastructure in an Area


  • Promote coordinated multi-jurisdictional land use and infrastructure planning on a watershed basis.
  • Support regional best practice in watershed management.
  • Encourage the integration of local, state and federal watershed initiatives.
  • Encourage the integration of development standards and practices that preserve natural hydrological flows.

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