Climate Resilience Design and Engineering


Green Infrastructure Training

Green infrastructure systems typically have both vegetative and structural elements that must be maintained proactively. As such, green infrastructure maintenance requirements differ from both gray stormwater maintenance and landscape maintenance. American Rivers has found that "limited opportunities exist for practitioners such as landscape contractors, engineers, or landscape architects to become certified or receive training in operating and maintaining green infrastructure practices. Developing maintenance standards for green infrastructure will create a baseline from which to create tailored trainings and certifications following existing models..."

In a well-structured green infrastructure maintenance training program, the core concepts should include the following:

  • Watersheds, basic hydrology, and stormwater management
  • General regulatory environment, which can differ from location to location
  • What green infrastructure is and how it functions
  • Specific green infrastructure types, including rain gardens, biofiltration, vegetated roofs, stormwater wetlands and ponds, and porous pavement
  • Specific green infrastructure components and how to maintain them

Training can be offered in standalone training classes, as part of a training program, or as part of a certificate or certification program. It usually includes both classroom and "on the job" elements. Green infrastructure maintenance training may also be useful for designers of green infrastructure facilities and for municipal leaders to learn more about the details of implementing green infrastructure, why green infrastructure is useful to a community, and what is involved in its maintenance over the course of its life cycle.

Green infrastructure training programs in NJ and outside of NJ are discussed below.

NJ Training

Rutgers University New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station Cooperative Extension Program

Rutgers Cooperative Extension Service has been working with NJ municipalities to support implementation of green infrastructure, including providing training classes. Rutgers has developed guidance for green infrastructure implementation that typically includes information about maintenance activities, and the cooperative extension also works directly with municipalities to teach the towns how to maintain the green infrastructure that Rutgers has helped them install. Rutgers University has provided green infrastructure design, implementation, and maintenance services for several municipalities in NJ. Rutgers University staff work with communities across NJ to install rain gardens and other types of green infrastructure and offers training to municipalities regarding innovative stormwater management methods once such infrastructure is installed.

Visit the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station's Water Resources website

Green Infrastructure Champions/Duke Farms

The Green Infrastructure Champions program offers training in green infrastructure planning, design and implementation. The program includes ten classes, and one class is dedicated to discussing maintenance of green infrastructure to ensure long term success. The overall goals of the program include enhancing municipal knowledge of green infrastructure through workshops and seminars, engaging community leaders and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in adopting green infrastructure solutions and assisting municipalities in securing funding for green infrastructure projects.

Visit the Green Infrastructure Champions program website

Additional Training Options

In areas of the country where green infrastructure is currently being used for flooding prevention and stormwater management control, there are training programs that are specifically focused on green infrastructure operations and maintenance (O&M). Gray infrastructure is typically only referenced for context or emphasized where shared functions overlap.

National Green Infrastructure Certification Program (NGICP)

Training programs are offered at the national level under the NGICP. The 35-hour program is structured such that it can be tailored to the training needs at the local level. The NGICP includes information on concepts related to green infrastructure facility lifecycle, interpreting and understanding design drawings, and how to document inspections. In the past, sessions have included in-the-field sessions and have been tailored to the local geography.

Visit the NGICP website

Ironbound Community Corporation (ICC) Green Infrastructure Maintenance Training

The ICC of Newark began a green infrastructure training and demonstration program in Ironbound in 2019, establishing a leadership position in NJ for green infrastructure maintenance skill and workforce development. The ICC green infrastructure training program emphasizes workforce development, specifically training those who seek to perform green infrastructure construction and maintenance as a career. ICC and the National Green Infrastructure Certification Program (NGICP)’s focus is to help provide a new marketable skill set to unemployed or underemployed individuals.

ICC now has qualified trainers under the NGICP (see above). The first class of 21 students graduated in the Fall of 2019 and a second training class is planned, which will include hands-on installation and maintenance. Several ICC staff have gone through Water Environment Federation (WEF)’s green infrastructure training program and received certificates.

A partnership is evolving between ICC and NGICP to provide training. Also involved is the City of Newark’s NewarkWorks and Newark Workforce Development Board, as well as the Essex County’s OSHA 40 and HAZWOPR employment and workforce development programs. ICC and NGICP seek to provide blended training involving both online and in-person experiences, emphasizing hands-on green infrastructure installation and maintenance.

Learn more about the program from NJ Future

Visit the ICC website

North Carolina State University Stormwater Best Management Practice Inspection and Maintenance Certification Program

The North Carolina State University Certification program has a strong focus on green infrastructure condition assessment and inspection and instruction on the maintenance of green infrastructure facilities. This two-day program has been particularly successful with small municipalities in North Carolina but is structured to adapt to green infrastructure practices in other states. The program is portable at the state level, and has been utilized in Louisiana, Tennessee, and Maryland. The credential is valid for three years and requires a one-day recertification course.

Visit the North Carolina State University Certification website

Texas Stormwater Low Impact Development and the Basics of Bioretention Webinar

This webinar discusses the basics of land development and stormwater management. It also discusses the concept of Low Impact Development and how it can be achieved through the implementation of green stormwater management techniques that mimics predevelopment runoff characteristics by emphasizing the value of addressing stormwater runoff at the source. Bioretention systems, a commonly used best management practice, are also discussed. This webinar reviews the basics of bioretention systems, how they work, why they work and how they can save on project costs.

Learn more about the Low Impact Development and the Basics of Bioretention Webinar

Learn about more Texas Stormwater training

Washington Stormwater Center Low Impact Development Certificate Program

The Washington Stormwater Center Certificate Program focuses on operations and maintenance (O&M) of green infrastructure; it also offers a design module. The training has been primarily used by communities within Washington state. The training programs have been conducted in-person in the past, and Washington began offering a large portion of its training online in 2018. Currently, the program offers its training completely online, with the in-person component indefinitely postponed.

Visit the Washington Stormwater Center Certificate Program website

Disclaimer

The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) does not in any way represent or endorse the programs listed, and is not advocating, soliciting or endorsing business for these programs. The training programs listed are intended to be a general guide for organizations interested in stormwater maintenance training and to highlight training options and opportunities so that organizations can make more informed decisions. Training opportunities presented here are representative and should not be considered an exhaustive list.

The Stormwater Maintenance Jobs Training Opportunities Tool (“the Tool”) was created to help direct you to relevant stormwater maintenance training options and training types, as listed on this website, based on your reported stormwater maintenance organization and operation and training needs. Please note that the Tool is limited in its ability to identify your exact stormwater maintenance training options and needs. It is recommended that you or a representative of your stormwater maintenance operation conduct further research as needed to determine whether a given training type is a good fit.