Episode 7: Natural Resources Conservation

Original Air Date: October 13, 2011 at 7:30 p.m. on KCPT

Watch the complete seventh episode below

Episode 7 of Imagine KC focuses on natural resource conservation in the built environment. The show demonstrates why planning for what we don’t build matters just as much as planning for what we do build. Stories look at how preserving the natural environment improves quality of life, reshapes our built environment and creates a more sustainable region by providing benefits to those who live downstream.

This episode also highlights communities that are mixing "green" with "grey" infrastructure to address a number of problems. They are making strategic landscape investments to minimize flooding and water pollution, provide healthy recreation options, protect wildlife habitats and beautify neighborhoods.

We also see how residential and commercial properties are incorporating sustainable features such as rain gardens and green roofs and other green solutions, to bring the built environment and the natural environment closer together.

Featured in this Episode:

Some concepts this episode will explore:

Green Infrastructure
Infrastructure is the physical framework of a community, often divided by function: either green or gray. Gray, or traditional infrastructure, includes buildings, roads, utilities and parking lots. Green infrastructure encompasses the interconnected network of open spaces and natural systems that manages stormwater, reduces the risk of floods and captures pollution.

In cities, that interconnected network utilizes structures such as rain gardens, green roofs, tree planting, permeable pavement and other landscape-based drainage features. These restore, protect and mimic natural water flow in a man-made environment.

Benefits of Green Infrastructure

Green infrastructure works to reduce and treat runoff before it reaches stormdrains. Local research on green infrastructure in Johnson County shows it can capture or retain 90 percent or more of the rain from typical storms delivering an inch or less. This is crucial since the majority of pollutants are carried in the first half-inch of rain.

Utilizing green infrastructure reduces runoff entering stormdrains, which reduces wear and tear on them, saving money in maintenance and replacement costs. It also provides wildlife habitat and areas for recreation and green space.

Green Roof
A planted roof that cools and cleans the air and retains rainwater while providing beauty, wildlife habitat, fire and soundproofing. Intensive Green Roofs may be used as gardens and Extensive Green Roofs are designed to be viewed but not walked upon. Green roofs are also referred to as eco-roofs, vegetated roofs, living roofs, planted roofs, biotope or cool roofs.