Credit for Going Green: Transfer of an Expert Panel Process Model

  • Vegetated buffers along rivers and bays are a widely recognized strategy to protect water quality.

    Vegetated buffers along rivers and bays are a widely recognized strategy to protect water quality.

  • Communities can build or restore buffers to get credit for reducing pollution under state stormwater permit programs.

    Communities can build or restore buffers to get credit for reducing pollution under state stormwater permit programs.

  • Until recently, there was no way to quantify how much pollution buffers keep out of waterways.

    Until recently, there was no way to quantify how much pollution buffers keep out of waterways.

  • The Credit for Going Green project team worked with a panel of experts to generate science-based recommendations to calculate the pollution removal rate of buffers in restoration and land use change projects.

    The Credit for Going Green project team worked with a panel of experts to generate science-based recommendations to calculate the pollution removal rate of buffers in restoration and land use change projects.

  • With the tools developed through this project, communities can promote the use of buffers and receive their multiple water quality, habitat enhancement, and flood protection benefits.

    With the tools developed through this project, communities can promote the use of buffers and receive their multiple water quality, habitat enhancement, and flood protection benefits.

Creating vegetated buffers along rivers and bays is a widely recognized strategy to protect water quality while providing other services that benefit ecosystems and communities. After conducting a thorough assessment of options for advancing the use of buffers (see Buffer Options for the Bay), a team of public, academic, and nonprofit organizations identified a key need to help communities get regulatory credit for buffer restoration.

The Credit for Going Green project team worked with a panel of experts to generate science-based recommendations to calculate the pollutant removal rate of buffers in development, redevelopment, restoration, or other land use change projects. Communities can use this information to receive pollutant removal credits under permits issued by stormwater permit programs. The project has provided municipal staff and boards with the information and tools to better promote buffers as a way to protect water quality, while also enhancing habitat and protecting communities from flooding.