The Southeast Sustainability Directors Network collaborates to accelerate the adoption of economically viable, socially equitable, and environmentally responsible best practices in American Southeastern communities. We do this by sharing information and problem solving together.
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   The Southeast Sustainability Directors Network:
   May Update
Case Study: Green Infrastructure
Green Infrastructure (GI) is more than just the laundry list of sustainable applications, like green roofs, bigger tree planters, and frequent curb cuts. It’s also about conservation, citizen engagement, and the economics of having a livable community. It serves as both a proactive and reactive measure to insure the environmental health of a community.
With all its social, environmental, and economic benefits, why has it been so slow to catch on in southern urban areas? Much of it has to do with the culture of municipal engineering departments, which are often quick to say no to “new” ideas. Graduating engineers and landscape architects don’t view GI as something new and different, or even very innovative – it’s just how streetscape design is being taught.
But until these emerging P.E.’s and L.A.’s are managing local design projects, what can be done in the meantime to move the needle?  Athens-Clarke County, GA, and Nashville, TN seem to have figured it out. What follows are some ideas to borrow:
1.) Be reactive: respond to climate change effects with some guidelines.
In response to severe flooding and increased State water quality regulation, Nashville developed a plan to design, fund, and implement GI. Now, other cities take their engineers to see how it can in fact be done, in spite of clay soils, karst, seasonal detritus, and all the other reasons the south “can’t” pull it off. It’s a report that speaks to both the benefits and drawbacks of each GI practice, making it less like an advocacy publication and more like a how-to manual.
2.) Be pro-active: create a green space / riparian acquisition program. 
Often local administrators don’t have the luxury of thinking much about the future, so it’s easy to get stuck in a reactive cycle - though being pro-active is more efficient and cost effective in the long run.  Citizens can serve as a key conservation catalyst, as they did in Athens-Clarke County. They mobilized and worked with council and the administration to fund the purchase of undeveloped areas, The goal is to improve quality of life, community health, and economic prosperity.   
3.) Be affirmative: everyone loves positive press. 
Each year, the Athens-Clarke County Stormwater Management Program presents the Stormwater Steward Award to an organization, business, individual, or community group that has gone above and beyond to reduce stormwater runoff. Think of it as kind of a Green Business program that targets capital investment more than behavior change.
Bottom Line
You don’t have to enter the endless meeting cycle that occurs when a department doesn't want to do something.  If you want to incorporate GI into your streetscapes, you can go to the private sector.  You can go to community organizers. You can lean on the experience of regional peer cities and counties who are past the why and have moved on to the doing and maintaining.  

Funding Opportunities
By Due Date
The USDN Innovation Fund Regional Network RFP – Decision coming on June 10
Estevan Baza (Oldsmar, FL) and Marcus Carson (Mecklenburg County) pulled together a network application to the USDN Innovation Fund for adoption of innovation fund product Community Based Social Marketing. All full proposals are here. Regardless of Innovation Fund's decision, there will be a workshop on this topic immediately following the SSDN annual meeting.

USDN Quick Funds RFP – Proposals due June 11

The USDN Innovation Fund Steering Committee is offering support for innovations that demonstrate momentum and the need for quick funds through this RFP process, available to USDN members. Contact Susanna if you need technical assistance on proposal development.

USDN General RFP – Final Letter of Intent due July 1

The USDN 2015 General RFP is soliciting letters of intent to propose from USDN members to garner a Steering Committee invitation. SSDN is revising it’s 2014 equity programming in energy efficiency proposal. Contact Erin Gill (Knoxville, TN) if you would like to join this effort.

$2 Million available in Federal Funding for Drinking Water – Proposals due June 22
FOA for “Environmental Health Services Support for Public Health Drinking Water Programs to Reduce Drinking Water Exposures (CDC-RFA-EH15-1507)”, can be found here.


SSDN 2015 Annual Meeting Participant Instructions
Charleston, South Carolina
June 22 - 24

Registrants: look for email room confirmation from the Francis Marion Hotel. They have availability on Sunday night, so if you want to stay an extra night at your own expense, call 877-756-2121 to coordinate.
By June 12, sign up for tours and find airport transit information here.
By June 15, build your annual meeting introduction slide and send it to Kim.
Interested in planning pre-meeting activities with others, and in how the agenda is shaping up?  Check them both out here.

Top SSDN Members Posts
Please continue to share with us what you're learning or needing to know on We look forward to sharing your posts  in the newsletter next month.

Can't log on to USDN?  SSDN members, reply to this email or send Susanna a note to get log-in information. Posters, be sure to tag the Southeast so everyone can see.  A tutorial for the site is here.
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