Merit Award Winner

Project Name:  Green Infrastructure Plant Selection Tool
Location:  Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Design Team:  Environmental Consulting & Technology, Inc.

The concept of green infrastructure promises many wonderful benefits. Cleaner water, increased infiltration, and added habitat for native plants and animals. Maintaining an environment where plants can thrive, however, is challenging. Picking the right plants for green infrastructure requires a thorough understanding of the site’s ecology and long-term stewardship. To make this step easier, the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District (MMSD) partnered with our team to create a plant selection tool for green infrastructure tailored to their region. MMSD is a strong supporter of green infrastructure. They have partnered with public and private property owners to install a wide variety of it throughout the 28 municipalities in their service area. They see green infrastructure as an important strategy for meeting their 2035 Vision for a healthier Milwaukee region. The goals outlined in this vision include zero basement backups, zero overflows, and the capture of the first half inch of rainfall on impervious surfaces in their service area. This is the equivalent to approximately 740 million gallons of stormwater. 

The plant selection tool created is an interactive excel spreadsheet that users can download from MMSD’s website https://www.freshcoastguardians.com/resources/services/plant-selection The tool allows users to select the style of planting they desire, naturalized or ornamental, and then select options from a series of conditions that narrow down a master plant list. After all the options are selected, a plant list is produced containing trees, shrubs, and herbaceous grasses and perennials that are appropriate for that site’s unique ecology. If users are not familiar with the site’s specific conditions, they can select default settings for each green infrastructure practice. These include rain gardens, bioretention areas, extensive green roofs and intensive green roofs. The default settings will pre-load conditions common for that practice, such as dry soils for extensive green roofs.