Green Infrastructure “is a network providing the “ingredients” for solving urban and climatic challenges by building with nature”. The main components of this approach include stormwater management, climate adaptation, less heat stress, more biodiversity, food production, better air quality, sustainable energy production, clean water and healthy soils, as well as the more anthropocentric functions such as increased quality of life through recreation and providing shade and shelter in and around towns and cities.”[*]
“The fate of an individual or a nation will always be determined by the degree of his or its harmony with the forces and laws of Nature and the universe. Man is not alone in the universe but is surrounded by sources of power, harmony and knowledge. The fullness of life depends upon man’s harmony with the totality of the natural cosmic laws. Our individual evolution is a job that has to be carried on day by day by each individual himself. It is a livelong task.”Richard St. Barbe Baker
“Green infrastructure refers to any natural or built systems that provide ecological benefits and help to maintain pre-development hydrology. It encompasses natural features like streams, wetlands, forests, and parks, as well as engineered systems that manage urban runoff.”[***]
The West Swale is an important pre-requIsite for the City of Saskatoon, as this low lying area protects both agricultural and urban neighbourhoods from flooding. The afforestation area also sequesters carbon emissions, improving the air. The soil and water quality also benefits from the woodland environment.
Environmental benefits include ”
- Increase carbon sequestration
- improve air quality
- additional recreational space
- efficient land use
- flood protection
- drinking water source protection
- replenish groundwater
- improve watershed health
- protect or restore wildlife habitat
- reduce sewer overflow events
- restore impaired waters
- meet regulatory requirements for receiving waters”[**]
By utilizing green infrastructure, the city of Saskatoon has an ecological base for sound social, economic, and environmental health and well-being. In the case of the West Swale and the afforestation areas, the green infrastructure, is supported by wetlands, so it may be also referred to as blue or “blue-green” infrastructure.
Economic benefits include; ”
- reduce hard infrastructure construction costs
- maintain aging infrastructure
- increase land values
- encourage economic development
- reduce energy consumption and costs
- increase life cycle cost savings”[**]
The afforestation area is a splendid example of urban forestry at its finest, and has the capacity to reduce energy usage costs, and may help to manage storm water and runoff. Physical activity and the reduction of stress are among the health benefits of urban green space.
Social benefits are: ”
- “Establish urban greenways
- provide pedestrian and bicycle access [recreation]
- create attractive streetscapes and rooftops that enhance livability and urban green space
- educate the public about their role in stormwater management
- urban heat island mitigation”[**]
The meeting on May 29, 2017 showed a forward thinking City of Saskatoon embracing concepts of green infrastructure which will be applied to the long range planning of the Blairmore Sector Plan. Such a proposal brings the green infrastructure home for the neighbourhood planning of the city. According to the report, “the purpose of the Green Infrastructure is to develop an integrated approach to planning for and maintaining a sustainable, biodiverse city by considering natural and supportive areas as part of an ecological system.” As the Blairmore Sector Plan moves forward, natural and naturalized areas will be duly inventoried. As the plan develops, the community will be engaged for public engagement.
With a green infrastructure program, communities unite in an effort to preserve watersheds, wildlife habitats, and parks, to better protect the environment maintaining wildlife diversity while benefiting quality of life, helping people to connect with nature, increase health benefits of spending time in nature, while having access to clean air, and water. Once fully developed, the green infrastructure program have the potential for supporting both recreational and conservation activities that will have positive impacts far beyond the immediate community.
“For in the true nature of things, if we rightly consider, every green tree is far more glorious than if it were made of gold and silver”. ~Martin Luther
Infrastructure Canada – Green Infrastructure. Government of Canada Investing in Green Infrastructure.
Green Infrastructure Webcase Series. United STates Environmental Protection Agency.
Green Infrastructure Partnership Launches ‘Celebrating Green Infrastructure Program’ Waterbucket.ca [For further information on Green Infrastructure and success stories in British Columbia – Guidance Documents and Resources The partnership for Water Sustainability in BC video]
* Green Infrastructure Wikipedia.
*** Sustainable Technologies Evaluation Program. Urban Runoff and Green Infrastructure. Sustainable Technologies Evaluation Program 2016.
What is Green Infrastructure? United States Environmental Protection Agency.
The trees and vegetation, which cover the land surface of the Earth and delight the eye, are performing vital tasks incumbent upon the vegetable world in nature. Its presence is essential to earth as an organism. It is the first condition of all life; it is the “Skin” of the earth, for without it there can be no water and, therefore, no life.” ~Richard St. Barbe Baker
For more information:
Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area is located in Saskatoon, SK, CA north of Cedar Villa Road, within city limits, in the furthest south west area of the city.
Wikimapia Map: type in Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area
Google Maps South West Off Leash area location pin at parking lot
Web page: https://stbarbebaker.wordpress.com
“. “I don’t have a bucket list but my bike-it list is a mile long.” – unknown” For the recreation buff