the bioretention area on Fox road

Advancing Use of Green Stormwater Infrastructure

Bringing more green, eco-friendly features to Raleigh that help protect waterways

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City GSI Initiatives 1. Lead by Example 2. Support and Incentivize Private Developers 3. Include GSI in Rezoning Decisions 4. Include GSI in City’s Planning Reports 5. Propose Regulation Changes to Support GSI 6. Build a Program for Maintaining City-owned GSI

We are taking steps to bring more Green Stormwater Infrastructure (GSI) to Raleigh. This will help reduce water pollution to our streams and lakes. The goal is to move from using 'gray' infrastructure to more 'green' features that mimic nature.

Where we are now:
Mostly using pipes/drains to carry stormwater runoff through the city when it rains.

Where we are headed:
Using more natural elements, like plants and soil, to store water and absorb pollution into the ground when it rains. Examples: rain gardens, cisterns, and permeable pavement.

City GSI Initiatives

Green Stormwater Infrastructure (GSI) Policy

The City of Raleigh Green Stormwater Infrastructure (GSI) Policy became effective on November 28, 2023. The GSI Policy requires the evaluation of GSI on City-led projects and promotes its installation to reduce stormwater runoff, improve water quality, and provide ecological benefits.

Read Raleigh's GSI Policy!

Advancing the Use of Green Stormwater Infrastructure

In August 2019, City Council requested the Stormwater Management Advisory Commission help develop a GSI Plan. The Commission and City staff worked together to develop the plan, which was approved in July 2021.

Read Raleigh’s Advancing GSI Plan!

Here's how we are taking action with GSI.

1. Lead by Example

Create a policy that encourages the use of this infrastructure with City projects in a cost-effective way. 


  • Ensure we are doing our part to reduce water pollution;
  • Help people understand the benefits of these projects; and,
  • Encourage others to use this infrastructure on private development. 

2. Support and Incentivize Private Developers

A City employee will serve as an advocate to coordinate with private developers on these types of projects. Together they will explore different incentives for including 'green' features with land development.

Our Work 

  • Identify when these features are a good fit for a project. 
  • Remove barriers to adding these features to a project. (i.e. Easier access to plan review process)

3. Include GSI in Rezoning Decisions

Provide applicants with examples of where this infrastructure can be used in rezoning decisions.


City staff will be more involved with rezoning cases to:

  • Streamline the process; and,  
  • Show you how the infrastructure can be included in these development projects. 

Take a look at this diagram to see a sample site showing where infrastructure can be added to a project. 

4. Include GSI in City’s Planning Reports

Form a City workgroup that will determine how we can include this infrastructure in long-range plans, like road improvements, parks development, and neighborhood planning. 

5. Propose Regulation Changes to Support GSI

A stakeholder group made up of developers and their designers will: 

  • Explore incentives for those who use this infrastructure on development projects; and, 
  • Work with City staff to propose text changes in the Unified Development Ordinance to support the use of this infrastructure with development projects. 

6. Build a Program for Maintaining City-owned GSI

Use funding and management tools to help maintain City-owned GSI projects in a functional way.

Types of Maintenance

  • Remove trash and weeds from features.
  • Refresh mulch. 



Heather Dutra
Water Quality Supervisor

Sally Hoyt, PE
Stormwater Review Supervisor

Engineering Services
Service Categories:
Board, Commission or Committee:
Stormwater Management Advisory Commission
Related Services:
Green Stormwater Infrastructure Initiatives