PAG’s Sustainable Environment Program works to connect environmental stewardship to transportation and urban planning to advance the region’s sustainability goals. A key element of this program strategy is to focus on issues that affect our urban landscapes.
Among the issues are controlling the spread of buffelgrass, understanding and addressing climate change, managing our water resources and preventing stormwater pollution.
Buffelgrass is an invasive grass that not only harms our native desert vegetation, but also threatens human health and safety as a fire hazard in the urban setting. Since cars transport seeds along roadways, the spread of buffelgrass is linked to our transportation system. Ecologists, state and federal land managers, and municipalities are all working together to bring financial support into the region to help control its spread.
As the region anticipates warmer temperatures and more erratic weather patterns in upcoming decades, climate change mitigation and adaptation measures will become increasingly important. Our region is working to reduce future risks by promoting such strategies as using rainwater harvesting to increase urban green space and looking for ways to improve energy efficiencies. Since vehicle emissions are a major source of air pollution, reducing private vehicle trips can help reduce the greenhouse gases that lead to global warming.
Water resources are precious in the arid desert, and rainwater harvesting can reduce potable water demand by using rainwater for outdoor landscaping. Rain gardens help reduce pollution, increase shade, green our urban spaces and can be coordinated with innovative transportation designs to encourage livable/walkable neighborhood streets. Our region is leading the way in community action, intellectual capital, business investment and exemplary sites.
When rainwater leaves our properties and collects in streets and washes, it is called stormwater. Municipalities and industries are required under law to control the amount of pollutants in the stormwater. Incorporating low impact development (LID) and green infrastructure (GI) principles into design guidelines and projects is one important and innovative way to control this pollution while mimicking natural hydrologic processes. PAG’s Clean Water Starts with Me campaign urges citizens to do their part to keep our streets and desert washes clean and safe.