The Benefits of Greening Lancaster

The Benefits of Greening Lancaster

livegreenlogos_options— From the pages of FLL#25
When I hear the word “green” used to describe something other than my St. Patrick’s Day outfit, I usually get an image of a recycling bin or a Toyota Prius. A recent conversation with Fritz Schroeder filled me in on the true meaning— and depth—of that simple, five-letter word.

GreeningLancPic1Fritz told me about the “triple bottom line benefits of greening (environmental, social, economic).” These benefits are the ones that LIVE Green and the Lancaster County Conservancy are working toward. “Our projects… have an environmental impact that also has a positive influence on the local community while making financial sense to develop and execute. With Green Infrastructure the main goal may be to reduce storm water flow through the sewer system but the benefits [also include] beautifying parks, streets, and alleys to make Lancaster City a more appealing place to live, shop, eat, and congregate.”

In 2012, LIVE Green officially became a program of the Lancaster County Conservancy. The merger made perfect sense. “We merged because we have very similar missions but slightly different areas of focus. LIVE Green has focused almost all of our efforts in Lancaster City, while the Conservancy has traditionally focused its efforts in the rural and suburban areas of the county. Together we can leverage resources and expertise for projects that fit with our mission, wherever they may be in the city and county.”

10671494_10152831270660833_2965926712417094187_nLIVE Green will stay focused on clean water issues. Fritz informed me that in 2011, Lancaster City put together a Green Infrastructure plan. This plan is “a comprehensive strategy to utilize technologies such as green roofs, porous paving, rain gardens, and rain barrels to capture and hold rain water while keeping it out of the sewer.” LIVE Green and the city are also partnering to produce an educational campaign. This campaign is called Save It! Property owners can use this resource to save money and reap some of those triple bottom line benefits. Property owners are able to use Save It! to learn the “action steps they can take to reduce water use, capture and re-use water that falls on their property, and save money.” Property owners aren’t the only people benefitting from the program. Fritz mentioned that “commercial property owners, schools, and residents” are among a few of the people LIVE Green is hoping to aid.

GreeningLancPic2What else is in the works for the future? Fritz is excited that LIVE Green and the Conservancy has secured funding for several projects, which will include planting trees and riparian (along the riverbank) buffers within the city and “developing programs to install more rain barrels, rain gardens and dry wells.”

If you’re like me, you’re excited to hear this news. You’re excited for the city and county. But—if you’re like me— you’re wondering just how important these plans are. That’s why I asked Fritz just how pressing our need for this is. He said, “Lancaster City and County has far surpassed our limits of nitrogen, phosphorous, and sediment contributions to our local waterways which flow to the Susquehanna and ultimately the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. These nutrients are creating environments that are unsustainable for fish and wildlife. These waterways are also where most communities in Lancaster County and the region get their drinking water. Many people flock to this entire Susquehanna/Chesapeake region for vacations, hiking, boating, and fishing. There are also many industries that rely on access to clean water. In other words, this resource impacts all aspects of our lives. Our health, our social and physical well-being, and our economy are all linked to maintaining and enhancing these resources.”

If you’re like me, you read that and thought, “Thank heavens Fritz and his team are leading us!” With LIVE Green in our community, we know we’re taking the resources given to us and being responsible, thankful individuals.

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