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Green Infrastructure, or, Low-Impact Development (LID), treats stormwater as a resource, not a waste product.  LID techniques preserve and recreate natural landscape features at a development site, using rain gardens, vegetated rooftops, rain barrels, and permeable pavements to treat runoff and return it to the ground or a stormwater collection system. Below, you will find descriptions of several past projects within Franklin County.


Orange Riverfront Park

Riverfront Park in Orange reclaims a former Brownfield to provide ecologically-sensitive access to Millers River. Franklin County’s first Green Infrastructure pilot project, Riverfront Park began as a Brownfield site next to the Millers River in downtown Orange. Funding from the MA Division of Conservation Services’ PARC grant program and MassDEP’s s.319 grant program was used in 2005 to turn the cleaned-up site into a park and public boat ramp.

An important element of the park’s design was the incorporation of Green Infrastructure techniques to treat stormwater and reduce pollutants in the Millers River. The design includes native plantings in the rain gardens and bioretention swales, permeable pavers, soil amendments and rain barrels. Orange Riverfront Park is a launch site for the Millers River Blue Trail. Paddlers can launch their own kayaks from the park’s boat launch or can rent a kayak on site.

View of the Orange Riverfront Park
Orange Riverfront Park’s design combines form with function, decreasing stormwater runoff while adding beauty to the river’s edge.

Olive Street and Chapman and Davis Parking Lot, Greenfield

In 2014, the 2-acre Chapman and Davis Street Parking Lot was reconstructed and includes new trees and bioretention areas to treat stormwater runoff that previously flowed directly into the buried Maple Brook culvert, which drains to the Green River. A second project added a bioretention area in the tree belt on Olive Street as part of a larger traffic calming and pedestrian improvement project. The projects were paid in part by a MassDEP s.319 grant and a Massachusetts Environmental Trust (MET) grant.

Unity Park, Turners Falls

In 2012 and 2013, the playground, ballfields, and parking lots at Unity Park were refurbished using Community Development Block Grant funds. A rain garden was added at each parking lot. The reason for adding LID elements was three-fold, according to Jon Dobosz, Montague Director of Parks and Recreation: including sustainable elements was a goal of the project; the project’s location next to the Connecticut River required mitigation by the Rivers Protection Act; and the third was aesthetics – “Who wouldn’t like a flowering garden in a park?”

unity park rain garden
A rain garden at Unity Park collects stormwater runoff from a parking lot next to a playground.
Field trip attendees viewing a green roof at the Koch Center for Science, Math, and Technology.
The green roof at the Koch Center for Science, Math, & Technology was featured on a LID Field Trip.

Western Millers River Watershed LID Project

The Western Millers River Watershed Low Impact Development (LID) Project has provided resources to assist towns in the Western Millers River Watershed in protecting their local waters from stormwater runoff and flooding. A series of three workshops and a field trip showcasing LID installations in Franklin County were presented by the FRCOG and the Millers River Watershed Council (MRWC) in 2015 under an EPA-funded Section 319 grant administered by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP). FRCOG and MRWC staff also prepared the these white papers for use by local officials.

Presentations from the workshops:

Franklin County LID Field Trip Briefing Book (PDF, 4.5 MB)


Tamsin Flanders headshot.

Tamsin Flanders

Land Use and Natural Resources Planner


Allison Gage headshot.

Allison Gage

Sr. Land Use and Natural Resources Planner


Kimberly MacPhee headshot.

Kimberly MacPhee, P.G., CFM

Land Use & Natural Resources Program Manager


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