Green Infrastructure

What is Green Infrastructure? 

Urban development has traditionally involved replacing natural landscapes with impervious pavement and buildings, sometimes called “Gray Infrastructure.” Storm runoff drains directly into local waterways, causing erosion and impacting riparian habitats andGreen Infrastructure - Image courtesy of San Mateo County the Bay. 

We are one of many Bay Area communities adopting new methods to reverse this historic pattern by shifting to the use of Green Infrastructure (GI). GI reduces the impact of urban development on waterways by mimicking nature; using plants, soils, and pervious surfaces to collect stormwater. 

This method allows rainwater to soak and filter into the ground, reducing the quantity of water and pollutants flowing into local creeks.

We have used GI in the public right-of-way on several projects over the last few years and are in the planning stages for many more.

Our GuideCity of San Mateo Green Infrastructure Guide 2019

We have prepared a comprehensive GI Plan to guide the siting, implementation, tracking, and reporting of GI projects over the next several decades. Development of the GI Plan is required by our Municipal Regional Stormwater National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Permit.

The GI Plan describes our methodology to identify and prioritize areas for implementing GI, and estimates targets that will be addressed by GI through2040. The Plan includes maps of prioritized areas and potential project opportunities; and lays out our GI implementation strategy. 

For more information about our plan, contact:

Sarah Scheidt, Regulatory Compliance Manager, WWTP (Environmental Services Division)

Email: or Phone: 650-522-7385


Looking for Green Infrastructure information to share with your community? Are you a teacher seeking resources for your classroom? Visit Flows to Bay for teacher resources and more. 

Recent Projects

In 2019, Public Works staff installed improved safety and Green Infrastructure elements in the intersections of:

  • 4th Avenue and Fremont Street
  • 5th Avenue and Delaware Street
  • 9th Avenue and Delaware Street

Improvements included: Pedestrian crosswalks, ADA-compliant ramps, and curb extensions with Green Infrastructure for stormwater management to reduce pollutants flowing to the bay, creating a healthier environment for everyone.