Green Infrastructure Yields Multiple Benefits

 frederick finnup park, south 4th street, garden city, ks, usa
Photo by Heyzeus Escribo on Unsplash, Frederick Finnup Park, Garden City, Kansas

BY LARRY ERICKSON, K-State Professor of Chemical Engineering, Flint Hills Group ExCom Member

The Sierra Club supports prioritizing the use of green infrastructure to provide wildlife habitat and to reduce greenhouse gases, while also managing stormwater, reducing urban heat island effects, improving air quality, and promoting economic sustainability. The Agriculture and Food policy recognizes that healthy soils are important in promoting both agricultural production and carbon sequestration. Agriculture and Food | Sierra Club

One of the goals of the Inflation Reduction Act is to move toward net zero carbon emissions while also reducing inflation. Improving agriculture production through better soil health supports efforts to improve infrastructure. The pathway to net zero carbon emissions includes increasing organic carbon in soils and storing carbon in plants. 

There are many sites in Kansas, the USA, and the world which would benefit from increasing soil quality by adding organic carbon. Flood plains, such as the Wildcat Creek drainage area in Manhattan, could be forested to sequester carbon while helping with stormwater management and providing wildlife habitat.

Many soils in Kansas and elsewhere can benefit from regenerative farming operations and other actions to improve organic carbon in soil and the health of the ecosystem. Southeast Kansas includes areas where mine tailings in the soil have reduced soil quality. Improving soil quality by adding manure and other soil amendments to help restore healthy grasslands or to establish a forest to sequester carbon and to produce a useful product would benefit both the environment and local economies. 

The video recording of the 2022 Seventeenth Dialog on Sustainability on “Sustainable Infrastructure” is available on the Center for Hazardous Substance Research site: Video Player (

The new book Phytotechnology with Biomass Production: Sustainable Management of Contaminated Sites is available without cost through open access: Phytotechnology with Biomass Production | Sustainable Management of Co (