Document Type


Journal/Book Title/Conference

Environmental Research Letters






Institute of Physics Publishing Ltd.

Publication Date



aquifer recharge, climate adaptation, green stormwater infrastructure, runoff, water quality, water supply

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Last Page


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Researchers and water managers have turned to green stormwater infrastructure, such as bioswales, retention basins, wetlands, rain gardens, and urban green spaces to reduce flooding, augment surface water supplies, recharge groundwater, and improve water quality. It is increasingly clear that green stormwater infrastructure not only controls stormwater volume and timing, but also promotes ecosystem services, which are the benefits that ecosystems provide to humans. Yet there has been little synthesis focused on understanding how green stormwater management affects ecosystem services. The objectives of this paper are to review and synthesize published literature on ecosystem services and green stormwater infrastructure and identify gaps in research and understanding, establishing a foundation for research at the intersection of ecosystems services and green stormwater management. We reviewed 170 publications on stormwater management and ecosystem services, and summarized the state-of-the-science categorized by the four types of ecosystem services. Major findings show that: (1) most research was conducted at the parcel-scale and should expand to larger scales to more closely understand green stormwater infrastructure impacts, (2) nearly a third of papers developed frameworks for implementing green stormwater infrastructure and highlighted barriers, (3) papers discussed ecosystem services, but less than 40% quantified ecosystem services, (4) no geographic trends emerged, indicating interest in applying green stormwater infrastructure across different contexts, (5) studies increasingly integrate engineering, physical science, and social science approaches for holistic understanding, and (6) standardizing green stormwater infrastructure terminology would provide a more cohesive field of study than the diverse and often redundant terminology currently in use. We recommend that future research provide metrics and quantify ecosystem services, integrate disciplines to measure ecosystem services from green stormwater infrastructure, and better incorporate stormwater management into environmental policy. Our conclusions outline promising future research directions at the intersection of stormwater management and ecosystem services.