The Nature Conservancy has announced a $1.7 million investment from Prudential Financial in support of efforts to prevent the runoff of millions of gallons of pollutant-laden stormwater from the nation’s capital into the nearby Potomac and Anacostia rivers, which flow into Chesapeake Bay.
The investment in District Stormwater LLC, a pilot collaboration between TNC and Encourage Capital, an asset management firm based in New York, will be used to finance the development of green infrastructure in the District of Columbia that measurably reduce stormwater runoff through proven, nature-based solutions. Projects such as permeable pavement, rain gardens, and green roofs will earn Stormwater Retention Credits (SRCs) under the district's new Stormwater Credit Trading Program that can be used by land-constrained developers to meet a portion of their mandated stormwater retention requirements. Credits also can be sold on the open market to those who need them to meet those requirements. The projects are anticipated to benefit the region’s waterways while providing social benefits for local communities and a financial return for investors.
"We view Washington, D.C.'s Stormwater Retention Credit market as a powerful opportunity to accelerate use of green infrastructure through private sector investment, while also reducing the need for public spending on stormwater management," said Marc Diaz, managing director for NatureVest, the impact investment unit of the Nature Conservancy. "We would very much like to see the financial model that allowed us to create this project in Washington, D.C., be replicated in other cities, bringing positive environmental and social impacts along with financial returns."