On World Water Day ASLA Urges Congress to Pass the WISE Act

Shirley Chisholm State ParkASLA 2022 Professional Urban Design Honor Award. Shirley Chisholm State Park. Brooklyn, New York. Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates / Etienne Frossard

On World Water Day, the American Society of Landscape Architects urges Congress to pass the Water Infrastructure Sustainability and Efficiency (WISE) Act which was introduced by Representative Nikema Williams (GA). The bill would increase the amount of nature-based solutions under the Clean Water State Revolving Fund. 

Specifically, this measure would increase the minimum requirement of all Clean Water State Revolving Fund dollars to 20 percent for projects that develop nature-based infrastructure, enhance water and energy efficiency, or facilitate other environmentally innovative activities.

“With strategic investment we can address water quality, stormwater management, flood mitigation and drought planning with proven strategies designed by landscape architects,” said Torey Carter-Conneen, CEO, American Society of Landscape Architects. “Our members are leading projects around the country and engaging with decision-makers at all levels in order to address critical water concerns in the communities we serve.” 

In its budget request letter to the Biden-Harris Administration ASLA urged among other things water infrastructure funding in the following areas:

Clean Water State Revolving Funds (CWSRF): ASLA recommends the FY2025 budget include full funding of $3.25 billion for the Drinking and Clean Water State Revolving Funds. In particular, ASLA urges that the Clean Water State Revolving Fund be fully funded and that steps are taken to increase the set-aside for the Green Project Reserve (GPR) from 10 percent to 20 percent. Increasing the percentage of funding for the GPR will allow more communities to use green infrastructure, water and energy efficiency, and other innovative projects to address and manage their water and stormwater issues. The CWSRF is one of the largest federal funding sources for landscape architects to plan and design water infrastructure projects. 

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) programs: ASLA suggests the FY2025 budget include increased investments of $9.57 billion for USACE to implement nature-based solutions in public water infrastructure projects that address stormwater runoff, flood control, sea-level rise, damaged shorelines, natural landscape protections, ecosystem restoration, and more. Landscape architects collaborate with USACE on these and other water management projects to provide community-wide benefits, including improved human, environmental, and economic health. 

Chesapeake Bay: ASLA urges $1.1 billion for the Chesapeake Bay budget. This funding would allow continued restoration efforts for the largest estuary in the United States and in North America, covering 64,000 square miles and including more than 150 rivers and streams that drain into the Bay. This funding is critical to improving water quality and the overall health of the bay. Funding will help address non-point source pollution, Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) for sediments, open space activities, and other innovative strategies to preserve the bay. 

The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative: ASLA urges the FY2025 budget to include $500 million for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI). The GLRI is the leading federal program designed to clean up legacy pollution, restore habitats, combat invasive species, and address shoreline erosion across the basin. The Great Lakes serve as a vital source of economic activity, recreation, and drinking water for millions of Americans.



Media inquiries

Landscape Architecture Magazine

Jennifer Reut 

The Dirt
Jared Green

The Field
Ali Hay