Low Impact Development (LID) is an innovative land management approach that manages rainfall where it lands. The goal is to mimic a site’s pre-development landscape by using site design techniques that infiltrate, filter, store, evaporate, and detain runoff close to its source.
Instead of managing and treating stormwater in large, costly end-of-pipe facilities such as stormwater detention ponds, LID encourages the use of small, cost-effective management practices located on each individual lot. Almost all components of the urban environment have the potential to serve as a management practice. This includes open space, rooftops, streetscapes, parking lots, sidewalks, driveways and medians. LID is a versatile approach that can be applied equally well to new development, urban retrofits, and commercial and industrial projects.
Benefits to using LID in your community
LID has many benefits and advantages over conventional development, including:
- Enhancing the local environment and protecting public health while saving developers and local governments time and money.
- Addressing nonpoint source pollution and stormwater management regulatory challenges in a simple and economical manner.
- Protecting surface water and groundwater from the impacts of runoff and groundwater contamination that can come from urban neighborhoods.
- Helping local governments to better balance conservation, growth, and economic development objectives by having more effective and flexible technology choices.
- Reducing stormwater conveyance and stormwater management infrastructure and their associated construction, maintenance and enforcement costs.
- Reducing water pollution and improving wildlife habitat more effectively than conventional best management practices (BMPs) because LID uses multiple systems.
- Using technologies that universally apply to greenfields, brownfields, and urban redevelopment in any climatic or geological region.
- Enjoying increased quality of life, fiscal health, reduced air pollution, water conservation, better habitat protection and increased property values
How do communities get started?
1st — Communities should take a close look at local zoning codes and ordinances and how they address water resources to identify areas that can be changed. The Miami Conservancy District (MCD) can provide tools and/or assistance to evaluate your community.
2nd — Land use plans and subdivision regulations can be altered to allow innovative Low Impact Development site design techniques. There are model development principles available to provide design guidance for economically viable, yet environmentally sensitive development.
MCD’s objective is to help planners, developers, and local officials look for existing ordinances that can be modified to reduce impervious cover, conserve natural areas, and prevent stormwater pollution. These development principles are not national design standards. Instead, they identify areas where existing codes and standards can be changed to better protect streams, groundwater, and wetlands in your community. The development principles are divided into three areas:
- Residential Streets and Parking Lots (Habitat for Cars)
- Lot Development (Habitat for People)
- Conservation of Natural Areas (Habitat for Nature)
3rd — MCD can help encourage developers to use these techniques in your community. The result is communities that offer greater economic benefits, more recreation opportunities, flood prevention, and a higher quality of life.
Local LID demonstration projects
The Miami Conservancy District was awarded a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Targeted Watershed Grant in 2003 to implement projects that protect water resources.
These projects are guided by three principles: broad stakeholder involvement, environmental results, and market incentives.
MCD partnered with local communities, universities, and nonprofit organizations to implement projects in the Great Miami River Watershed.
These projects demonstrate that LID practices are effective in the Miami Valley. Local LID projects include the following practices:
New Housing Development uses Conservation Design
Communities Update Zoning Codes to Enhance Stream Protection.
Enhanced Wetland Slows Stormwater and Filters Pollutants
Filtering Stormwater from Municipal Facilities and Construction Sites
Reducing Pollutant Runoff from a Municipal Parking Lot
Pervious Pavers and Rain Gardens Filter Pollutants
Building Green Homes in Urban Communities