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Thursday, May 30, 2013

Low Impact Development

11:00 AM
Yesterday I attended some training on Low Impact Development for Real Estate Professionals, sponsored by Washington State University Extension and funded by the Washington State Department of Ecology. The training included a field trip to the Kitsap Conservation District in Poulsbo, pictured here.

In the photo above, you can see part of the rain garden watered by run-off from the office roof, an electric vehicle charging station, and a car parked on a StabiliGrid permeable parking lot. This low impact demonstration site also includes a green roof, rain barrels, solar-powered sheds, an 11,000 gallon cistern, and a weather station (AgWeather.net or weather.wsu.edu and look for the Poulsbo South station). All of these elements are features of a low impact development site, where rain and stormwater run-off is captured to irrigate gardens, flush toilets, and reduce pollution to adjacent waterways.

Why is low-impact development so important these days?

Low Impact Development (LID) is one way we can help keep our waterways, as well as the surrounding land, healthy and safe. LID seeks to manage stormwater onsite, either by encouraging it to soak into the ground, or using plants to transpire it back into the atmosphere. It focuses on protecting existing natural landscape features to minimize the amount of impervious hard surfaces.

LID strategies create more beautiful and easily-managed landscapes, replenishes drinking water supplies, reduces contamination of local waterways, preserves or restores trees and vegetation, attracting birds, butterflies and other wildlife. Effective LID development may actually reduce development costs, as well as stormwater management costs.

Regulations are coming, especially on larger-scale commercial developments with vast amounts of hardscape surfaces which have historically contributed to stormwater run-off, erosion, air quality degradation, and pollution of ground water. And the marketplace, especially here in Western Washington, is especially receptive to more green development.

The Kitsap Conservation District will even pay local homeowners $500 to put in a rain garden, or a permeable parking lot. Contact your local conservation district for other financial incentives for those considering LID.

For more information on low-impact development, please visit http://lowimpactdevelopment.org, and happy investing!

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