Promoting innovative stormwater solutions for coastal plain communities
Atmospheric Sciences | Pollution
In 2008, the Center for Watershed Protection (CWP) surveyed seventy-three coastal plain communities to determine
their current practices and need for watershed planning and low impact development (LID). The survey found that
communities had varying watershed planning effectiveness and need better stormwater management, land use
planning, and watershed management communication. While technical capacity is improving, stormwater programs
are under staffed and innovative site designs may be prohibited under current regulations. In addition, the unique site constraints (e.g., sandy soils, low relief, tidal influence, vulnerability to coastal hazards, etc.) and lack of local examples are common LID obstacles along the coast (Vandiver and Hernandez, 2009).
LID stormwater practices are an innovative approach to stormwater management that provide an alternative to
structural stormwater practices, reduce runoff, and maintain or restores hydrology. The term LID is typically used to refer to the systematic application of small, distributed practices that replicate pre-development hydrologic functions. Examples of LID practices include: downspout disconnection, rain gardens, bioretention areas, dry wells, and vegetated filter strips. In coastal communities, LID practices have not yet become widely accepted or applied.
The geographic focus for the project is the Atlantic and Gulf coastal plain province which includes nearly 250,000
square miles in portions of fifteen states from New Jersey to Texas (Figure 1). This project builds on CWP’s
“Coastal Plain Watershed Network: Adapting, Testing, and Transferring Effective Tools to Protect Coastal Plain
Watersheds” that developed a coastal land cover model, conducted a coastal plain community needs survey (results
are online here: http://www.cwp.org/#survey), created a coastal watershed Network, and adapted the 8 Tools for
Watershed Protection Framework for coastal areas. (PDF contains 4 pages)