Monday, August 15, 2011

Forging the Link: Linking the Economic Benefits of Low Impact Development and Community Decisions.
The University of New Hampshire (UNH) Stormwater Center, the Virginia Commonwealth University and the Antioch University New England have released: Forging the Link: Linking the Economic Benefits of Low Impact Development and Community Decisions.

Forging the Link (FTL), is a comprehensive curriculum examining cost as one of the primary barriers to the implementation of low impact development (LID).

The FTL curriculum demonstrates:
1. the ecological benefits of LID with respect to water quality, aquatic habitat and watershed health
2. the economic benefits of using both traditional and innovative infrastructure to manage stormwater
3. the capability of LID to be used as a climate change adaptation planning tool to minimize the stress on urban stormwater management infrastructure

The curriculum consists of a series of case studies from around the country presented in a resource manual, PowerPoint presentation, and delivery and facilitation guides. It is available and designed for organizations that are tasked with educating on the topic of nonpoint source pollution and/or climate change for a municipal decision maker audience such as Nonpoint Education for Municipal Officials (NEMO), Coastal Training Programs (CTP), Sea Grant engagement experts, Cooperative Extension Agents, National Estuary Program (NEP) staffs, or other non-governmental organizations.

Forging the Link is a social-science and research based curriculum developed in partnership with end users (NEMO, CTP, Sea Grant, etc) and the intended audience (municipal decision makers). The FTL was funded by CICEET and NOAA and can be found at:
Economic Benefits Associated with the Use of LID:
• Whole project cost savings for new development by reduction of drainage infrastructure
• Land development savings from a reduced amount of disturbance
• Higher property values of 12 to 16 percent
• Reduction in home cooling by 33 to 50 percent from the use of natural vegetation and reduced avement area.

Three LID Case Studies that identify the scales at which there are clear economic incentives:
Residential Site: Boulder Hills
This LID condominium community features a porous asphalt road and incorporated porous pavements and rooftop infiltration systems. The benefits included: improved local permitting, positive exposure for
the developers, an 11 percent reduction in the amount of disturbed land and a stormwater management cost savings of 6 percent compared to a conventional design. Although porous asphalt was more costly, cost savings are realized through the reduction in drainage piping, erosion control measures, catch basins, and the
elimination of  curbing, outlet control structures, and stormwater detention ponds.

Commercial Site: Greenland Meadows This retail shopping center features the largest porous asphalt installation in the Northeast. The 56-acre development includes porous asphalt, landscaping areas, a large gravel wetland and other advanced stormwater management. Costly conventional strategies were avoided, and there was a cost savings of 26 percent for stormwater management.

Combined Sewer Overflow
On a larger scale, communities are faced with the challenges of managing their combined sewer overflows to reduce the discharge of untreated sewage into waterways.  These large often outdated systems carry
price tags in the billions of dollars to store, separate and treat. By combining a gray and green approach the costs and volumes of stormwater are significantly reduced. For example, the city of Portland, Oregon was
able to save an estimated $63M as compared to an estimated $144 million, by considering a green approach, and the city of Chicago, Illinois, was able to divert over 70 million gallons of stormwater from their CSO, in one year.

For more information contact Robert Roseen, PhD, Director, UNHSC, or Todd Janeski, Environmental Scientist, Virginia Commonwealth University,

U.S.Environmental Protection Agency NonPoint Source Information Email List
August 9, 2011

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