Last week was eventful in many ways, but most specifically in the discussions of low-Impact development, or LID.  The federation helped Columbia and Dare and Currituck counties organize meetings to discuss the potential for expanded application of LID in the northeast coast.  From these meetings it’s becoming clear that there is increasing support for LID.

A method to reduce or eliminate stormwater pollution, LID is an economical alternative to conventional stormwater controls. Instead of the standard stormwater systems that work to remove stormwater from residential and urban environments as quickly as possible, LID techniques advocate for a slower movement of stormwater by using natural, on-site features, such as rain gardens and cisterns,  permeable pavement and rain barrels.

Volunteers on Columbia’s technical review team begin the process of devising a LID manual for the town.

Modeled after work done in the Cedar Point and Cape Carteret in Carteret County, Columbia has formed a technical review team to collaboratively create a voluntary LID manual that introduces methods and techniques to the area. It’s quite impressive to see a volunteer group of educators, planning board members and real-estate agents illustrate such commitment to creating a document that pledges to work towards LID techniques. This teams hopes to produce Columbia’s LID manual by the end of the year.

Dare and Currituck counties with the federation and N.C. Division of Water Quality, hosted an LID workshop  that  30 people attended. They included town planners,  engineers, developers and  landscape architects. Several speakers explained the state’s commitment to LID, problems encountered in permitting LID techniques, cost-savings and the way forward.

Among the speakers, Mike Randall of the division flawlessly advocated for the adoption of LID as well as the hurdles that needed to be conquered. Hunter Freeman, an engineer with Withers & Ravenel in Raleigh, explained a program created initially for Cedar Point and Cape Carteret that makes it easy to determine how LID techniques meet state stormwater management rules. Our own Lauren Kolodij, talked about the many partnerships that have formed and continue to emerge as groups such as homebuilder, real-estate agents, local governments and the federation realize the multiple benefits LID and embrace opportunities to work together to implement the techniques.

While the reception seemed to be quite strong, there is an obvious need to strengthen the dialog about LID in the northeast coast. The federation is committed to helping facilitate those conversations and bring stakeholders to the table to identify obstacles and opportunities for LID.

— Ladd Bayliss, coastal advocate