Low Impact Development /
Green Infrastructure

Low Impact Development / Green Infrastructure

What is Low Impact Development (LID)?

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) website:
“LID is an approach to land development (or re-development) that works with nature to manage stormwater as close to its source as possible. LID employs principles such as preserving and recreating natural landscape features, minimizing effective imperviousness to create functional and appealing site drainage that treat stormwater as a resource rather than a waste product. There are many practices that have been used to adhere to these principles such as bioretention facilities, rain gardens, vegetated rooftops, rain barrels, and permeable pavements. By implementing LID principles and practices, water can be managed in a way that reduces the impact of built areas and promotes the natural movement of water within an ecosystem or watershed.”

What is Green Infrastructure?

Green infrastructure is practices or facilities that reduce the volume, rate or pollutant load of stormwater runoff before it goes into the sewer system and nearby waterways. They do this by capturing stormwater and diverting it to where it can be detained, infiltrated into the ground, evaporated, taken up by plants, or reused. There are several types of green infrastructure best management practices.

These include:

  • Bioretention cells, planter boxes and other rain garden techniques
  • Tree plantings and native plantings
  • Pervious pavements and green roofs
  • Wet ponds and constructed wetlands
  • Rain barrels and other rainwater harvesting techniques

According to the EPA:
“At the largest scale, the preservation and restoration of natural landscape features (such as forests, floodplains and wetlands) are critical components of green stormwater infrastructure. By protecting these ecologically sensitive areas, communities can improve water quality while providing wildlife habitat and opportunities for outdoor recreation.

On a smaller scale, green infrastructure practices include rain gardens, porous pavements, green roofs, infiltration planters, trees and tree boxes, and rainwater harvesting for non-potable uses such as toilet flushing and landscape irrigation.”

Demonstration Project: Lasalle Bioswale

St. Johns Riverkeeper and our numerous partners collaborated to install the City of Jacksonville’s first bioswale along Lasalle Street in front of the San Marco Library. A bioswale collects stormwater runoff from roads, rooftops, and parking lots and uses soil and plants to remove pollution before the water reaches the St. Johns River.

Funded by a grant from Coca-Cola, the bioswale was installed to demonstrate how Low Impact Development (LID) or Green Infrastructure strategies can be effectively utilized as alternatives to traditional stormwater practices. A portion of the runoff from Lasalle Street and the surrounding area will now be diverted into the bioswale, helping to clean the stormwater before it enters our river.

Previously, this water was diverted into storm drains and went straight to the river untreated, carrying with it fertilizers, chemicals, and other pollutants.

This project was made possible by the generous contributions of numerous partners, including enVision Design + Engineering, Coca-Cola, San Marco Preservation Society, Greenscape, Jacksonville Zoo & Gardens, MetroVerde, Content Design Group, Petticoat-Schmidt, Media Works, PMB Constructors, Superior Trees, City of Jacksonville, Council Member Lori Boyer, and Jacksonville Public Library.

The project also includes a pervious concrete walkway at the site donated by Florida Roads.

Learn more about the Lasalle Bioswale and the benefits and watch a great video about how it got started by clicking here.