Low impact development (LID), alternatively referred to as green stormwater infrastructure (GSI) or natural drainage, is a technique that mimics nature by slowing and filtering stormwater. Effective LID/GSI projects help protect water quality in streams, rivers, lakes, and Puget Sound, and also help reduce flooding and combined sewer overflows. When these projects are constructed in the right places, they have been found to work well, save money, and provide aesthetic and other community benefits.
LID/GSI is poised to be universally launched in the region as municipalities meet permit requirements to update their codes to incorporate these techniques by the end of 2016. Over the past 20 years, jurisdictions have begun to implement a variety of LID/GSI techniques by proactively changing municipal code, building demonstration projects, and supporting proactive developers.
With support from the Surdna Foundation, Futurewise interviewed staff from King County and all cities within King County and others to find out the lay of the land of stormwater management and local experiences implementing LID/GSI techniques.
As a result of those interviews, we found that staff need and desire improved approaches for talking with the public about stormwater. While there have been several research efforts on effective stormwater language conducted to date, they have been limited in scope. In addition, in our interviews with staff, we learned of the need for high quality, customizable, outreach materials on key stormwater topics that can be used universally across the Puget Sound region, in multiple languages. Futurewise will be working in 2017 to address stormwater outreach through a social marketing study.