Why Do It

low_impact.jpgLow Impact Development (LID) is an inexpensive, simple approach to protecting water quality. The basic strategy is to conserve beneficial natural features of a site, its "green infrastructure," by avoiding unnecessary paving, grading, and soil compaction. LID often reduces the cost of development and maintenance.

Basic Features

  • Key components of LID are:
  • Minimize impervious surfaces, such as driveways, roofs, concrete pads, and compacted earth.
  • Avoid soil disturbance and compaction.
  • Protect and expand native vegetation.
  • Minimize site clearing.
  • Avoid direct connections between impervious area drainage and streams or storm drains.

Documented use of LID techniques can help meet the requirements of a Drainage Plan, as well as Basic and Post-Construction Stormwater Management Plans.

Site Suitability

LID refers to general techniques that can be applied to any site.

Design and Installation

They are best implemented in the planning and development stages of a project. Here are some examples:

  • Buildings can be sited to result in shorter (and cheaper) driveways with less surface area.
  • Remove any excess parking areas, if present. This reduces paving maintenance and snow removal costs in the long run. If overflow parking is needed on rare occasions, consider alternatives to pavement, such as pervious gravel or pavers.
  • Avoid removing native vegetation. Work with your contractor to create a space-efficient access plan to the site during construction.
  • Minimize the ground area accessible to vehicles during construction, which protects soil from compaction and reduces the need for soil restoration later.
  • Reduce the size of intensively-managed turf and lawns, allowing native vegetation to remain or take over where appropriate. Areas that are to remain open to can become meadows, by mowing only once or twice a year.


Thoughtful application of LID techniques to your development or re-development project will reduce maintenance needs by allowing natural vegetation and soil process to protect water quality.