What is stormwater/runoff?
Storm water is the excess water from rain or snowfall that isn’t immediately absorbed or percolated into the ground. It is then redistributed along roads, stormwater drains, ditches, etc. Snow melt is also considered as stormwater. It is often piled in one area (from plowing roads and parking lots) and follows the channels and drains in that location. Many low impact development (L.I.D.) sites are installed in the areas where snow is piled up in order to filter the salt, sand, washer fluid, and other chemical inputs from the water before it enters the watershed.
Why is stormwater bad?
Stormwater is a natural occurrence that is increased due to the impermeable human environment like roads and buildings. Increased paved areas puts more stress on green spaces, often to the extent that they cannot absorb all the water causing runoff. Stormwater and runoff can pick up nutrients, chemical contaminants, and pollution and carry them into the watershed. Excess of these inputs in the streams and watersheds can harm the fish and wildlife habitants and cause them to find other places to occupy, or extirpate them, dimishing the general health of the stream.
How do we improve stormwater conditions?
There are multiple ways to improve stormwater and runoff into streams; primarily, these strategies include use of vegetation. Planting trees, shrubs, and grasses in the buffer or riparian zone improves general runoff. Ideally, all waterways should have a 15 to 30 metre buffer zone of older growth vegetation. Stormwater drains themselves can be remade to flow in the buffer zone, not directly into the stream, in order for plants to have a chance to absorb the water and nutrient inputs, as well as filter out larger particles like garbage or gravels. This kind of system is called low impact development, or L.I.D.
Our projects are examples of projects including L.I.D. installations in order to reduce inpouts from stormwater. Click here to learn more about our current initiatives and past projects!