What is L.I.D.?
LID stands for low impact development. It is a stormwater management method in which rainfall and other stormwater sources (e.g. winter snow melts) are filtered through man-made nature-inspired channels before entrance into the watershed.
How does it work?
The LID pathways are typically a series different cobbles, gravels, and sands that filter the water, in combination with (or lined with) moisture-tolerant plants to absorb the excess runoff water and nutrients/pollutants it carries from roads and the human environment.
Why do we need it?
Stormwater/runoff filtration is important to watersheds because excess nutrients (i.e. nitrogen fertilizers or manure runoff from farmland) can have harmful effects on the ecosystem. For example, an excess of nitrogen in the system can trigger algal blooms, causing fish and other water creatures to suffocate due the the algae using up all the oxygen. Stormwater runoff can also carry pollutants from the human environment into waterways such as oils, road salts, and other chemicals.
What types of L.I.D. strategies are used?
There are various types of LID that involve a variety of involvement. The simplest kind of LID is a rain barrel, when stormwater is captured and used later on for watering plants and gardens. The next step from this is a rain garden where stormwater is directed and captured in an area with an impermeable substrate to be absorbed by plants. Cities and municipalities, for example, would install large scale versions of a rain garden.
For more information on rain gardens and how you can diminish your stormwater inputs, visit our partner EcoSuperior’s website here.