New "Must-Read:" Permeable Pavements Book

It's here, it's here! 

After much anticipation, the thirty one members of the Permeable Pavement Task Committee have finally released the Permeable Pavements book.  This 262-page document provides a summary of typical permeable pavement systems and includes pavement performance data, design and construction considerations, factors affecting maintenance, and even a chapter on emerging technologies.  

Though increasingly used on our sidewalks, roadways, parking lots and even play areas, there are still only a few agencies with standards that can be used for the design of pervious pavement systems. This document is a comprehensive resource providing technical guidance for this important stormwater management BMP. It's a must read for "engineers, planners, landscape architects, municipalities, transportation agencies, regulatory agencies, and property owners."

The book's publication was sponsored by the Low Impact Development Committee of the Urban Water Resources Research Council of the Environmental and Water Resources Institute of ASCE. Published by the American Society of Civil Engineers.

Look for the contributions of a few of your favorite SvR authors and special thanks to the hardworking editing and review team of Kelly Lindow, Bethany Eisenberg and David Smith who spent many late nights compiling, editing, reviewing, and cat herding to get this publication out the door!

Want your very own copy? You can find it here


Obstacles to Green Infrastructure: M+O

We're at the tipping point for LID.

Efficacy is no longer an issue. After years of promoting low impact development practices because of their ability to mimic the natural processes of undisturbed landscapes, numerous projects, around the country, have shown the effectiveness of LID. Federal policy is shifting to incentivize LID/green infrastructure. And Portland's Mayor, Sam Adams, is using new funding strategies to achieve both stormwater and bicycle mobility objectives.

But still there is resistance to widespread adoption of low impact development facilities like bioswales and porous pavements.

One of the more intractable issues is maintenance and operations. Private developers are often concerned that LID presents a maintenance nightmare. And public utilities--which have been some of the pioneers in implementing LID--may not be confident in having the funding resources to maintain and/or establish the plants used in so many LID facilities.

Thanks to Seattle Public Utilities and Seattle Housing Authority, we've had the opportunity to update High Point's Right-of-Way and Open Space Landscape Maintenance Guidelines bi-annually, and have worked with the various maintenance companies to train them on the intent of LID. It is definitely different than most landscape maintenance regimes, but different does not mean more. Different means different.

Let's take one example, mulch. The first bioretention swales that were installed at High Point in 2003 started with compost then applied standard bark mulch to protect the plants, control weeds and retain moisture--that was until the heavier rains came and the bark mulch appeared to migrate or floating away. We moved to topping with compost yard mulch and now several years later they are topping with arborist wood chips from on site tree pruning. Lesson learned.

Widespread adoption of LID is going to absolutely critical to retrofitting our developed landscape and repairing the Sound, which is why we've been sharing our technical guidelines on the website. Please use them, we need to move quickly beyond the obstacles and make LID the new normal.