The James River Association, Potomac Conservancy and Friends of the Rappahannock conducted an analysis of local development codes and ordinances in 41 Virginia localities to determine the local barriers to employing Low Impact Development (LID) principles. LID principles use design practices that filter and store rainfall runoff, instead of allowing that runoff to directly travel into local streams.
The 41 Virginia localities were rated on the degree to which LID is encouraged and water quality considered in the rules that dictate the nature and character of development. The project took an in-depth look at whether a locality's ordinances touched on, required or encouraged 76 LID principles. Scores ranged from 3 percent to 72 percent, with the average locality score being 27 percent. All of the 76 LID principles were adopted by at least one locality, demonstrating that the incorporation of LID into local codes is achievable.
"We are excited by the successes that communities had implementing LID principles across Virginia," said James River Association Executive Director Bill Street. "All the pieces to solve the puzzle of how to improve water quality and economically thrive in the Commonwealth are in place. We'd like to see these cost-effective LID practices become the standard in every city and county in Virginia."
One example that the study provides on how LID can be incorporated into local decision making is by looking toward solutions such as redevelopment incentives and stormwater source controls. These types of measures would preserve green spaces and reduce the amount of stormwater that enters local waterways.
The project partners rated the 41 localities on LID principles, grouped into the following four categories: Minimization of Land Disturbance; Preserving Vegetation; Minimizing Impervious Cover; and General Water Quality Protection. The Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, the University of Virginia, Virginia Commonwealth University, George Mason University and the Center for Watershed Protection assisted in the review and assessment.
About the James River Association: The 340-mile James River runs from its headwaters in the Appalachians into the Chesapeake Bay, making it one of the longest rivers totally contained within one state. Called "America's Founding River" for the role it played in helping provide for the Jamestown settlers, the James River has a rich history, sustains a vibrant and diverse ecosystem and is a source of life and recreation for millions of Virginians.
The James River Association is a nonprofit conservation organization that serves as the primary "voice" of the James River, helping to ensure its health and vitality for more than 30 years. For more information about JRA, visit http://www.thejamesriver.org/
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