Low Impact Development (LID) - Landscaping for Pollution Prevention
What is an LID Feature?
Low Impact Development (LID) landscape features are important components of Windsor’s landscape, channeling storm water into the ground, preventing flooding in our neighborhoods and helping prevent pollutants from reaching critical habitat in our creeks.
When it rains, water that flows off of roofs, concrete or asphalt accumulates debris, chemicals and other polluting substances that are harmful to our local water ways.
Land development typically increases the amount of concrete or asphalt, which prevents storm water from naturally filtering into the ground. This increases runoff and can have negative impacts such as erosion, flooding, loss of wildlife habitat, and decreased aquatic biological diversity.
In order to reduce these impacts, the Town of Windsor uses storm water LID features. LID features are permanent, small scale, specialized components of a landscape that capture, treat and infiltrate storm water runoff. The soil and plants within these features filter storm water by removing pollutants. Swales, planters, and rain gardens are all examples of LID features that are both functional and aesthetically pleasing.
LID features are required for all projects that are creating or replacing one acre or more of impervious surface.
Maintenance - How do I take care of these LID features?
As the owner or manager of a property with LID features, it is your responsibility to properly maintain the LID features each year before the rainy season begins, and to submit a completed inspection form (see below) with current photos. All trash, sediment and debris must be removed, any dead plants must be replaced, and the overflows and overflow pipe inlets must be cleared. Regular maintenance ensures that LID features will perform as designed by allowing storm water to properly infiltrate into the ground and preventing pollutants in storm water overflow from entering creeks and waterways.
Want to install a LID feature? Check out these webpages to learn how to begin!
For local requirements and further information, please refer to the City of Santa Rosa's LID Webpage.
Slow it. Spread it. Sink it. Store it. is a great resource to further understand storm water runoff and includes a variety of techniques that you can apply to your home or property.
The U.S. EPA has a variety of resources on the design, selection, location, costs, and benefits of LID features (also called Green Infrastructure) here: EPA Green Infrastructure
Check out the Sonoma Marin Saving Water Partnership here for landscape design templates, and a water smart plant guide.