John McMaine, assistant professor and water management engineer extension state specialist at South Dakota State University, was the presenter of the Iowa Learning Farms webinar on Wednesday. During the webinar, McMaine explored urban stormwater management and the effect that low impact development can have on water quantity and quality.
McMaine explained how even small increases in impervious surfaces can have dramatic impacts on how much runoff there is. Water quantity then goes from being infiltration dominated to being runoff dominated, which can also lead to water quality problems.
Urban development leads to an increase in impervious area, which in turn increases peak flow and total water volume. New pollutants are also introduced to the area and there is no barrier that prevents these pollutants from reaching the water bodies. Changes in precipitation and climate can also impact the urban water cycle.
In order to address these issues, structural and non-structural practices can be used. Structural practices include the use of rain gardens, rain collection barrels, permeable pavers, and more. Non-structural practices include maximizing green spaces, minimizing impermeable surfaces, and protecting native soils, among others. While these practices can potentially benefit everyone, it can be difficult to know who is responsible for their implementation and the costs associated.
To learn more about low impact development and urban stormwater management, watch the full webinar!
Join us on Wednesday, November 25 at noon for the webinar “Can Moments of Awe and Gratitude Improve the Environment?” presented by Jacqueline Comito, an anthropologist and the director of Iowa Learning Farms.