August Key Message: Low Impact Development Low Impact Development (LID) Improves Water Quality and Quantity

What is low impact development (LID)? It is a development and engineering design approach used to maintain pre-developed or natural site hydrology under postdevelopment conditions. LID improves both stormwater quantity and quality by managing stormwater close to the source through infiltration, evaporation, and storage.

Some examples of LID are: Permeable Concrete, Permeable Pavers, Rain Garden/Bioretention, Vegetated Bioswale, Green Roof, and Rainwater Harvesting. 

Why is LID important? Studies have shown that when the percent of impervious surface, (roads, sidewalks, parking lots, rooftops) in a watershed reaches the 10-20% range the stream is no longer able to function healthily, and the stream becomes impaired. In highly impervious watersheds, pollutants enter streams in higher concentrations and at faster rates compared to natural watersheds. Impervious surfaces also increase the frequency and severity of flooding as well as speed up the flow of stormwater runoff and cause erosion.

Tulsa’s stormwater quality permit requires water quality standards to be maintained and the promotion of LID in development is one way to maintain stream health. LID slows the flow of stormwater runoff, and allows it to soak into the ground, thereby removing harmful pollutants from entering our streams lakes and rivers.

The City of Tulsa’s Partners for A Clean Environment (PACE) has a recognition program for businesses and residences highlighting LID best practices. To become a member of PACE – LID, businesses and residences must feature one or more of the above listed LID practices and agree to maintenance the LID feature as needed. PACE – LID members receive a certificate of appreciation, window display sticker, public recognition by the Stormwater Quality public education program, and may be featured on LID/environmental education tours in Tulsa. To learn more information about becoming a PACE – LID member contact City of Tulsa Stormwater Quality at (918) 591-4325 or email Jacob Hagen at

To learn more about LID in Tulsa and around the country visit: City of Tulsa Low Impact Development Environmental Protection Agency Low Impact Development Great Plains LID:

In partnership with the Disaster Resilience Network, the City of Tulsa shares these monthly key messages from the Program for Public Information as part of the National Flood Insurance Program – Community Rating System. This outreach assists our community in keeping low flood insurance rates. Tulsa property owners and renters are eligible to receive up to a 40 percent discount on flood insurance rates.

Tim Lovell