What is Low Impact Development?

Photo: road swale shows a nice country road lined with trees.Low impact development (LID) is a site planning, design, implementation, and maintenance program aimed at promoting environmental integrity with development and growth. LID, as a technique, began in the 1980's in Prince George's County, Maryland. Since that time it has become an international standard for combining development with environmental integrity.

Low Impact Development integrates stormwater practices into site design using a customized layout for each project. Some of the most commonly used integrated management practices (IMPs) include: permeable pavement, cisterns, grassed swales, bioretention, rain gardens, and level spreaders. These are small-scale practices that fit unobtrusively into a landscape.