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Water bodies, watersheds and storm water
Preserving natural vegetation is part of a Florida Water Star(SM)-certified home and of low impact development

Preserving natural vegetation is part of a Florida Water StarSM-certified home and of LID.

Low impact development (LID)

The need

In Florida, untreated stormwater runoff contributes to the pollutants entering our rivers, lakes and streams. Untreated stormwater runoff carries road residues, pesticides, fertilizers, pet wastes and other pollutants into our waterways. An estimated 80 to 95 percent of the heavy metals (copper, lead and cadmium) entering Florida waters are the result of untreated stormwater runoff. Natural processes that would otherwise retain, cleanse and filter storm water have been reduced by the impervious surfaces — roads and rooftops — associated with traditional urban development.

What is LID?

Low impact development (LID) is an approach to land development that uses various land planning, design and construction practices to simultaneously conserve and protect natural resource systems while reducing infrastructure costs. LID stands apart from other concepts through its emphasis on cost-effective strategies at the lot level. Designing an individual site to replicate predevelopment hydrology can reduce the project’s impacts on natural systems.

Fast facts
  • The largest green roof in existence is 10.5 acres, located atop Ford’s Rouge River Manufacturing Complex in Dearborn, Mich.
  • LID has been shown to reduce energy consumption.
  • LID helps to reduce urban heat by increasing green areas that quickly dissipate heat.


LID strategies move away from a centralized method of collecting, conveying and discharging water to one that minimizes both impervious areas and stores and treats storm water in a more distributed fashion, sometimes even on the individual lot level.

Uniformity is generally the rule with traditional developments. In traditional developments, houses may be fronted by St. Augustine sod and serviced by a centralized stormwater system that may include a retention pond. In contrast, LID allows and encourages the integration of treatment and management measures into individual lots or house sites. Strategic placement of distributed lot-level controls — such as preservation of natural on-site wetlands — can be customized to closely mimic a watershed’s natural hydrology. The result is a hydrologically functional landscape that generates less surface water runoff, less pollution and erosion, and reduced overall damage to lakes, streams, rivers and coastal waters.

The district works closely with applicants applying LID concepts to projects. Senior district regulatory staff members are trained in how to review systems that employ LID practices. Attention is given to matching appropriate practices with site specific needs.

Common LID practices

Many different types of LID practices can be used and new practices are being created. Some common LID practices include

  • Vegetated swales, buffers and strips
  • Narrower streets without curbs and gutters
  • Curb cutaways for median storage
  • End-of-island bioretention cells
  • Permeable pavers
  • Green roofs
  • Rain gardens and bioretention
  • Tree or natural area preservation
  • Rain gardens, rain barrels or cisterns
  • In-ground infiltration and storage
  • Green build programs such as Florida Water StarSM


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St. Johns River Water Management District
4049 Reid Street, Palatka, FL 32177
(800) 725-5922