Securing Our Resilient, Healthy Future

For over a century, we’ve developed our land in a way that interrupts the natural water cycle. Paved surfaces and hard rooftops prevent rain from soaking naturally into the soil. Instead, rainwater floods through our streets carrying pollution directly to local waterways, and our communities are bearing the burden. 

Around Puget Sound, communities are investing in green infrastructure because it protects people from pollution and flooding and makes our neighborhoods more livable, walkable, and resilient.

When our cities are paved over and pollution flows into lakes, streams, and Puget Sound, fish and wildlife suffer. Unfiltered stormwater from our streets can kill salmon in just hours. And stormwater pollution carries contamination through our neighborhoods and into our waterways, making people sick. As development continues to expand and climate change hits the Pacific Northwest, we need better drainage and natural buffers that protect our homes, businesses, and schools from flooding. Read more about the threats from polluted stormwater runoff.

Low-impact development (LID) helps protect people from pollution and flooding by slowing down the path of stormwater through our urban areas and filtering out dangerous contaminants. It prevents erosion and improves local water quality, and it also reduces costs to the community. Preventing pollution is far more economical than cleaning up and removing toxics from waterways and soils after they are polluted.

“Our company builds the way we do because we feel responsible for creating something that’s lasting, and actually does invoke the sense of community.”

Brian, Green Developer

In areas developed using the LID techniques outlined in this scorecard, rainfall soaks into the ground naturally: there’s more green space and fewer hard surfaces. Neighborhoods are more walkable, and buildings coexist with trees and rain gardens. Rain barrels or storage ponds hold excess water during rain events. Instead of contributing to flooding or washing pollution into the environment, stored rainfall can be treated and reused or released slowly to absorb into the ground.

Is your community using smart, low-impact development practices?

We’ve put together a scorecard that grades our cities and counties on how well they’re planning for a healthy future. Nature’s scorecard provides a snapshot of how our communities around Puget Sound are performing, measured against the requirements. Here are the elements we’ve graded them on: