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 stormwater infrastructure because it protects local water quality and salmon, it reduces pollution and flooding in denser communities, and it makes our neighborhoods more livable, walkable, and resilient.
THREATS to our Communities
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. Stormwater pollution carries dangerous contamination through our neighborhoods and into our waterways, increasing health risks to people and wildilfe. As our population grows, development expands, and the impacts of climate change hit the Pacific Northwest, we need better drainage and natural buffers to protect our homes, our communities and our ecosystem. Read more about the threats from polluted stormwater runoff.
OUR IMPACT when we Build
Low-impact development (LID) helps protect our waterways, salmon and communities from pollution and urban flooding by slowing down the path of stormwater through developed areas and filtering out dangerous contaminants. LID 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 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, Low-Impact Developer
A SUSTAINABLE vision for Growth
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 heavy rain events. Instead of contributing to flooding in denser communities, or washing pollution into the environment, stored rainfall can be treated and reused, or released slowly to absorb into the ground.
SCORING community Planning
Puget Soundkeeper and WEC put together Nature’s Scorecard to grade cities and counties on how well they are planning for a healthy future. Nature’s Scorecard provides a snapshot of how the communities around Puget Sound are performing, measured against the requirements in their pollution discharge permits. Cities and counties were graded on 5 key elements: