Yet another term for doing the right thing… Green Infrastructure


Not sure exactly what the EPA is good at these days under the IFT (Idiot From Texas) regime – but coming up with new terms to describe doing the right thing is certainly up there on the list.

Now it is Green Infrastructure…. which is a combination of…. well, anything that is the color green on your site. Hate to be excitable, but yet another breakthrough for the EPA! Read all about it here.

Interesting local (Maryland) point… A look at the Green Infrastructure Glossary of Terms reveals nothing about ESD – Environmental Site Design – which is what Maryland is calling site design with stormwater management practices that are the color green. The EPA seems to call it Better Site Design and LID – Low Impact Development. Maybe we are wrong, but it does not seem Maryland and the EPA are fully in-step on these initiatives.

Ahh, politics – who knows what has – and is – going on between the entities and their “partners”. One can only guess:

Let’s see… Larry Coffman at Prince George’s County was THE FIRST to develop the idea – which he called Low Impact Development. Now Neil Weinstein at the LID Center waves the LID flag, with alot of help – and “partnering” – from the EPA. Nothing like the opportunity a “nonprofit organization” offers. Regardless, it seems like the folks at the Maryland Department of the Environment have no love lost for the term LID.

Just a note about LID – “pure” LID does differ from other techniques as it does attempt to mimic pre-development runof. The dirty little truth is that this rarely happens in the real world and is not really feasible in practice on most projects. This may be why the ONLY efficient tool to design and compute the effects of LID – The LID Module – has not been embraced by the LID Community. The hydrologic effects of an LID design can be computed so quickly that it clearly demonstrates just how difficult it is to design sites with the original LID intent. Anyone disagree? Do contact me. I would be glad to discuss why this is true. I’m an in-the-trenches designer who has been there, done that. Few of those who advocate LID are or have real world design experience.

Anyway, the Center for Watershed Protection came up with the term Better Site Design a few years back. Pretty much means the same thing as LID, except no major emphasis on mimicking predevelopment hydrology. Guess there are reasons why MDE does not want to use the CWP’s term….

But of course, now that Tom Schueler is no longer at the CWP, maybe it is…. oh, who knows.

Politics. That’s why we stay out of it, and just get the power to the ground on a project-by-project basis.


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2 Responses to Yet another term for doing the right thing… Green Infrastructure

  1. verplanck colvin says:

    LID really hasn’t caught on fire in VT, probably because of the large amounts of clay soils and high water table, preventing many infiltration practices. We haven’t a lot of LID evangelizers, so I’m not sure what you seem to be getting at: LID is not a “reality-based” engineering alternative. What parts of LID are difficult to achieve?

    – just another pond designer

  2. bmaryman says:

    out in the pnw (thought i’d get in on the acronym game; pnw = pacific northwest) we’re using both LID and green infrastructure, though LID seems more prevalent. green infrastructure, as we suggest in our wiki ( might allow a discussion of a more wholistic kit of parts.

    as to the LID advocates, check out peg staeheli’s work at SvR Design in Seattle. she walks the talk and has, yes, actually built it. check out the high point redevelopment in west seattle as perhaps the most compelling example of a large scale application.

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