Environmental Site Design (ESD) Debate rages

The ESD Debate in Maryland rages on as the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) attempts to revise the State’s regulations to address the requirements of the Stormwater Management Act of 2007.

Some industry groups are lining up against the effort in the traditional “Us Against Them”approach. Reminds me of the Civil War battle techniques.

The Environmental Consortium continues to explain their case. See Tom Schueler’s presentation here. Definitely worth a look.

Who is caught in the middle?

1. The General Public, who may be required to change some of their ways and traditional idea of private property rights.

2. Employees of Local Municipalities – These are the folks who must explain things to the general public, field the complaints, and try to protect their jobs when that one politically connected person complains to their County Councilperson.

3. MDE – who maybe should have had the foresight to revise the 2000 Stormwater Design Manual on an ongoing basis to reflect changes in technology and politics. MDE’s in-action (or lack of budget!) is quite possibly what got us here. But who knows?

4. The Designers of projects – and Reviewers – throughout the State, who quite possibly may be saddled with the responsibility to attempt to design and approve sites with practices and guidance that are ill conceived and not well executed. This has happened before – and we see it heading there again.

So we must ask… Is there any middle ground between those who are pushing ESD and those who are steeped in too much tradition? Or will the State’s Design and Review Community get screwed once again?

Film at 11.

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5 Responses to Environmental Site Design (ESD) Debate rages

  1. Walter Caldwell says:

    I really dig your blog. I’m a big fan of blogs, primaily neighboorhood interest and urban gentrification stuff, but rarely reply to them.

    Storm water management implementation and maintenance are subjects that i spend a lot of time thinking about. So i really apreaciate what you’re doing here. I’m curious to see how the District of Columbia responds to this new mandate. The District comprises a fairlay small amount of the total storm water contributuion to the “Bay” watershed but has taken some sigificant steps to address storm water but can probably do more, especially with its own facilities.

    Keep doing what you do.

  2. Gary Belan says:

    It’s been a while since you posted this, but I think this a critical issue that keeps coming up. In fact, it’s not just in Maryland, but in many other places around the country. What bothers me is that the “industry” always seems to want to stick with the traditional, and very rarely looks outside the box. I think it’s importnant to come to a middle ground, but can we get the industry folks to come to a middle ground before our streams are destroyed? I’m going to post this on our blog too (http://blog.americanrivers.org/wordpress/index.php), because I think this is a critical issue that needs to be addressed if we are going to get anywhere in improving water quality.

  3. Pingback: Stormwater Wars : American Rivers Blog

  4. Pingback: Blog Round Up: December 21th - December 28th : American Rivers Blog

  5. Mac McCarthy says:

    The landscape continues to evolve.

    MDE -with extraordiarily limited resources – has defined ESD in an agressive innovative way – basically requiring post development hydrology equivalent to woods in good condition, REGARDLESS of predevelopment conditions. Finally going beyond “unified sizing criteria” for structural BMPs, the new criteria opens the door for creative teams fo engineers- landscape architects-designers&contractors to assemble a total site package that meets this criteria cost-effectively.

    A heroic effort has been underway to develop design guidance and demonstrate tools to make this work.

    The Irony is that the NGOs organized as the Chesapeake Stormwater Network, trying to push for even more stringent criteria have been contributing discredited exagerations and misstatements – like claims that infiltation in clay soils poses no problem- and largely lost any substatnive credibility they initially brought to the table.

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