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What Is LID? 

Posted On: 17.11.20

What Is LID? 

In keeping with CottageClub's extensive conservation studies, consultations with eco-conscious leaders, and sustainable landscaping practices, this week we are featuring ALIDP's (Alberta Low Impact Development Partnership) article on low impact development - "Equipping Albertans To Create Vibrant, Ecologically Functional Landscapes Within The Built Environment, Through Comprehensive Stormwater Management".



Designers have long known the toll that compacted turf-and-tree landscapes and hardened surfaces like roofs, roads and parking lots take on our lakes, rivers and streams. However, the tools to address these impacts in this complex system have only begun to be developed in the past decade or two.

Green infrastructure, sustainable urban drainage systems, water-sensitive urban design, low impact development… whatever the name, the goal remains the same: a high-performance urban environment from the perspective of our water resources.

So low impact development is really a statement of a desired outcome - the outcome of a holistic approach to urban drainage management.

Low impact development doesn’t just achieve flood protection during extreme rainfall events - it achieves more - by considering the entire hydrologic cycle and mobilizing the whole landscape. As a result, cumulative impacts are lessened, the burden on conventional infrastructure is reduced, ecological functionality is maintained or restored, and water supplies are cleaner and more secure.

Taking its cues from the science developed in the field of wastewater treatment over the last century, low impact development uses a toolbox of practices (the treatment train) to achieve its goals. From non-structural measures implemented long before shovel meets soil, to practices during construction, measures that homeowners can take, and public infrastructure, the whole landscape has a role to play.

What does this mean for property owners?

We need houses and roads for our growing population. Unfortunately, all those hard surfaces result in twenty or more times the runoff than a natural landscape! And that runoff can be quite dirty.

For property owners a low impact development is an evolution of the science of stormwater management. It is an approach that mimics nature's features and processes in order to minimize and clean up this runoff in the most economical way possible - while maximizing environmental and social benefits. A low-impact landscape on your own property is an essential component of an affordable, sustainable stormwater management system. Learn how you can do your part... there are many simple ways to get started!


At CottageClub, lot owners are encouraged to landscape with a low impact approach and to incorporate native plants and trees on their lots. Lot owners are finding it rewarding to keep with the original native grasses, flowers, shrubs, and trees that over thousands of years have established their validity to live and to flourish with little to no maintenance. If you're interested in innovative, eco-conscious land practices that are good for the environment and benefit us all, visit us at CottageClub or contact us.

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