Shaping Climate Resilient Communities — Low Impact Development (LID)

Low Impact Development (LID) features in a MetroWest shopping plaza © Trisha Garrigan
Low Impact Development (LID) features © Trisha Garrigan

Solutions to conserve land, restore resources, protect water, and save money through Low Impact Development (LID) and green infrastructure.

Fact Sheets 

This series of five fact sheets reviews how LID can help communities save land, water, and money.

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When it rains, most of us reach for an umbrella or run to close our windows—but we may not think about where all that water is heading. For communities facing flooding and the high costs of water quality regulations, it is increasingly important.

Polluted water from roads and parking lots gets washed into streams and ponds, and municipalities on tight budgets are facing millions of dollars in stormwater improvements. As forests and farmlands—which act as natural water filtration systems—are paved over, the problem grows.

There are cost-effective stormwater solutions, with a focus on Low Impact Development (LID), which works with nature rather than against it.

What are Green Infrastructure & LID?

More Information 

Learn More About LID

Download this presentation to learn more about cost-effective Low Impact Development (LID).

Learn what to look for in your local bylaws to allow for LID with our analysis framework.

See our Bylaw Review Tool >

Green infrastructure incorporates natural features such as floodplains, forests, wetlands, and buffer areas. Green infrastructure also refers to a designed landscape that puts natural systems to work like soil and vegetation and mimics those natural processes.

LID is a category of green infrastructure that works with nature to manage stormwater and decrease the impact of development on surface and groundwater. The EPA defines LID as “an approach to land development (or re-development) that works with nature to manage stormwater as close to its source as possible. LID employs principles such as preserving and recreating natural landscape features, minimizing effective imperviousness to create functional and appealing site drainage that treat stormwater as a resource rather than a waste product.”

Green infrastructure and LID techniques include:

  • Land use planning and regulation
  • Development and redevelopment projects
  • Infrastructure improvements
  • Tree planting, rain gardens, green roofs, bioswales, rain barrels

How These Solutions Help Communities

Green Infrastructure and LID provide practical methods to:

  • Minimize costs of development and local infrastructure maintenance (e.g. roads and stormwater)
  • Reduce flooding
  • Improve water quality
  • Protect and restore natural features that improve quality of life and property values

The benefits extend both locally and to downstream communities. While the current focus of our workshops and technical assistance program is in the Blackstone River Watershed, the information found here about LID cost effectiveness is applicable throughout Massachusetts and beyond.

LID Projects

Blackstone River Watershed LID Work
MetroWest LID Work

Additional Resources