10 • 04 • 2011

Los Angeles Adopts Low Impact Development Ordinance

By Surfrider Foundation

An important component of our Know Your H2O program, and a good example of the multiple benefits that result in reforming how we manage water, is adoption of “Low Impact Development” (LID) ordinances by local governments.


After several years of advocacy by the environmental community, Los Angeles, California finally took this important step in restoring some natural watershed functions to developed urban areas.


Rain Garden


The LID ordinance requires the use of sustainable practices to manage stormwater and urban runoff by requiring measures to capture, infiltrate and/or reuse stormwater on site (when feasible). Examples include bio-filtration systems, planter boxes, and rain barrels. 


The ordinance will require LID practices at certain levels for construction of new or redevelopment projects requiring building permits.  Benefits of LID include:

·         Reducing stormwater runoff and the pollutants it carries to local waterways and our beaches;

·         Capturing rainwater on-site to increase groundwater recharge;

·         Reducing the threat of flood damage from heavy rainfall events;

·         Enhancing safe recreational opportunities, as well as the beauty of our communities.


It’s obviously easier to incorporate landscape design features to achieve these multiple benefits for new development or re-development projects. We also would have liked to see the criteria of our Ocean Friendly Gardens program better incorporated into this ordinance, but this is a good start. Our next goal will be to work with agencies and other partners to transform existing landscapes with Ocean Friendly Gardens.


Learn about the multiple benefits of LID and Ocean Friendly Gardens


Also visit the Los Angeles LID website to review the new ordinance and lots of other helpful information: