Fort Huachuca is at the forefront of managing storm water through Low Impact Development
January 28, 2011
By Amy Sunseri
- LID projects try to implement or put into place measures that keep the storm runoff on site.
- The Army's draft policy calls for managing storm water differently than it has been handled in the past.
- Now there's not only a place for the water to go but the area will also be more attractive for landscape to flourish.
FORT HUACHUCA, Ariz. -- Managing storm water through Low Impact Development projects is a relatively new concept. It's a concept that the Army has fully embraced. A draft statement is currently in place to make LID projects an Army wide policy.
"I expect it to go final any day now," stated Tom Runyon, ENRD hydrologist.
It's a concept that the Environmental and Natural Resources Division on Fort Huachuca is already putting into practice. So what exactly is LID'
When land is developed, commercial buildings, parking lots, etcetera; what tends to happen is that land then receives more storm water runoff that it did before. LID projects try to implement or put into place measures that keep the storm runoff on site.
"It can be really simple ideas like contouring the site, putting in swales, burns, small basins that hold water and hold it so that the landscape can use it," explained Runyon.
In other words, you're not only trying to keep the storm water runoff on site but the water is then used to benefit the landscape; trees and plants on site. That way flooding will be decreased and the site will potentially be more beautiful.
"You're trying to maintain the pre-development hydrology. You're trying to keep the water on site like it did before it was developed," Runyon added.
The Army's draft policy calls for managing storm water differently than it has been handled in the past. The policy states for full implementation of Low Impact Development techniques to restore predevelopment hydrology to the maximum extent technically feasible. The policy applies to both new and renovated construction projects regardless of size.
On Fort Huachuca LID concepts are already in use. Staff at ENRD is currently in the planning stages Runyon said for, "Street side bio retention projects," across post. These projects will essentially provide street side micro basins that will hold water and also supply water to plants that are located in the basins. In turn, helping to beautify the fort.
"I hope everywhere you go you'll see these street side features that are very attractively landscaped and that don't require supplemental water," said Runyon.
Recently the Directorate of Emergency Services was having a problem with storm water runoff coming into their building. The big key there, Runyon explained was that there was no other place for the water to go other than towards the door. With the help of a work detail, Runyon and his staff excavated some small bio retention basins in the back of the building. Now there's not only a place for the water to go but the area will also be more attractive for landscape to flourish.
Another LID project that is currently in the works is at the Burger King parking lot on post. The old parking lot which has been demolished, Runyon explained didn't incorporate any storm water management features. The new parking lot he said incorporates a bio retention basin that will capture at least a portion of the runoff and help infiltrate it into the ground.
"I think the important thing about Low Impact Development is its very common sense," Runyon stated.
Runyon added that he's excited for Fort Huachuca to be the "poster child" for Low Impact Development with the Army. Adding that once people understand the concept they'll most likely understand how valuable and easy it is.