strate how native and non-native wetland plantings can be carefully composed as a landscape composition and also provide for stormwater treatment. If context and aesthetics of a chosen SCM are poorly matched, there is a high probability that the SCM will be eliminated or its function compromised because of modifications that make its landscape qualities more appropriate for its context.

CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

SCMs, when designed, constructed, and maintained correctly, have demonstrated the ability to reduce runoff volume and peak flows and to remove pollutants. However, in very few cases has the performance of SCMs been mechanistically linked to the guaranteed sustainment at the watershed level of receiving water quality, in-stream habitat, or stream geomorphology. Many studies demonstrate that degradation in rivers is directly related to impervious surfaces in the contributing watershed, and it is clear that SCMs, particularly combinations of SMCs, can reduce the runoff volume, erosive flows, and pollutant loadings coming from such surfaces. However, none of these measures perfectly mimic natural conditions, such that the accumulation of these SCMs in a watershed may not protect the most sensitive beneficial aquatic life uses in a state. Furthermore, the implementation of SCMs at the watershed scale has been too inconsistent and too recent to observe an actual cause-and-effect relationship between SCMs and receiving waters. The following specific conclusions and recommendations about stormwater control measures are made.


Individual controls on stormwater discharges are inadequate as the sole solution to stormwater in urban watersheds. SCM implementation needs to be designed as a system, integrating structural and nonstructural SCMs and incorporating watershed goals, site characteristics, development land use, construction erosion and sedimentation controls, aesthetics, monitoring, and maintenance. Stormwater cannot be adequately managed on a piecemeal basis due to the complexity of both the hydrologic and pollutant processes and their effect on habitat and stream quality. Past practices of designing detention basins on a site-by-site basis have been ineffective at protecting water quality in receiving waters and only partially effective in meeting flood control requirements.


Nonstructural SCMs such as product substitution, better site design, downspout disconnection, conservation of natural areas, and watershed and land-use planning can dramatically reduce the volume of runoff and pollutant load from a new development. Such SCMs should be considered first before structural practices. For example, lead concentrations in stormwater have been reduced by at least a factor of 4 after the removal of lead from gasoline. Not creating impervious surfaces or removing a contaminant from the runoff stream simplifies and reduces the reliance on structural SCMs.



The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement