Build up your vocabulary surrounding stormwater issues, management, and low impact development methods.


Best Management Practice (BMP): A device, practice, or method for reducing, retarding, or preventing targeted stormwater runoff constituents, pollutants, and contaminants from reaching receiving waters.

Drought Tolerant: Plants that need little or no watering once established.

Effectiveness: A measure of how well a BMP system meets its goals in relation to all stormwater flows.

Efficiency: A measure of how well a BMP removes or controls pollutants.

Filtration: Soil will clean pollutants running through it using physical, chemical and biological processes. For example, when pollutants carried by water gets caught in the small pores of the soil, they get physically cleaned.

Frost Heave: The uplift of water-saturated soil or other deposits due to expansion on freezing.

Green Street: A street designed to capture, absorb and filter runoff using rain gardens, planters, bioswales, porous pavement, tree canopy and other methods.

Groundwater: Water held underground in the soil or in pores and crevices in rock.

Impervious Surface: Hard surfaces such as roofs and pavement that prohibit water from soaking into the ground.

Infiltration: Infiltration is the process by which water enters the ground. It can be measured as a rate at which soil is able to absorb rainfall or irrigation.

Low Impact Development (LID): A land design approach that uses natural infiltration methods to manage stormwater at the source. LID methods help reduce runoff and improve water quality, counteracting the effect of hard surfaces, such as driveways and patios, on your property.

Native Plants: Plants that occur historically in an area, making them naturally adjusted to the climate. These plants need little or no fertilizer or care once established, and can provide wildlife habitat.

Pervious Surface: A surface that allows water to pass through it and soak into the ground. The surface could be vegetative or hard with a large void percentage.

Sedimentation: Also known as erosion, sedimentation is the result of the movement of soil by water. The moving water will pick up debris such as soil, depositing it at a new location.

Stormwater: Surface water in abnormal quantity resulting from heavy falls of rain or snow.

Water Table: The level below which the ground is saturated with water.

Watershed: Land that drains water to a stream, river, pond, lake or ocean.