Stormwater Primer

Stormwater runoff is often looked at as a unique issue associated with flooding. However, it is part of a larger process—the hydrologic cycle—that cleans and distributes water around the region. The hydrologic cycle has a significant impact on the natural environment, as well as people’s lives and the economy. Protecting and restoring site hydrology in development minimizes the impact to both public water supply and ecosystems. Managing stormwater on a watershed basis can reduce flooding. Employing stormwater Best Management Practices protects water quality in water resources that serve as water supply and support recreation.

Land that has not been disturbed by development produces only a small amount of runoff. The soil and vegetation slow and absorb rainfall and slowly release it to groundwater, surface waters, and the atmosphere. When development occurs, loss of vegetation, addition of impervious surfaces, and soil compaction disrupt this pre-development hydrology and greatly increase surface runoff. Maintaining the existing natural drainage and water cycle on a site during and after the development process to the greatest extent possible will minimize this disturbance. Stormwater Best Management Practices (BMPs) developed over the past decade can be used to preserve and restore site hydrology during development. Want more information on stormwater BMPs?  Click here to view short, informative videos on stormwater BMPs.