Conservation landscaping stormwater credits
Highland Lakes Watershed Ordinance
|Download Excel worksheet to calculate water quality volume and the size of permanent water quality management features under the Highland Lakes Watershed Ordinance.|
New residential and commercial development projects located near the Highland Lakes can avoid the construction and maintenance of costly water-quality basins by limiting impervious cover to 15 percent or less of the development.
(See the Highland Lakes Watershed Ordinance for specifics.)
Developers can achieve this 15 percent target, and help maintain the region’s water quality, through the use of this stormwater credit program — the only one of its kind in Texas.
Here’s how it works:
Developers and builders use native landscaping, improved soils and other innovative techniques to limit stormwater runoff. They then earn stormwater credits that can help gain compliance with the alternative standards in the Highland LakesWatershed Ordinance. These alternative standards allow them to avoid constructing expensive water-quality basins to capture runoff.
An example of a 100-acre development For the purposes of calculating a stormwater credit, conservation landscaping is applied to all lots within a development. For example, consider a 100-acre planned development that has 20 percent impervious cover. Here are the steps to obtain the credit:
- By planting native vegetation throughout the project area and following the guidance in the technical manual the project’s impervious cover is reduced 5 percent — to a total of 15 percent.
- Next, the designers plan the development with flow paths and open-section roadways that mimic natural drainage patterns to satisfy the alternative standards design requirements.
What is impervious cover?
Why limit impervious cover?
What is conservation landscaping?
There are four major components that increase landscape sustainability:
Are there other ways of obtaining stormwater credits to help gain compliance with the LCRA Watershed
The bottom line: By using such techniques, costly and maintenance intensive water-quality basins are not required to gain compliance with the Highland Lakes Watershed Ordinance.
Vegetation best suited to local climate, soils
Conservation landscaping relies on native vegetation that is best suited to local climate and soils. Native vegetation requires less water and is more adaptive to semi-arid Central Texas and the Texas Hill Country. Using native plants will increase plant survival and decrease the cost of subsequent plant replacement.
Saving time and money
Homeowners save time and money. The initial costs of native plants, trees, shrubs, and soil amendments are recouped through significant reductions in water, fertilizer and pesticide use, as well as increased plant survival within the first few years after planting. Moreover, conservation landscapes require less time to maintain a high-quality lawn when compared with more typical landscapes.
The drawings (in box to right) provide color schematics with examples of how conservation landscaping can be applied to lots of one-fifth and one-half acres. By using good land practices, following natural drainage paths and limiting impervious cover to 15 percent or less, a residential development is not required to construct water-quality basins.
Conservation and native landscaping is not only useful in residential landscapes, it is appropriate in other landscapes, such as parks, schools, commercial sites, parking lots and apartment complexes.
More examples of conservation landscaping
Click on these images for larger views:
For more information on stormwater credits contact us through Contact LCRA or call (512) 473-3200, ext. 2091.