Low Impact development certification and research

TACOMA – A series of WSU Extension workshops on low impact development techniques for professionals in the development and construction industries has proven so popular that there are waiting lists for the final workshops.
The series is the first LID training program offering certification from WSU Extension for those attending the workshops and successfully completing online tests on each topic.
The series of four technical workshops has been offered in four Puget Sound area locations this year with the goal of providing those who design and manage stormwater systems with the technical information to properly design, construct, inspect, and maintain their LID projects.
Topics covered in the workshops included developing bioretention facilities, site planning and review, green roofs and rainwater collection, and permeable paving. The final two of the two-day workshops are being held at the University of Washington Center for Urban Horticulture May 5 and 6, and May 19 and 20.
WSU Pierce County Extension LID educator Curtis Hinman, who put together the workshops with funding assistance from the state’s Puget Sound Partnership, says there are several reasons for the high interest in LID construction and maintenance techniques.
“For one thing, the public’s increased interest in seeing more ‘green’ development is encouraging planners, developers, landscape architects and other related disciplines to pursue the application of low-impact techniques,” he says. “Thanks to previous LID education efforts, coupled with new regulations and incentive programs, many developers and agencies are now implementing LID projects to reduce polluted runoff and more effectively manage stormwater.”
Hinman says the WSU workshops differ from many previous LID courses in that they deal with issues in greater depth and are provide more specific and detailed information on application of the techniques.
“They are specifically designed to address issues in the Puget Sound region,” he says, “and participants really appreciate that they can earn a certificate and continuing education units to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding.”
To meet the pent up demand for LID training in the region Hinman hopes to repeat the workshop series in the near future.
“We’re hoping that we can do it again, possibly later this year, to meet the high demand that’s out there,” he says. “Frankly, it’s a matter of identifying the funding that will allow us to again offer the workshops for a reasonable cost and to continue offering the certificates and continuing education credits.”
Hinman is currently involved with his own low impact development research, a project funded by a state Department of Ecology grant to the City of Puyallup to install stormwater control and research facilities at the WSU Puyallup Research and Extension Center. The project essentially will retrofit the 114-year old facility to serve as a full-scale research laboratory on effective methods and materials for controlling runoff. Construction is scheduled to begin this summer.
Hinman says the Puyallup project may be unique.
“As far as I know there are few if any research projects of this type, particularly in the United States, where runoff control research is being done on a practical, full-scale basis with the research being replicated,” he says. “This will take it to the next level, and it’s needed.”
More information on low impact development can be found at http://pierce.wsu.edu/Water_Quality/LID/index.htm.
To find more information about the topics covered in the LID workshops go to http://capps.wsu.edu/conferences/lidworkshops/.

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