December 6 - Coastkeeper Explores Future of Low Impact Development in San Diego

Experts uncover building techniques that capture rainwater, protect water quality

SAN DIEGO, Dec. 6, 2012 – Can development put a LID on water quality pollution? That’s the question that three expert speakers tried to answer at tonight’s Signs of the Tide, San Diego Coastkeeper’s community public forum. For these speakers, LID stands for low impact development, an emerging development technique that mimics nature’s way of handling storm and water runoff.

Urban runoff, the single biggest threat to San Diego water, continues to impact the region’s inland and coastal water quality. When water runs over paved surfaces in San Diego, it takes with it accumulated trash, oils, toxins and chemicals and washes them into the region’s waters that ultimately end up in the bays and ocean.

“We’ve paved our way to unhealthy waters in San Diego County,” said Coastkeeper’s Waterkeeper Jill Witkowski. “But we have an opportunity in our redevelopment and new development to build our way back to clean, healthy waters.”

The challenge in San Diego, according to Geocon Incorporated’s Senior Engineer Shawn Weedon, is that the region has a lot of clay and shallow formation materials, which don’t let water infiltrate very easily. For example, in Normal Heights, the soil is made of mudstone.

But the good news, Weedon says, is that many low impact development techniques can work.

“A potential solution that I like and think is very attractive is planter boxes,” said Weedon, showing how homeowners can redirect runoff from roofs into high-design planter boxes adjacent to their homes. Other potential solutions include permeable pavement, which can look like regular pavement but allows rainwater to pass through, placed over a base layer that drains to a storm drain system. He also suggested vegetated swales or basins.

City of San Diego’s Bill Harris, another speaker at the event, shared actual LID developments in the City of San Diego, with an added note that “the City is moving forward with LID.” In his presentation, he showed examples of LID projects in the city such as a retention basin in Memorial Park and an infiltration project planned for Southcrest Park.

“We’re taking pollutants out by giving them time to settle in and letting nature do some of the work,” said City of San Diego’s Bill Harris about the permeable pavers installed at Kellogg Park in La Jolla.

Robert Thiele, a sustainable architect, took participants on a nine-step visual exploration of low impact development opportunities in Balboa Park. The goal, he said, is “a complete park with a sustainable water supply that can be used over and over again.”

The long-term vision included an onsite natural water treatment plant that Thiele says will be so beautiful that families will want to bring their children to visit it. Additionally, the park’s water reclamation and distribution systems, often called purple pipe, would distribute recycled water throughout the park, all powered by solar. He also shared a vision for eco-districts throughout the City of San Diego.

Partners for tonight’s event included San Diego Green Building Council, City of San Diego Think Blue and North Park Mainstreet Association.

For more information, please visit www.sdcoastkeeper.org.

###

Founded in 1995, San Diego Coastkeeper protects the region's bays, beaches, watersheds and ocean for the people and wildlife that depend on them. We balance community outreach, education, and advocacy to promote stewardship of clean water and a healthy coastal ecosystem. For more information, visit San Diego Coastkeeper online at http://www.sdcoastkeeper.org.

 

 

Take Action

Donate Now

Donate to San Diego Coastkeeper

Donate to San Diego Coastkeeper

With you, we can protect San Diego’s aquatic playgrounds. Gifts of every size help us defend your salty seas and beautiful bays. From test tubes in our lab to hands-on...

Read more

Become a Member

IMG_7706

Start Coastkeeping. Become a member today and protect and restore swimmable, fishable and drinkable waters in San Diego County.

 

Report a Problem

plastic-beach-feat
Catch the Polluters

If you see someone pollute, report it to Coastkeeper. Let us help you protect your waters.

Attend an Event

Aug
29

2:00 pm - 6:30 pm

Sep
19

9:00 am - 12:00 pm

Sep
26

9:00 am - 11:00 am

Sep
26

11:00 am - 3:00 pm

Oct
17

9:00 am - 1:00 pm

Oct
28

4:30 pm - 9:00 pm

Nov
14

9:00 am - 11:00 am

Get the News

Read our Blog

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
Prev Next

Education Specialist Job Announcement

San Diego Coastkeeper® seeks an education specialist to support the implementation and promotion of Project SWELL (Stewardship: Water Education for Lifelong Leadership), a hands-on K-6 science and pollution prevention curriculum in San Diego Unified...

Our Waterkeeper Really Loves Water

Our Waterkeeper Really Loves Water

San Diego Coastkeeper is part of the Waterkeeper Alliance, the fastest growing environmental movement in the world, protecting and restoring fishable, swimmable, drinkable water. Waterkeeper Alliance requires each of its...

Two Gutsy Water Lovers Start A Movement …

Two Gutsy Water Lovers Start A Movement of Thousands

We've been fighting to protect and restore fishable, swimmable, drinkable water for twenty years now. Here's a quick look at where we started, where we went and where we're headed. It...

Does San Diego have aquaculture?

Does San Diego have aquaculture?

San Diego has aquaculture projects of various sizes and purposes in San Diego County. Each is a different form of aquaculture--which means they are in the business of fish production...

10 Ways to Make A Difference Right Now

10 Ways to Make A Difference Right Now

Do you feel like making a difference today? We can help. Partner with San Diego Coastkeeper and maximize your impact on fishable, swimmable, drinkable water. Here are ten things you...

10 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Miss the Se…

10 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Miss the Seaside Soiree

The 18th annual Seaside Soiree is coming up! This year's event runs from 6 p.m. – 9 p.m. with VIP Entertainment and Boat Rides starting at 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday...

Third Graders Bring Trash To Life

Third Graders Bring Trash To Life

We love Explorer Elementary. After learning about pollution and water science from our interactive Project SWELL curriculum, Explorer Elementary teachers took their dedication to immersing students in environmental science concepts...

Meet The Coastal Champions of 2015

Meet The Coastal Champions of 2015

This year is our 20th anniversary and we are proud to announce the Coastal Champions on World Oceans Day. These individuals, organizations and businesses have helped ensure that San Diego...

Our Kids Love “Gross Stuff” And That Mak…

Our Kids Love “Gross Stuff” And That Makes Me Happy

Haley Cahill was our education intern from January to June 2015. She is majoring in Environmental Studies at the University of San Diego and believes the answer to improving many...

The Water War For Lake Mead

The Water War For Lake Mead

Formerly America’s largest reservoir, providing water for 20 million people in Arizona, Nevada and California, Lake Mead hit a historic low on April 30. This low wasn’t an inevitability of...

Fishable Facts

  • Kelp forests play home to more than 700 species of marine creatures.
  • Many factors including pollution, climate change, and over-fishing contribute to kelp forest decline, and their collective impact is far greater than any individual stressor.
  • Research has shown that grazing by inflated sea urchins populations damaged kelp forests and slowed recovery in the '50s to '70s off Point Loma. Sea otters, lobster, and sheephead fish are important predators, keeping urchin populations in check.
  • Many fish off California's coast are in such decline that some species will take 50-80 years to recover to healthy levels.
  • La Jolla's lush kelp forest is like a stand of underwater redwoods – it provides food and shelter for hundreds of species, from tiny invertebrates to fish, mammals and birds.
  • Since 1990, revenues from commercial fishing have declined by more than half and the number of fishing boats calling at California ports has declined by nearly three-quarters.
  • Average size across a wide range of West Coast fish is down by half from 20 years ago.
  • A 40-cm bocaccio rockfish produces an average of just over 200,000 eggs per year, whereas an 80-cm fish at double the length produces nearly 10 times as many eggs (2 million)!
  • Nearly 80 percent of marine debris comes from land-based sources.
  • Regardless of their size, plastic pollution bits are not digestible by any creature.
  • More than 60 percent of all marine debris is plastic.
  • Video
  • Facebook Fans
Join Our Newsletter
  • EarthShare_Californiaweb

SAN DIEGO COASTKEEPER
2825 Dewey Rd., Ste. 200 • San Diego CA 92106 • TEL. 619.758.7743