Blog Contributor: April Sorenson
Due to climate change, increasing storm severity is causing more frequent flooding in Ontario. The traditional infrastructure designed to handle rainwater is unable to handle the increasing volumes. As a result, municipalities are looking for new and sustainable ways to handle the excess water and prevent flooding. A type of Green Infrastructure, called Low Impact Development (LID), is one solution. Green Infrastructure includes all of the natural vegetative systems and innovative development practices that restore natural processes. LID is a development strategy that strives to mimic the natural hydrologic cycle. In contrast to conventional infrastructure such as curbs, gutters and sewers that move stormwater out of the city as soon as possible, LID works to mimic the natural hydrologic cycle by allowing stormwater to infiltrate on site. This allows for increased groundwater recharge, reduced flooding and reduced pollutants in the water supply. Types of LID include: rain gardens, bioswales, green roofs, permeable pavement and rainwater harvesting. LID is one way to increase social and ecological resiliency because it decreases vulnerability to climate change and contributes to human and ecological health by reducing flooding, improving water quality and providing greenspace for people and wildlife.
The Town of Lincoln plans to develop a Green Infrastructure/Low Impact Development Design Standard with funds awarded from the Great Lakes Emerging Champions Mini-Grant. The Emerging Champions Mini-Grants are part of the Great Lakes Green Infrastructure Champions Program being undertaken by the Great Lakes Commission with financial support from the Erb Family Foundation. The grants help mid-sized communities develop strategies to overcome barriers and increase LID implementation in the Great Lakes Basin by providing mentorship and financial support. In addition to this grant, the Town will be hiring a consultant and working with Brock University’s Environmental Sustainability Research Centre to create the Design Standard. This Standard will provide staff, developers, residents, and property owners with direction on landscape-based LID stormwater management planning and design. It will encourage the installation, operation, and maintenance of LID in the town. The Design Standard will be a big step towards a more resilient and sustainable future for the Town of Lincoln.