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Low Impact Development and Urban Conservation

Historically, much of Montana’s rainwater and snowmelt stayed where it fell, soaking into healthy grassland and forest soils to replenish groundwater and, eventually, making its way to our rivers and streams. Today, rainwater in developed areas is often sent directly into storm sewers where it is flushed into our streams and rivers along with pollution from roads, parking lots, or yards. As we add more roofs, pavement, and compacted turf to our communities, it is more important than ever to help rainwater infiltrate the soil to minimize flooding and protect water quality.

Low impact development minimizes the amount of impervious surfaces and mitigates the impact of necessary impervious surfaces. There are a variety of conservation practices that work together to mitigate these effects, such as pervious paving, rain gardens, bioretention cells, bioswales, native landscaping, and soil quality restoration.

The information on these topics is also available in Adobe Reader format.

Low Impact Development PDF (PDF; 535 KB)
Bioswales PDF (PDF; 487 KB)
Native Landscaping PDF (PDF; 685 KB)
Pervious Paving (PDF; 603 KB)
Rain Gardens PDF (g PDFDF; 551 KB)
Soil Quality PDF (PDF; 537 KB)