Low Impact Development

One of the best ways to reduce stormwater is through Low Impact Development (LID). LID is an approach to managing stormwater that aims to capture, treat, and help stormwater runoff seep slowly into the ground in a way that mimics how water passed through the area before development. LID accomplishes this by incorporating features throughout a project site like tree plantings, rain barrels at the end of roof gutters and planted buffer strips. These small-scale improvements intercept and slow stormwater runoff so creeks and streams won’t suffer erosion and flash-flood flows during storms. 

Some LID features also process pollutants like motor oil as the water sinks into the soil, making the pollutants less toxic. Without LID improvements, stormwater often flows swiftly into stormdrains, carrying untreated water directly into creeks and Humboldt Bay.

The General Permit demands local agencies that development projects to comply with post-construction stormwater requirements based on “low impact development” (LID) standards.

For more information on Low Impact Development contact the City of Arcata Environmental Services Department.


For a brief overview on Low Impact Development (LID) watch this 8-minute video, Reduce Runoff: Slow It Down, Spread It Out, Soak It In, from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Stormwater Impacts

The California Regional Water Quality Control Board has an interesting 30 minute video, Slow The Flow - Make Your Landscape Act Like a Sponge, that describes what stormwater is, what it does to the environment and what you can do to reduce those impacts. Take a few minutes to watch this video and learn how to reduce your stormwater impacts!

Urban Design Tools

The Low Impact Development Center offers urban design tools for Low Impact Development.

Low Impact Development Tools