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Stormwater BMP Co-Benefits to Reduce Stressors of Stream Health

Stormwater Best Management Practices (BMPs) play a crucial role in mitigating the adverse effects of urbanization on stream health. These practices are designed to manage stormwater runoff, which can carry pollutants and cause erosion, ultimately impacting the health of streams and water bodies. In addition to their primary function of stormwater management, BMPs can provide co-benefits that help reduce stressors on stream health. Here are some common co-benefits associated with stormwater BMPs:


1. Water Quality Improvement:

  • Sediment Removal: BMPs such as sediment basins, sediment ponds, and sediment forebays help trap and settle suspended sediments, preventing them from entering streams. This improves water clarity and quality.

  • Pollutant Filtration: Certain BMPs, like biofiltration systems (e.g., bioretention cells and rain gardens), use vegetation and soil to filter pollutants, including nutrients, heavy metals, and hydrocarbons, from stormwater runoff.

2. Habitat Restoration and Enhancement:

  • Green Infrastructure: BMPs such as green roofs, permeable pavements, and urban tree plantings contribute to the creation of green spaces, promoting biodiversity and providing habitat for various species.

  • Wetland Creation: Constructed wetlands are effective BMPs that mimic natural wetland ecosystems. They can provide habitat for aquatic and terrestrial species, while also serving as effective pollutant filters.

3. Flood Prevention:

  • Stormwater Detention: Detention basins and ponds temporarily store stormwater, reducing peak flows and minimizing the risk of downstream flooding. This not only protects human infrastructure but also prevents erosion and habitat destruction in the stream.

4. Temperature Regulation:

  • Tree Canopy and Shade: Planting trees along watercourses and incorporating green spaces in urban areas can provide shade to streams, helping regulate water temperature. Maintaining cooler water temperatures is crucial for supporting aquatic ecosystems, especially in warmer climates.

5. Flood Prevention:

  • Stormwater Detention: Detention basins and ponds temporarily store stormwater, reducing peak flows and minimizing the risk of downstream flooding. This not only protects human infrastructure but also prevents erosion and habitat destruction in the stream.


6. Temperature Regulation:

  • Tree Canopy and Shade: Planting trees along watercourses and incorporating green spaces in urban areas can provide shade to streams, helping regulate water temperature. Maintaining cooler water temperatures is crucial for supporting aquatic ecosystems, especially in warmer climates.

7. Aesthetic and Property Value Improvements:

  • Landscaping and Beautification: Incorporating aesthetically pleasing landscaping elements into BMPs can enhance the visual appeal of urban areas. Well-designed green infrastructure can contribute to increased property values and community pride.


8. Carbon Sequestration:

  • Vegetative BMPs: Green infrastructure elements, such as trees and green roofs, contribute to carbon sequestration, helping mitigate the effects of climate change.


Integrating these co-benefits into stormwater management planning can enhance the overall sustainability and resilience of urban environments while promoting healthier stream ecosystems. It's important for municipalities and developers to consider these co-benefits when designing and implementing stormwater BMPs.



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