Low-impact development ordinances encourage smart growth practices in Alabamaâ€™s Dâ€™Olive Watershed
When impervious cover within a watershed exceeds 25 percent, the chance to pursue meaningful stream restoration is greatly diminished. Currently, impervious cover within the D’Olive Watershed ranges from 20-25%. According to the D’Olive Watershed Management Plan, impervious cover could approach 38% (assuming 100% build-out by 2020). Increased volume and velocity of stormwater runoff and changes to drainage patterns have escalated concerns over erosion and sedimentation within the watershed’s stream network and D’Olive Bay and Mobile Bay, its receiving waters.
Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant and the Mobile Bay National Estuary Program facilitate the D’Olive Intergovernmental Task Force in an effort to restore the D’Olive Watershed, which includes the cities of Daphne and Spanish Fort. The task force formed in 2011 on recommendation of the D’Olive Watershed Working Group, a coalition of federal, state and local agencies, property owners, developers and commercial interests. The task force strategically implements management measures set forth in the watershed management plan.
Through the D’Olive Watershed Working Group, Daphne and Spanish Fort have worked to implement consistent ordinances to encourage low-impact development (LID) and green infrastructure techniques to minimize impervious cover in future developments. In 2013, Daphne enacted Ordinance No. 2013-12, which states, “In order to preserve the integrity, stability, and the value of land, the City encourages the use of innovative, LEED-certified and/or other green practices in development design” and includes recommended LID practices.
LID and green infrastructure ordinances adopted by Daphne in 2013 and under development in Spanish Fort will allow future development to incorporate smart growth concepts, minimizing impacts of impervious cover. (2014)