As cities, towns and other metropolitan areas in Arkansas continue to grow, the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture is working to help developers and planners keep water quality in mind.

The Cooperative Extension Service, part of the Division of Agriculture, will produce a free webinar focused on low-impact development for water quality and communities. The webinar is scheduled to stream Sept. 28, from 1:30-2:30 p.m., CDT.

The program is funded by a grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Arkansas Natural Resources Division, part of the Arkansas Department of Agriculture. The grant is aimed at expanding green infrastructure.

John Pennington, extension water quality educator for the Division of Agriculture, said low-impact development is key to both maintaining natural resources and making structures as durable as possible as cities continue to grow.

“Low-impact development, or LID, is a building and development technique that is used to slow down, spread out, and soak in stormwater on site,” Pennington said. “The technique attempts to maintain pre-development water movement patterns in post-development conditions.”

According to the EPA, the mid-20th century approach to stormwater management – the channeling of stormwater using engineered systems of curbs, gutters, pipes and so on – has resulted in significant damage to water quality.

“Damage to public and personal property associated with flooding is also an all-too-common outcome,” Pennington said.

“Incorporating LID into communities can reduce the amount of stormwater leaving an area, slow it down, prevent flooding and protect the quality of water in receiving streams,” he said. “This webinar will help citizens, municipal staff and decision-makers better understand the benefits of using LID in their communities, and how to modify city codes to allow or encourage LID in their community.”

The webinar will also provide local examples of LID applications located in communities throughout the state of Arkansas.

There is no cost to participate in the webinar, but registration is required. To register, visit bit.ly/LIDWaterQuality.

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