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Stormwater Runoff Define Problems Solutions Best Management Practices (BMP) Prevent Runoff Vegetative Cover -Alternative Groundcovers Reduce Pollutants -Fertilizer -Pesticides. Reduce Stormwater Runoff. Author: Rebecca McNair Edited by: Allison Steele.

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reduce stormwater runoff

Stormwater Runoff




Best Management Practices (BMP)

Prevent Runoff

Vegetative Cover

-Alternative Groundcovers

Reduce Pollutants



Reduce Stormwater Runoff

Author: Rebecca McNair

Edited by: Allison Steele

hydrologic cycle
Hydrologic Cycle
  • Water on earth is constantly recycled
  • Components of water cycle:
    • Soil Infiltration
    • Evaporation
    • Transpiration- the process by which plants release water into the atmosphere
    • Surface and channel storage
    • Groundwater storage
The soil matrix filters and somewhat detoxifies impurities from water as it travels through the ground.

Intensity of land use

Amount of impervious surfaces

Water quality degradation

Stormwater Runoff - Rainwater that flows off yards, roads and parking lots, carrying pollutants into our waterways.

Nonpoint source pollution Sources of pollution that can not be pinpointed to any single cause. Usually associated with trash, car oil, chemical lawn products, and other residues that are easily carried away by flowing water.

according to the epa polluted runoff is the 1 water quality issue in florida
According to the EPA, polluted runoff is the #1 water quality issue in Florida
  • Nutrients
    • Toxins Sediments
  • Thermal Stress
      • Debris
          • Pathogens

Photo courtesy of NEMO

the problem
The Problem
  • Increased volume of surface runoff
  • Increased velocity of surface runoff
  • Concentration of pollutants in runoff




Lowered water quality

Elevated nutrients can cause:
    • Polluted drinking water
    • Excessive aquatic plant growth
    • Lower dissolved oxygen levels
    • Fish Kills
the solution
The Solution
  • Use practices or methods to prevent, reduce, retard, or remove stormwater runoff contaminants before reaching receiving waters
  • Best Management Practices (BMP) are a series of direct recommendations based upon research, evaluation and educated assumptions
be florida friendly
Be Florida-Friendly

Regardless of the type of property you own, you can help preserve Florida’s natural resources by:

  • Preventing Runoff
  • Increasing Vegetative Cover
  • Reducing Pollutants
prevent runoff
Prevent Runoff

Keep rain and irrigation water on your property and out of storm drains.

factors affecting stormwater runoff
Factors Affecting Stormwater Runoff:
  • Rainfall intensity, flow rate, season
  • % Impervious surfaces
  • Watershed size, slope
  • Soil type, soil compaction
  • Type of vegetation
  • Density of vegetation
  • Within our control
  • Not within our control
minimize runoff by using pervious surfaces
Minimize runoff by using pervious surfaces…

for walkways, patios, and driveways

direct downspouts and gutters towards porous areas
Direct downspouts and gutters towards porous areas

If downspouts drain to planted areas, be sure to select plants adapted to periodic flooding.

collect rain water
Collect Rain Water
  • Use a rain barrel or a cistern to collect and store runoff for irrigation purposes
plan irrigation schedules according to the weather
Plan irrigation schedules according to the weather
  • Water during early morning hours
    • Plants are already wet
    • Less evaporation losses
  • Water less frequently in cooler months
  • Water “as needed,” not routinely
  • Do not irrigate if rain is expected
earth shaping
Earth Shaping

If your property is sloped, you may want to make minor grade changes to divert runoff. This can be accomplished by:

  • Utilizing terraces

Terracing can be an attractive design element in your yard.

berms and swales
Berms and Swales
  • Creating swales (low areas) and berms (raised earthen areas) will help to catch, hold, and filter stormwater
    • Elevations and depressions as small as 3-6 inches can make a huge difference
vegetative cover
Vegetative Cover

Planting groundcovers on slopes is an excellent way to:

  • Catch and filter stormwater
  • Slow the velocity of water movement
  • Reduce erosion

Turfgrass is a versatile groundcover that is very effective at filtering nutrients.

covering the ground with a carpet of vegetation has other advantages
Covering the ground with a carpet of vegetation has other advantages:
  • Attractive
  • Insulates the soil
  • Acts as a living mulch that helps to build up humus levels in the soil
  • Provides habitat and cover for beneficial insects and other predators

BlanketflowerGaillardia pulchella

  • If the ground cover is too vigorous, it may require containment
  • It can compete with other plants for water and nutrients

Sweet potatoIpomea batatas ‘Margarita\'

The following factors should also be taken into account, when choosing the right plant for the right place…

select plants based on site conditions
Select plants based on site conditions:
  • Acid  alkaline- (test your soil’s pH)
  • Dry  moist
  • Full sun  shade
  • Heat  cold
  • Salt
  • Space
  • Obstructions

Periwinkle Catharanthus roseus ‘Diva’

alternative groundcovers
Alternative Groundcovers

For Shade

Lilyturf Liriope muscari (USDA Zone 6-11)

Cast Iron Plant Aspidistra elatior (USDA Zone 8-11)

Periwinkle Vinca major (USDA Zone 8-11)

alternative groundcovers1
Alternative Groundcovers

Beach Sunflower Helianthus debilis (USDA Zone 8B-11)

Clover Trifolium repens (USDA Zone 5-11)

Perennial Peanut Arachis glabrata (USDA Zone 8-11)

alternative groundcovers2
Alternative Groundcovers

For Sun

Asiatic Jasmine (USDA Zone 8-11)Trachelospermum asiaticum

Junipers (USDA Zone 8-11)Juniperus spp.

tree canopy
Tree Canopy
  • Incorporate trees in the landscape
  • Intercept rainfall
  • Reduce soil compaction thus improving water infiltration into soil
  • Increase the value of property
  • Energy efficient way to cool the home
Because water can wash off our yards, it is important to reduce the amount of pollutants on our property.
  • Sweep grass and soil back onto lawns
  • Sweep up any fertilizer on impervious surfaces
  • Remove trash
  • Clean up oil spills and leaks with cat litter
  • Pick up after pets
it is unrealistic and even unwise to strive for an insect disease and weed free yard instead
It is unrealistic, and even unwise to strive for an insect, disease, and weed-free yard. Instead:
  • Learn to identify key pests associated with the plants in your yard
  • Check plants regularly for signs of pest problems
  • Determine what amount of damage warrants action
manage yard pests responsibly
Manage Yard Pests Responsibly
  • Avoid routine applications of pesticides
  • Choose the least harmful method of control
  • Treat only affected area rather than spraying the entire yard
fertilize appropriately
Fertilize Appropriately

If applied improperly, excess fertilizers can run off our yards into waterways or leach into groundwater.

  • Follow printed instructions carefully!
  • Do not apply fertilizer or pesticides before a heavy rainstorm
further reading http edis ifas ufl edu
Further Reading
  • SL 143: How Contaminants Reach Groundwater
  • PI 2: Factors Influencing Pesticide Movement to Groundwater
  • FRE 76 Laws Governing Use and Impact of Agricultural Chemicals: Agricultural Chemicals and Water Pollution
  • ENY 294: The Smart Way to Avoid Landscape Pests and Other Problems
thanks for your attention
Thanks for your attention!

The following presentation was made possible through a grant from FL DEP and EPA. Special thanks to the following reviewers for their valued contributions:

FL114 ELM Design Team and the FYN Subcommittee

Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, UF

Agriculture Education and Communication Department

Environmental Horticulture Department

Entomology and Nematology Department

Soil and Water Sciences Department

Florida Cooperative Extension Service in: Alachua, Broward, Clay, Hillsborough, Lake, Miami-Dade, Orange, Pinellas, Sarasota, and Volusia Counties

Florida Organics Recycling Center for Excellence

The Center For Wetlands, UF

United States Department of Agriculture

FL Department of Agriculture and Consumer Sciences: Division of Plant Industry