This guidebook aims to benefit both property owners and planners/designers by describing important considerations related to bio‐retention planning, design and management.
In the book Water Matters: Why We Need to Act Now to Save Our Most Critical Resource we are reminded of the urgent need to act to protect our freshwater systems (Lohan 2010).
In many articles, documents, reports, and books the value of rain‐gardens and bio‐retention areas are described as significant tools for reducing stormwater runoff and increasing infiltration rates in urban areas. The USEPA, Center for Watershed Protection, Low Impact Development Center, along with Ferguson (1994), France (2002), Davis & McCuen (2005), Hunt & Lord (2006), Clar (2007), Davis et al. (2009), Li et al. (2009), Calkins (2012), Venhaus (2012), and many others, discuss what we can learn from bio‐retention facilities implemented in various parts of the U.S. Additionally, well designed gardens connect people to place/region.
The recharge potential and functioning of watersheds as integrated systems that temper flooding and cleanse water are impaired by the removal of native vegetation and permeable plant‐soil systems as well as widespread use of impervious surfaces. Water flows swiftly off of most paved surfaces in our urban areas, and many landscapes have poor infiltration due to surface compaction by vehicles and people. Likewise native songbirds are undermined by the loss of native plants, which can offer high aesthetic value (Oudolf & Gerritsen 2003) while supporting essential hydrological and ecological functions (Burrell 2006; Tallamy 2007). (2013) (January) Report prepared by Lee R. Skabelund and Dea Brokesh, Kansas State University, Department of Landscape Architecture / Regional & Community Planning—for the Kansas Department of Health & Environment and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.