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Upper Trinity River-Dallas: Implementing TMDLs through Low Impact Development

A project to address urban stormwater and legacy pollutants in Dallas by implementing and demonstrating LID practices


Low-impact development (LID) is a comprehensive approach to site planning, design, and pollution prevention strategies that, when combined, create a more economically sustainable and ecologically functional landscape. LID works with nature to manage stormwater as close to its source as possible.

LID treats stormwater as a resource, rather than a waste product, and integrates hydrologic and water quality functions into all aspects of the urban landscape and infrastructure. The result is functional and appealing site drainage that restores the ecological integrity of receiving waters, promotes the natural movement of water within an ecosystem or watershed, and reduces construction, maintenance, and inspection costs.

Examples of LID management approaches and technologies include rain gardens, porous pavements, green roofs, and rainwater harvesting for later use.

While recent studies have evaluated the effectiveness of LID practices in various regions of the United States, there is still a great need to evaluate their performance. There is also very little data on the possible effects of adopting LID at a watershed level.

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Project Description

The goal of this project is to improve the quality of stormwater from a site typical of commercial development in the Upper Trinity and White Rock Lake watersheds. The focus, as part of the implementation of the Dallas County TMDLs for legacy pollutants, is on removal of chlordane from storm water runoff.  An additional goal is reducing the total and peak flows of stormwater and reducing nutrient and sediment loads from storm water entering area streams.

The project has designed and built several LID features at the Texas AgriLife Urban Solutions Center in Dallas, and is monitoring the volume and quality of storm water entering and leaving these features. These practices will show how LID can be integrated in new developments or retrofitted to existing ones.

Five LID practices are being examined in this project: permeable pavements, bio-retention areas, rainwater harvesting, green roofs, and detention ponds. Multiple versions of these practices are being compared, including alternate irrigation strategies for the rain water harvesting practices.

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For More Information

To find out more about the NPS Program, call 512-239-6682 or e-mail us at

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