VIDEO: "Why DOE drainage standards will not protect Puget Sound



Puget Sound is on a Track to Die Following the Next Wave of Development

In March 2011, the Thurston County Board of County Commissioners requested a seminar by Tom Holz on “Why DOE drainage standards will not protect Puget Sound”.  The seminar described how low impact development is the only path to protect the Sound. Formerly with the City of Olympia, Tom Holz is well-known in Washington State Tom holz (140p)for his tireless efforts in leading change in the field of rainwater management and green infrastructure.

According to Tom Holz, “The Department of Ecology apears to be on a path to continue using the same standard for development for the next five to eight years that has been used for the last decade.”

“DOE calls it the ‘flow-duration’ standard.  It more accurately should be described as the 0/100/100 standard.  That is, DOE will require ‘0%’ forest set-aside, will allow ‘100%’ hardened surfaces, and will allow ‘100%’ runoff of precipitation falling on a site.” 

“As almost everyone knows, healthy streams are found in watersheds that are 100% forested.  Stream channels begin to destabilize following the clearing of about one-third of its watershed.  Thus DOE will allow development that will result in exactly the opposite of a healthy watershed,” concludes Tom Holz.


Zero Impact Designs

In the late 1990s, Tom Holz coined the acronym ZID – that is, Zero Impact Designs – to describe an approach that sharply reduce the “effective impervious area” of new development with practices such as eco-roofs, roof gardens, rain barrels, alternative paving surfaces, soil amendments, bioretention, reforestation, and filter-swale systems.


To Learn More:

The seminar is posted on YouTube. To view Tom Holz, click on the two links below:

The first link is about 52 minutes (fast forward to the 4.13 minute mark to get past the set up). The second link is closing and discussion with decision makers and public. “It’s a bit dry so make a bowl of popcorn,” recommends Tom Holz.


The View from British Columbia

Tom Holz is also well-known to rainwater management and green infrastructure practitioners in British Columbia. One perspective is provided below.


A Biologist’s Perspective

“For those interested in a comprehensive look at integrated stormwater planning Pamela zevit (180p)challenges and issues from south of the border, take some time to watch the video of the seminar that Tom Holz did for Thurston County,” states Pamela Zevit, formerly with the BC Ministry of Environment and now an independent consultant.

“Tom deserves the title Low Impact Man.  While there is certainly room for debate about what Tom is and has been proposing for decades, the seminar provides a good snapshot of the issues and potential solutions. Also some insight into the dilemmas and regulatory hurdles being experienced in Washington State which we share a great deal of ecoregional issues with.”

“For those involved in land use planning in British Columbia, the political challenges will sound familiar. See if you can catch the differences between US and Canadian terminology in land use planning,” concludes Pamela Zevit.


Posted June 2011