United States EPA Stormwater Rules should Acknowledge Benefits of Urbanism
Connecting the Dots to Watershed Health
In 2010, the announcement of the United States federal interagency Partnership for Sustainable Communities was well received by the new urbanism and smart growth movements, which have been eager to assist with taking a more holistic view on how funding patterns and regulations shape our built environment.
As part of this effort, the Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU) and its partners contacted the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to discuss the Office of Water’s revision of the current National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES). They urged the EPA to revise the stormwater regulations to make them complement broader environmental objectives.
“We believe that changing NPDES to allow and encourage more compact, walkable neighborhoods can help the USA become more resource efficient, economically productive, and improve the qualities of our rivers, streams, and watersheds,” wrote John Norquist, CNU President and CEO, in a Guest Editorial published in the January-February issue of Stormwater Magazine.
“We know that it is the redevelopment of previously developed land that can lead to the net improvements in watershed health that we need. Redevelopment triggers restoration activities of our existing built environment.”
“Watershed and sub-watershed analysis, integrated with regional planning and local regulations, should be at the heart of new stormwater regulations.”