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Search for Conservation Development Demonstration Project

Posted on behalf of Sarah J. Bennett <SarahTCF@aol.com>

The purpose of this announcement is to alert you to a special
opportunity in the Great Lakes watershed.  The National Home Builders
Association has partnered with The Conservation Fund, a national
non-profit organization that works with the private sector to integrate
economic and environmental goals on a voluntary program to help
developers build developments that generate less runoff and generally
reduce impacts on natural resources.  Builders elsewhere in the country
have found that such developments not only protect streams and rivers,
they often cost less to build than conventionally designed developments.

The partnership is actively looking for another model demonstration
project to launch the effort.  Ideally, the project would be a
residential development in an urbanizing area that is in the very early
stages of site design where growth pressures are fairly high.  The
Conservation Fund has some limited funds to assist with site design,
will provide technical assistance, and will help educate local zoning
officials about the benefits of these practices. The Fund and other
organizations working in the area also will promote the demonstration
project across the Great Lakes region and the nation as a model

How are these developments different?  They incorporate design and
engineering components that decrease the amount of paved surface on the
site and increase the absorption of rainwater and snowmelt that falls on
the site.  Employing them creates an opportunity to save money on the
direct outlay for pavement and other infrastructure.  A few examples of
the techniques that can help the environment and save development costs

 Clustering houses when possible;
 Preserving blocks of open space in a natural condition;
 Keeping homes and other structures away from streams, lakes, and
 Maintaining vegetated buffers along all streams, lakes and wetlands;
 Planting native plants wherever possible in buffer strips and
 Maximizing the number of mature trees that are preserved;
 Narrowing streets when possible; for example, some developments in
Ohio have decreased street widths from 26 to 20 feet;
 Constructing cul de sacs with open vegetated areas in the center to
catch and filter runoff;
 Using pervious materials, like pavers, brick and grass strips for
driveways and overflow parking areas;
 Including vegetated areas along streets and parking areas to filter
and absorb runoff;
 Using open grass swales instead of curb and gutter to convey
 Directing stormwater outflow into vegetated areas before or instead of
into storm sewers;
 Using wetponds and constructed wetlands for stormwater detention, and
multiple wetpond systems when feasible, instead of dry detention basins;
 Considering all viable alternatives for wastewater treatment (e.g.,
wetland treatment ponds) and employing systems most appropriate to the

If you know of anything in your community that might be an appropriate
model or know of a developer in your community that may be interested in
this type of development, please e-mail Sarah J. Bennett at
SarahTCF@aol.com or send a fax to (312) 913-9523.  Thank you for your