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Water Management Plots

Water management techniques are demonstrated in these plots:


The 2015 resurfacing of the SLO UC Cooperative Extension Office parking lot provided an opportunity to create a bioswale demonstration project.

Located in the center of the parking lot, the bioswale demonstrates the principles of Low Impact Development (LID),  specifically, a bioretention basin to manage stormwater runoff. The sloping sides of the bioswale slow, filter and retain rainwater which flows from the building’s roof across the parking lot and into a storm drain at the corner of the lot. Before the basin, the storm drain was often overwhelmed resulting in water runoff down the street.

The plants used in the bioswale were chosen based on their location and degree of water tolerance.  The plants toward the center of the bioswale tolerate standing water whereas those at the top of the slopes withstand runoff but without ponding. Other plant requirements included attractive appearance, lack of invasive root growth and low maintenance. The principles of Low Impact Development can be applied to a home landscape with the goal of responsible rainwater management.


Rain Barrels & Retention Basins

Low Impact Development (LID) – Rain Garden, Retention Basin, Cistern

Landscape practices for the home garden are increasingly being adapted to include Low Impact Development (LID) techniques. Sustainable landscape initiatives within the University of California Master Gardener Program, local municipal storm water management practice initiatives, and consumer interests all rely for success on the demonstration of and extension of information about these practices.  We are demonstrating the installation and maintenance of pertinent practices. 

LID techniques focus on distributing, storing, slowing, spreading, and sinking rainwater within the property where it falls. A more technical definition might be, innovative storm water management, incorporating water conservation and water quality design practices, modeled after natural processes to manage rainfall. LID’s goal is to mimic a site’s predevelopment hydrology by using design techniques that infiltrate, filter, store, evaporate, and detain runoff close to its source.  The garden incorporates water conservation and water quality design practices including rainwater harvesting, rain gardens, retention basins and "boom-a-rang" berms in the orchard.

This development and installation provided opportunities for education programs for both municipalities and the consumer public in construction techniques for successful implementation of these practices. The Master Gardeners received a UCCE Elvenia J. Slosson Grant in 2009.  A special thank you for sharing your knowledge: Darla Inglis, Melanie Mills and Susan Litteral.