The Sustainable Sites Initiative™: Potential Impacts for Water Resources and Site Development

Author(s): Brzuszek, R.

The Sustainable Sites Initiative (SITES™) is a new national effort to create voluntary guidelines and benchmarks that promote sustainable land design and construction practices. Jointly sponsored by the American Society of Landscape Architects, the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, and the U.S. Botanic Garden; SITES™ provides a ranking system that awards points for comprehensive sustainable land practices for built projects. The program is complementary to LEED ® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Green Building Rating System, and it is anticipated that the SITES™ points will be incorporated into future versions of LEED ®.

SITES™ has five areas of focus—hydrology, soils, vegetation, materials, and human health and wellbeing. The program promotes examples of sustainable practices and awards up to 250 possible points for a project. A maximum of 44 possible points can be awarded for water practices. Credits are given for the following activities that protect and restore the processes and systems for a site’s hydrology:

  • Reduce potable water use for landscape irrigation
  • Protect and restore riparian, wetland, and shoreline buffers
  • Rehabilitate lost streams, wetlands, and shorelines
  • Manage stormwater on site
  • Protect and enhance on-site water resources and receiving water quality
  • Design rainwater/stormwater features to provide a landscape amenity
  • Maintain water features to conserve water and other resources
This presentation will provide an overview of the Sustainable Sites Initiative with a focus upon how the program will protect water quality in developed projects. Implications and incentives for planners, landscape architects, engineers, developers, builders and other professionals in the state of Mississippi to take part in the program will be discussed.

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Technical Sessions

Session I Sedimentation
Session II Weather/Climate
Session III Coastal Resources
Session IV Surface Water Management
Session V Wetlands
Session VI Education
Session VII Management/Planning
Session VIII Wetlands
Session IX Delta Groundwater
Session X Nutrients
Session XI Delta Water Resources
Session XII Ports

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