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IN THE SPOTLIGHT


Houston Land Water Sustainability Forum

The Houston Land Water Sustainability Forum formed in 2007 to enhance, enable and integrate sustainable use of land and water for the Houston area's continued growth and economic vitality. The Forum, composed of regional businesses, nonprofits, and local government agencies, provides exposure to the full range of these sustainability practices, encourages their adoption through education, and their adaptation where needed for the conditions found in our local environment - all while fostering creativity in both sustainable development and the regulatory structure that enables it.

In 2010, the Forum launched an LID Design Competition with the goal to dramatically accelerate the adoption, adaptation and implementation of Low Impact Development and other sustainable development practices in the Houston area. The competition provided a hands-on learning experience through which design, construction and development professionals in the Houston area could gain meaningful experience in working with LID methodologies that can be applied to their everyday practices.

The competition proved enormously successful and demonstrated that LID consistently proved less expensive and more effective in meeting stormwater requirements than conventional methods in the three identified categories. Competition finalists were recognized at a finals ceremony where the EPA's Chief of the Nonpoint Source Branch, Dov Weitman, was invited as a juror. After viewing the finalists presentations and submittals, Weitman noted in a letter to his colleagues, "I want to let all of you know about an incredible, energizing experience I had last week in Houston. I participated as a member of the Jury Panel for the Finals Event in the Houston Land/Water Sustainability Forum's Low Impact Development Competition on January 27. The bottom line is they just implemented an amazing consciousness-raising process that has hundreds (at least) of developers, civil engineers, architects, landscape architects, etc., thinking differently about stormwater than they did 6 months ago. And the way they did it seems to me to be replicable in cities across the country." - Dov Weitman, Chief of the Nonpoint Source Branch, EPA.

To find out more about the Houston Land Water Sustainability Forum and their recent 2009-2010 LID Design Competition, including the finalists presentations, visit: www.houstonlwsforum.org.