This manual is intended for all those who are interested
in their community: citizens, developers, elected officials
and those whose job it is to plan and build communities. Unlike
more traditional design or engineering manuals, whose treatments
of site development, environmental quality, landscape and
drainage guidelines are presented separately and often in
language that is exclusive to the intended audience, this
manual works to keep all of the urban design pieces together.
This is done to avoid the problems of disintegration; that
is, when storm drainage is discussed without reference to
stream habitat protection, or when land use and development
is being discussed without reference to infill development
or protection of environmental features. This manual reintegrates
these issues for a comprehensive look at a more sustainable
urban design, and improvement of environmental conditions.
The interconnected systems of water, people and development
on the land must first be seen and understood as an integrated
whole before citizens and their elected leaders can act intelligently
to protect them. This manual is intended to assist in building
This project is oriented toward the broad goals of improving
water quality in local water bodies, and protecting open space
and critical environmental features from expansive and overwhelming
development, including the preservation of primary agricultural
This project describes and suggests methods to improve water
quality in the Boise River and its tributaries. Water quality
is strongly linked to urban growth and suburban development
occurring throughout the Treasure Valley in Idaho. This urban
growth mirrors patterns of sprawl type development elsewhere
in the west and throughout the country. As the valley landscape
changes from predominantly agricultural to suburban development
the impact on local streams and rivers is significant.
Instead of expending large amounts of money and resources
on fixing and treating polluted water, we suggest using naturally
occurring ecological processes to prevent pollution and urban
runoff from occurring in the first place. The first step in
eliminating pollution from all water systems throughout the
valley is in understanding the watershed in which we all live,
and how land and water use affect environmental condition.
It is possible to reduce and eliminate urban water pollution
through effective design and planning. This document outlines
the landscape design principles and solutions that work to
mitigate water pollution. This document is an accumulation
of landscape design solutions that have been explored through
the course of this project. The designs illustrate how the
principles of land and water management and sustainable design
can be applied to communities and developing rural areas.
The intent of the design principles is to improve water and
environmental quality related to urbanized lands and new development.
Many communities are required to be more responsive to stormwater
management, integration of new development, and planning that
is effective and site specific. The designs illustrate that
while many of the principles of sustainable design can be
applied anywhere, their successful application depends on
a process that respects and builds upon the characteristics
and context of each unique site.
The intended audience for this manual includes planners,
developers, citizens, scientists, elected officials, and those
whose job it is to design and build our communities.
This manual has been circulated watershed-wide. The publication
is continually reprinted with over 100 hard copies distributed
to date. Digital versions of the manual are available for
free download to any interested parties. The number of digital
distributions is not known. Both a printed version of the
book and an electronic version, in .pdf format, are available
and have been distributed to local officials, agencies, interested
parties and stakeholders.