Adapting to Climate Change with Low Impact Development (LID) Stormwater Management in the Lake Champlain Basin


February 1, 2012 to January 31, 2016


This project will explore the resiliency of Low Impact Development (LID) stormwater bioretention systems in the context of mitigating existing and projected future urban runoff stressors that impact Lake Champlain. An existing landscaped area will be retrofitted to create a set of ten bioretention cells of approximately identical size and slope that demonstrate different soil and vegetation design variables (a total of ten cells/areas). Over the course of an 18-month study, the response of the systems to current "natural" and simulated climate-change-driven hydrologic patterns will be observed. The effects of existing conditions and projected future conditions on the soils and vegetation within each bioretention system will be compared and each system’s hydrologic performance, sediment, phosphorus and nitrogen retention, and greenhouse gas (CO2, N2O and CH4) emissions will be evaluted. This will allow recommendations to be made regarding the attributes of bioretention systems that are the most resilient, robust, flexible, and ultimately sustainable for use in urban areas in the Lake Champlain Basin.  


E. Carol Adair
Assistant Professor, University of Vermont
Carol.Adair [at]

Stephanie E. Hurley
Assistant Professor, University of Vermont
Stephanie.Hurley [at]

Resulting Publications

Influence of critical bioretention design factors and projected increases in precipitation due to climate change on roadside bioretention performance

Published 2018
This scientific journal article by Stephanie Hurley and others assessed how design factors of bioretention systems influence flow rates and pollutant mass removal. This research compared the labile and nonlabile pollutant mass (TSS, N, and P species) captured or released by bioretention cells with different vegetation compositions and soil media treatments on an equal volume basis in eight roadside bioretention systems.