Now that the MS4 General Permit has been approved by the Board of Conservation & Recreation, the future is rapidly becoming now. Now is the time to determine compliance costs to budget the necessary funds. The report from the James River Association and the Center for Watershed Protection provides much useful cost information, hopefully the start of a continuing sharing of information.
The report ranks treatment methods by cost effectiveness, with urban stream restoration ranked as the most cost effective. Though cost effective, stream restoration projects cannot be small projects. Upstream and downstream conditions affect hydraulically stablity, so it is difficult to restore short stream sections. There should still be room for smaller projects, such as parking lot retrofits. The James River Association has championed such projects through their Extereme Stream Makeover programs. Below is a photograph of one such retrofit in Henrico County, a bioretention area in a parking lot island. This project was constructed with donated materials and volunteer labor, so costs were relatively low. The project is highly visible to the public which helps build program support. A good MS4 program will come from a balanced approach. Read more about the development of the report in this Richmond Times-Dispatch article:
Download the full report here.