Low Impact Development

LATIS: A Spatial Decision Support System to Assess Low Impact Site Development Strategies


In order to meet federal and state water quality standards, design guidelines for many municipal and regional planning agencies are requiring the implementation of best management practices (BMP’s) that will reduce water contaminants such as total suspended solids, phosphorus, nitrogen, and bacteria. Low Impact Development (LID) is a concept that parallels and partially overlaps with BMP's. It approaches stormwater management from the perspective of landscape features at the site level. It includes open green spaces and rooftops, parking lots, sidewalks and other features that infiltrate, store, evaporate, and detain some stormwater runoff close to its source rather than sending it rapidly downstream. Significant advances have been made in the use of spatial and hydrologic models to quantify the impact of BMP/LID practices on water quality within watersheds, but little research has focused on calculating the implementation costs associated with these BMP’s when integrated with a spatial decision support system (SDSS). This research project had three phases. The first was a review and selection of a public domain water quality model. Hydrologic Simulation Program in FORTRAN (HSPF), an unsteady flow model, was selected as the hydrologic and water quality program. HSPF is currently supported by the EPA and distributed as a bundled software package along with BASINS. Efforts are ongoing to develop a public domain GUI for HSPF. The second phase involved assessing the potential for linking the model to a desktop GIS. All commercial desktop GIS systems were reviewed based on a set of characteristics including cost, function, and availability. The third phase focused on identification of BMP’s that are often included in low impact development strategies, including their cost. This information was collected from several national sites and loaded into a database, which was later linked to the site’s individual BMP’s housed in the GIS. Development costs for different combinations or configurations of BMP’s could then be calculated in real time. The final and production version of the endeavor, called LATIS, is a public domain Windows GUI and Microsoft Office based BMP selection and simulation program that can demonstrate the impact of different BMP implementation strategies on water quality, as well as implementation and maintenance cost. To date, this approach has been tested on three sites- two in Mississippi and one in Tennessee. Outcomes indicate that certain BMP/LID strategies can both protect water quality and be cost effective.


No events scheduled at this time.

View More


Facebook twitter You Tube MSU LALC Blogger Instagram

Quick Contact

Telephone 662-325-3012
Fax 662-325-7893

Department of Landscape Architecture
Box 9725
Mississippi State University, MS 39762