Impervious Surfaces: How they Impact Fish, Wildlife and Waterfront Property Values


Author(s) Lynn Markham, Ross Dudzik.

When waterside residences are built, inevitably a quantity of land along the shore is covered by various surfaces impervious to water roofs, driveways, roads, walkways, patios, and so forth. Rainfall no longer soaks into an almost entirely permeable landscape of dirt, sand, sedgy shores, and grassy banks, but instead much of it rushes unfiltered straight into the stream or lake, carrying with it sediment, nutrients, bacteria, car fluids, and other chemicals that pollute. The unhappy result is murkier water, fewer fish, declining wildlife populations, and lower property values.

This publication suggests how to mitigate such damage by various means, including by building narrower driveways and less sprawling buildings, using mulch walkways and permeable pavers, capturing runoff in rain gardens and rain barrels, and maintaining a buffer of shoreline plants (20 pages; 2012).