Image Credit: Adams County Stormwater BMPs, 2018
Photograph Image Credit: Adams County Stormwater BMPs, 2018

Vegetative Filter Strip


A vegetative filter strip is a gently sloping landscaped area that provides pretreatment to an adjacent stormwater management facility. The BMP slows the upstream runoff rate, reducing the risk of erosion and allows for quicker infiltration before the water leaves the site. Vegetative filter strips add visual buffer from impervious areas such as parking lots.

Considerations:

  • Vegetative filter strips are not bioswales. Runoff must be flowing in the form of sheet flow (not concentrated flow like in a swale or pipe) across the vegetative filter strip in order for this green infrastructure practice to be effective.
  • The type of vegetative groundcover specified affects the level of water quality treatment which can be achieved. For instance, woodland plant species provide 70% TSS removal while turf grass provides 60% removal.

Cost: Vegetative filter strips are relatively inexpensive compared to other BMPs. A filter strip can be designed using existing vegetated areas or newly proposed planted areas.

Maintenance: Maintenance varies based upon composition of the filter strip. Regular maintenance activities may include debris/sediment removal, mowing, and landscape services.

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