I will admit that before coming to my internship I thought of storm drainage rarely. I knew what a storm drain was, and I knew where they went. I thought I would just write some of the more important implications of storm drainage in an attempt to enlighten others. When a new building gets built, it obviously has to have a storm drainage system. All of that water has to go somewhere, right? The water that used to soak into the ground naturally now gets caught in gutters, and sent to man-made canals. Two things happen at this point. The water gathers and moves faster over time, and it hits the creek or river it is destined for, hard. Where water used to seep into a watershed, it now is funneled in quickly, causing erosion. There is also a chance that the water can pick up sediment on its way and add that to the river, clogging it up. Secondly, the water picks up any pollutants that it runs over in its concrete channel and deposits that into the river. This is obviously very bad for waterways. Sediment and erosion can cause islands to form, and impede navigation of fish.
If development were to be allowed to happen without any input from conservation groups, the impact on watersheds would be terrible. It is important, if we are to protect our resources responsibly, to support such groups in protecting our rivers.