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High Interest in WSU Low Impact Development Certification

Posted by | July 10, 2009
Linda Kirk Fox acknowledges the commitment and effort made by LID certificate program participants.
Linda Kirk Fox (middle), WSU associate dean for Extension, acknowledges the commitment and effort made by LID certificate program participants.

On May 28, building and development professionals became the first people to receive certification for completing a series of WSU Extension technical workshops on low impact development (LID). According to WSU Pierce County Extension LID educator Curtis Hinman, about 1,000 people participated in the workshops, and hundreds more are on a waiting list for the next offering.

The LID certificate program is a collaboration of WSU Extension, the WSU Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, and the state’s Puget Sound Partnership. It’s the first of its kind in the state, and possibly the nation.

For civil engineers and landscape architects the certificate verifies that the individual has received training in the latest LID design concepts and practices, and has the technical knowledge to recognize design opportunities and challenges for optimizing LID systems. For other disciplines, the certificate indicates the breadth of knowledge to better communicate with designers and engineers in incorporating LID concepts into development.

In a brief ceremony in Seattle to present the first certificates, WSU associate dean for Extension Linda Kirk Fox acknowledged the commitment and effort made by the participants.

“You had to commit the time to participate in four full two-day courses and you had to not only take five different tests, you had to pass them,” she told the graduates. “You really deserve congratulations for your success.”

The workshop series was offered in four Puget Sound area locations this year to provide those who design and manage stormwater systems with the technical information to properly design, construct, inspect, and maintain their LID projects.

Hinman, who put together the workshops with funding from the Puget Sound Partnership, says there are several reasons for the current high interest in LID techniques.

“The public’s increased interest in seeing more ‘green’ development is encouraging planners, developers, landscape architects and related disciplines to pursue the application of low impact techniques,” he says. “Thanks to previous LID education efforts, coupled with new regulations and incentive programs, many developers and public agencies are now implementing LID projects to reduce polluted runoff and more effectively manage stormwater.”

Hinman says the WSU workshops differed from previous LID courses in that they dealt with issues in greater depth and provided more specific and detailed information on application.

“They are designed to address specific issues in the Puget Sound region,” he says, “and participants really appreciate that they can earn a certificate and continuing education units to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding.”

To meet the pent up demand for LID training Hinman hopes to repeat the workshop series in the near future.

“Frankly, it’s a matter of identifying the funding that will allow us to again offer the workshops for a reasonable cost and to continue offering certification and continuing education credits,” he says.