Naturalized Areas is a general term for actively incorporating or restoring sustainable landscaping practices that mimic natural conditions including a reduced dependence on watering and fertilization. These can be incorporated into existing stormwater BMPs, such as naturalized detention basins, but are more commonly found in the context of a riparian (or other specially protected) buffer areas. Native or naturalized areas includes the restoration of forest (i.e. reforestation), savanna, and/or meadow and the conversion of turf to meadow.
A vegetated swale (or bioswale) is a shallow stormwater channel that is densely planted with a variety of grasses, shrubs, and/or trees designed to slow, filter, and infiltrate stormwater runoff. Check dams can be used to improve performance and maximize infiltration, especially in steeper areas. (Low Impact Development Manual for Michigan 2008)
A riparian buffer is the area of land that exists between low, aquatic areas such as rivers, streams, lakes, and wetlands, and higher, dry upland areas such as forests, farms, cities, and suburbs. Unaltered riparian buffers may exist as various types of floodplain forest or wetland ecosystems. The Michigan Natural Features Inventory (MNFI) has identified multiple types of distinct natural communities which may occur in Michigan's riparian areas, such as southern floodplain forest, southern wet meadow, emergent marsh, and hardwood conifer swamp.
Key design features consist of three distinct codes: