communities are the result of numerous individual site planning decisions made over long periods of time. The cumulative effects of these decisions have dramatically transformed the landscape. Development alters the surface of the land by replacing natural cover and native vegetation with rooftops, roads, parking lots, driveways, and sidewalks. These hard surfaces are impermeable to rainfall and are collectively known as impervious cover. Urbanization can have a negative impact on the quality of our waters and aquatic resources. For instance, the increased impervious cover in a watershed, in conjunction with the loss of natural cover, alters hydrology by preventing the infiltration of water into the soil and increasing the frequency and volume of stormwater runoff that flows to a watercourse. The land disturbance that occurs during the development process also adds excess sediments that can choke streams and cloud tidal waters. In turn, these fundamental changes impact both the water quality and habitat of receiving waters. A summary of the cumulative impacts of urbanization on water resources is presented in the box on page 2. More and more communities are struggling to achieve the goal of economic growth that also protects the local environment. Unfortunately, many communities have found that their own development codes and standards can actually work against this goal. For example, local codes and standards often create needless imperviou
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