Watershed Management


As Anchorage becomes more urbanized, water quality has the possibility to deteriorate due to clearing of vegetation, flattening hills, filling lowlands, compacting soil, and creating new structures.

Watershed Management created critera and guidance on development to help mitigate a decrease in water quality.

Design Criteria

The Design Criteria Manual provides Municipal drainage standards and policies for designers of new land developments, re-developments, roads, and drainage projects. These standards and policies are designed to decrease flooding and erosion, and to reduce adverse impacts in compliance with the requirements for stormwater management. For additional guidance, see the stormwater-related documents on our Construction Page.

Low Impact Development (LID)

Because urban development can change the flow of streams, degrade water quality, cause erosion, and more, the goal of Low-Impact Development (LID) is to mimic the natural water cycle that existed at the site before it was developed. LID is an innovative stormwater management approach with a basic principle that is modeled in nature: manage rainfall at the source using uniformly distributed, decentralized, small-scale controls. In essence, it works to establish a more natural water cycle.

In addition to developing rain gardens and implementing stream setbacks, there are a number of municipal LID projects in the works or under consideration: projects involving roadways, parking lots, runoff stream outfall disconnections, and Permanent Stormwater Controls.

Rain Gardens

The Municipality is not currently operating a Rain Garden Reimbursement Program. It is unknown whether the grant funds that made this program possible will be offered in the future. Watershed Management staff are availble for sight visits, design assistance, provide technical resoutces, or otherwsie help if you are planning a Rain Garden. Please contact (907) 343-8026 for more information.

Stream Setbacks

Stream setbacks are another way that our waterways and watersheds are protected. Keeping new development at a prescribed distance from waterways helps avoid detrimental impacts. Streams are protected by several sections of the Anchorage Municipal Code of Regulations Title 21, which regulate a variety of activities near streams, lakes, floodplains, and other watercourses.