Urban Filter Strips

An urban filter strip hard at work.

Urban filter strips (UFS), also referred to as vegetated filter strips (VFS) or grass filter strips, are designed to accept sheetflow from adjacent impervious and pervious areas, including roofs. To some extent, filter strips may provide similar functions as grass or riparian buffers that trap and filter sediment, uptake and infiltrate soluble nutrients. The six Bay States and District of Columbia include UFS as an accepted stormwater BMP in their respective stormwater management manuals however until now it was not an approved BMP by the CBP.

In February 2013, the Urban Stormwater Work Group (USWG) convened an Expert Panel to define and develop nutrient and sediment load reductions recommendations using urban filter strips and stream buffer upgrade* as new best management practices (BMPs) to be adopted by the Chesapeake Bay Program (CBP).

A total of 27 publications were reviewed along with the State and District of Columbia stormwater design guidance for urban filter strips to form the basis of the Expert Panel recommendations.

In addition to the specific recommendations to define urban filter strips as an approved BMP for the Chesapeake Bay Program, the Expert Panel provides a set of future research and management needs to advance our understanding of this BMP and data to define stream buffer upgrades as a future BMP.

In June, 2014 the CBP workgroups approved the Recommendations of the Expert Panel to Define Removal Rates for Urban Filter Strips and Stream Buffer Upgrade Practices. Congratulations to the esteemed panelists and our colleagues at CWP! Learn more about this recently approved Urban BMP by reading the full recommendations of the expert panel which can be downloaded below.

Urban Filter StripsĀ Final Report

Training Resources

The following training resources have been created for explaining the panel recommendations – enjoy!