Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: Massachusetts
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

Shuster, W.D., A.H. Roy, H.W. Thurston, M. Morrison, M. Taylor, and M. Clagett. 2008. Implementation of retrofit best management practices in a suburban watershed (Cincinnati OH) via economic incentives. Proceedings of the 11th International Conference on Urban Drainage, August 31-September 5, 2008, Edinburgh, Scotland, UK.


There is great potential for managing stormwater runoff quantity; however, implementation in already-developed areas remains a challenge. We assess the viability of economic incentives to place best management practices (BMPs) on parcels in a 1.8 km2 suburban watershed near Cincinnati, Ohio (USA). A reverse auction, used to relieve legal constraints on BMP implementation on private land such that residents voluntarily bid on BMPs (rain gardens and rain barrels), was held in 2007. Out of a possible 350 homeowners, we obtained a ~25% response rate, and ~60% of the bids were for $0. Bids were ranked based on the basis of cost and an environmental benefits index. We ultimately installed 50 rain gardens and 100 rain barrels, which were uniform in their distribution across the watershed. Although BMPs did not disconnect an appreciable amount of effective impervious area from stream channels (0.2 – 0.4%), a dramatic increase (16-28%) in stormwater runoff storage capacity was imparted to the various subwatersheds. Ongoing monitoring at neighborhood stormwater outfalls and subwatershed tributaries will ultimately determine whether this approach yields an effective stormwater management strategy.