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Bioretention Hydrologic Performance in an Urban Stormwater Network
While many studies have evaluated the hydrologic effects of bioretention at the site level, few have investigated the role bioretention plays when distributed throughout a watershed. This study aims to assess bioretention's effects on an urbanized watershed using two modeled scenarios: one where runoff from many land uses was routed through the practice, and another in which only runoff from large impervious areas was routed. Peak flows, volumes, and lag times from these models were compared to the watershed's current and predeveloped conditions. Both scenarios provided reductions in peak flows with respect to existing conditions for modeled storm events, sometimes to levels below the predeveloped condition. Neither case was able to reduce volumes to predevelopment levels; the option to treat impervious areas had a negligible effect on runoff volume. Both cases were able to extend lag times from the existing development condition. Based on these results, bioretention appears to have the capability to improve watershed hydrologic characteristics. Furthermore, only treating impervious areas could be a viable alternative when funds or space are limiting factors.