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POLICY 71

Soil Health: Protect and improve soil health to sustain and promote plant, animal, and human health.

Person Holding Soil

Scientists now understand that the key to a healthy, vibrant ecosystem is the establishment of a healthy soil microbiome. Improved soil health increases soil fertility, plant nutrition, water quality, and drought and pest resistance, while reducing erosion and the need for environmentally harmful elements such as irrigation water, chemical fertilizers and biocides. Healthy soils also infiltrate stormwater with greater efficiency and as a result improve the quality and reduce the quantity of stormwater runoff.

ACTION STEPS

The City will seek to accomplish the following action steps to protect and improve soil health to sustain and promote plant, animal, and human health.

  1. Develop a citywide soil health management plan, including development of quantifiable goals, best practices and key performance indicators.
  2. Ensure that site plan review requirements allow for landscaping materials that improve soil conditions and discourage those that do harm.
  3. Require a minimum level of organic matter content for construction fill.
  4. Protect steep slopes, bluffs and other sensitive areas from erosion and other threats during and after the completion of development projects.
  5. Require developments/redevelopments to work with, not against, site grades and site features. Incorporate principles of better site design, low-impact development and design(ing) with nature into codes/requirements.
  6. Reduce impervious cover (surfaces that don’t absorb rainfall).
  7. Avoid soil compaction of open areas and restore soils in previously compacted areas.
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