Steep slope protection | U.S. Green Building Council
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LEED ND: Plan | v3 - LEED 2009

Steep slope protection

SLLc6 | Possible 1 point


To minimize erosion to protect habitat and reduce stress on natural water systems by preserving steep slopes in a natural, vegetated state.



All options apply to existing natural or constructed slopes. Portions of project sites with slopes up to 20 feet (6 meters) in elevation, measured from toe (a distinct break between a 40% slope and lesser slopes) to top, that are more than 30 feet (9 meters) in any direction from another slope greater than 15% are exempt from the requirements, although more restrictive local regulations may apply.

OPTION 1. No Disturbance of Slopes Over 15%

Locate on a site that has no existing slopes greater than 15%, or avoid disturbing portions of the site that have existing slopes greater than 15%.


OPTION 2. Previously Developed Sites with Slopes Over 15%

On portions of previously developed sites with existing slopes greater than 15%, restore the slope area with native plants or noninvasive adapted plants according to Table 1.

Table 1. Required restoration area of slope

Slope Restoration
> 40% 100%
26% to 40% 60%
15% to 25% 40%

In addition, develop covenants, conditions, and restrictions (CC&R); development agreements; or other binding documents that will protect the specified steep slope areas in perpetuity. Comply with the requirements of Option 3 on any slope over 15% that has not been previously developed.


OPTION 3. Sites Other than Previously Developed Sites with Slopes Over 15%

On sites that are not previously developed sites, protect existing slopes over 15% as follows:

  1. Do not disturb slopes greater than 40% and do not disturb portions of the project site within 50 feet (15 meters) horizontally of the top of the slope and 75 feet (23 meters) horizontally from the toe of the slope.
  2. Limit development to no more than 40% of slopes between 25% and 40% and to no more than 60% of slopes between 15% and 25%.
  3. Locate development such that the percentage of the development footprint that is on existing slopes less than 15% is greater than the percentage of buildable land that has existing slopes less than 15%.
  4. Develop CC&R, development agreements, or other binding documents that will protect steep slopes in perpetuity.
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