Swale Maintenance

Hurricanes, tropical storms and an overall active rainy season can create flooding in many cities and towns, including Lauderdale-By-The-Sea. Stormwater management is particularly challenging as the Town makes every effort to reduce flooding, conserve water and minimize the release of pollution.

About Swales

A key factor to good stormwater management is a properly functioning swale. A swale is a long narrow depression that varies in depth from six inches to a few feet and is typically wider than it is deep.

Swales are designed to provide water quality treatment that will reduce pollution and control flooding during storms. Swales collect rainwater, filter out pollutants, control flooding, prevent erosion, and provide a natural area for storm runoff.

Maintenance Tips

For swales to function properly, maintenance is key. Swales inundated with debris will hamper the movement of stormwater and may cause flooding. Properly maintained swales, however, provide storage and filtration for a cleaner, safer and more efficient stormwater management system.

A properly maintained swale helps prevent stormwater pollution and flooding. The following tips will assist you with ensuring your swale area properly manages stormwater runoff:

  • Mow and maintain swale areas to promote healthy growth.
  • Minimize the use of lawn and potentially hazardous garden chemicals.
  • Avoid over watering the swale. If water is standing in the swale when it has not rained, please reduce irrigation.
  • Keep all swales free of all debris, branches, leaves and palm fronds so excess water can filter into the ground.
  • Avoid parking cars on your swale. This compacts the soil and prevents stormwater from soaking into the ground.
  • Swales located in or partially in the Town's Right-of-Way may not be altered by regrading or filling with concrete, rock, dirt, landscaping, trees or anything other than grass unless a Town permit has been obtained.
  • Altering a swale may disrupt its natural drainage features, possibly causing flooding and stormwater pollution.

Swale Agreement

If you do not have any questions and agree to let the Town maintain your swale with its ongoing swale reclamation program, please fill out the Swale Agreement (PDF) and email it to Municipal Services Director Ken Rubach at kenr@lbts-fl.gov