Rain gardens – A great idea for your yard or grounds
Infiltration is a very important word. As our watersheds are becoming increasingly impervious, in other words… not allowing water to soak through into the ground layer - we could be promoting infiltration and preventing flooding by installing rain gardens. All our roads, parking lots, roof tops and other hardscaped areas do not encourage infiltration. Flooding occurs because planners and engineers try to get the water to move as quickly as possible off the land, into storm drains and downstream, instead of encouraging retention and infiltration. This causes more flooding downstream and water loss for your immediate area. If more people, governments and companies installed rain gardens we could be saving and holding more clean water by promoting infiltration and preventing water loss.
“Rain is natural; stormwater isn't. Government studies have shown that up to 70% of the pollution in our streams, rivers and lakes is carried there by stormwater. Although most people never think about stormwater, about half of the pollution that stormwater carries comes from things we do in our yards and gardens! Planting a rain garden may seem like a small thing, but if you calculate the amount of rain that runs off your roof, you would be very surprised.That rain is supposed to soak into the ground, but instead heads down the street to the storm drain, carrying pollution with it. Keeping rain where it falls, by putting it into a beautiful rain garden, is a natural solution. You not only get a lovely garden out of it, you have the added benefit of helping protect our rivers, streams and lakes from stormwater pollution. You can be part of a beautiful solution!”
For more information check out http://www.raingardennetwork.com/
Rain gardens are a great way to hold rainwater after a rain. A "rain garden" is a man-made depression in the ground that is used as a landscape tool to improve water quality. “The rain garden forms a "bioretention area" by collecting water runoff and storing it, permitting it be filtered and slowly absorbed by the soil. A nutrient removal or "filtering" process takes place as the water comes in contact with the soil and the roots of the trees, shrubs and vegetation. This process accounts for the improved water quality. The first flush of rain water is ponded in the depression of the rain garden, and contains the highest concentration of materials washed off impervious surfaces such as roofs, roads, and parking lots. Rain gardens are suitable for any land use situation, residential, commercial and industrial. A rain garden should be placed so that impervious surfaces will drain into the depression area. Its purpose is to minimize the volume and improve the quality of water entering conventional storm drains and nearby streams.”
Borrowed from http://www.dof.virginia.gov/rfb/rain-gardens.shtml
For details on how to build a rain garden go to this link:
Or this one:
Or this: http://www.for-wild.org/download/RaingardenBrochure.pdf
For the American Rivers brochure in English go to:
For a How-to Brochure in Spanish go to:
For rain garden plant ideas:
For municipal officials – we recommend you check out what Portland is doing to help promote more infiltration and prevent flooding of their streets and neighborhoods.
Check out this link of a presentation given by Sam Adams, Portland City Commissioner in September of 2007. They are doing some great things in Portland! http://www.upperdesplainesriver.org/documents/Sam_Adams_Presentation_%209_07.pdf