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Rain Gardens Laurie J. Fox Virginia Tech Hampton Roads AREC By Any Other Name… rain garden rainscaping catchwater garden bioretention basin infiltration trench or swale BMP – best management practice aesthetic opportunity What Exactly? conservation & preservation tool water

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Rain

Gardens

Laurie J. Fox

Virginia Tech Hampton Roads AREC


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By Any Other Name…

  • rain garden

  • rainscaping

  • catchwater garden

  • bioretention basin

  • infiltration trench or swale

  • BMP – best management practice

  • aesthetic opportunity


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What Exactly?

conservation & preservation tool

water


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Water Quantity

  • Most abundant resource

  • 97% saltwater

  • Most of 3% in glaciers

  • Very small % in surface and groundwater for humans


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Water Quantity

  • Surface - water on or near the earth’s surface (rivers, lakes, springs, storm water)

  • Ground - water in the saturated zone below the water table (aquifer)



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Water Quality

The degree of excellence relative to:

color

odor

suspended solids

nutrients

dissolved oxygen

pathogens (bacteria)


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Water Quantity & Quality

Threatened by:

point and non-point source pollution

through

leaching and runoff

of

sediments, nutrients, toxics


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  • Sediments - organic & inorganic solid particles

  • Nutrients - N & P

  • Toxics- pesticides,gas, oil, heavy metals, weeds, & pathogens


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Rain Gardens

  • Conserve water quantity

  • Preserve water quality


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Why?

  • remove pollutants

  • prevent erosion

  • recharge groundwater

  • prevent flooding

  • provide wildlife habitat

  • less $ alternative to ponds


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How?

  • catch rain and runoff water (6” deep)

  • temporarily hold it (< 4 days)

  • soil & plants filter sediments, nutrients, pollutants

  • water percolates down to recharge aquifers

  • water moves into atmosphere through transpiration and evaporation


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How?

  • existing or created depression

  • > 10’ house, 25’ septic field

  • high organic sandy loam soil

  • flood & drought tolerant plants

  • mulch, mulch, mulch

  • Voila! Instant Rain Garden!


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Low

Middle

High

Adams County SWCD

Quincy, IL

  • 3 planting zones

  • 4 days or less

  • 5% of drainage area

  • 6” water





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Sizing the rain garden

  • Depth  Dimensions

    • Ponding depth 6” – Divide Impermeable area by 20

    • Ponding Depth 3” – Divide impermeable area by 10

NCSU


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Sizing Example

  • Roof area: 60 X 60 = 3600 sq. ft.

  • ¼ of the flow to

    downspouts: (3600 sq.ft) X 25% = 900 sq.ft

  • Roof area plus driveway: 900 + 500 = 1400 sq. ft

  • Divide square footage by 20: 1400/20 = 70 sq. ft.

    ANSWER: The water garden should be at least

    70 square feet.

    A 5 x 14 or 7 x 10 foot garden design

    would be sufficient

NCSU



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Rain Garden Workshop

Blacksburg, VA










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Virginia Tech Rain Garden

  • Virginia Tech

  • City of Virginia Beach HEC

  • Virginia Cooperative Extension

  • VB MG Water Stewards

  • Local Nurseries & SPSA

  • Local Media






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