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Rain Gardens

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Rain Gardens

Rain gardens offer many practical benefits– they help protect and restore natural hydrology and trap pollutants that may be present in stormwater. There are other benefits to rain gardens – the native plants attract birds and butterflies, and they need far less maintenance than a lawn. This makes your yard a healthier place for children and pets and saves you time and money on lawn care.

Rain gardens can absorb hundreds of gallons of rain that would otherwise wash pollution down the street and into the nearest river, stream, or lake. Even small rain gardens can absorb a substantial amount of rainwater.

Native plants are great helpers for protecting water quality in your neighbor- hood. The deep roots of many established native plants increases the ability of soil to hold water. For example, Blue False Indigo, Baptisia australis, grows 3-5 feet tall, but the roots may go down 25 feet! These fantastic roots create deep channels in the soil for rain to soak into. The decomposing roots enrich soil, making it more fertile and absorbent. The root systems also hold soil together and help prevent erosion. Native plantings won’t “burn out” during dry periods thanks to those deep roots. Consider installing a rain garden for your next family project!

A rain garden on your property

makes you a part of the solution to stormwater pollution.

For more information on creating

your own rain garden, visit www.raingardens.orgor

image courtesy

Stormwater runoff- we’ve been hearing about this issue quite a bit lately. Here’s one reason why we have a problem: when people build houses they design them to get rid of water as quickly as possible.

Did you know that one inch of rainfall on 1000 square feet of roof produces 623 gallons of stormwater runoff?

We’ve tried to address the problem by building detention ponds to collect the water and send it downstream more slowly. But these engineered ponds are costly and can become full of algae if not properly maintained.

While our own lawns absorb runoff better than impervious surfaces, lawn grasses just can’t handle all the runoff coming off our roofs and pavement after it rains.

Here’s one solution– plant a rain garden in your yard. Rain gardens are low-tech, sustainable, inexpensive and aesthetically pleasing. A rain garden is basically a depressed area that is planted with deep-rooted native plants. Lawn grasses have very short root systems, and cannot hold nearly as much water as natives. A rain garden will minimize runoff and standing water in your yard after rains by acting as a natural sponge!

Brought to you by the MS4 Municipal Stormwater Community Partnership

Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission 6100 Southport Road Portage IN 46368

For more information contact Mary Beth Wiseman, Environmental Planner