Friday, September 23, 2011

Tame Flooding & Curb Pollution: Build A Household Rain Garden

Have you ever thought about all the water that runs off your roof and your driveway during a rain storm? Has the aftermath of Hurricane Irene made you ask how you can help prevent flooding in our area? 

With all of our roads, parking lots, driveways, offices and homes covered in hard, impermeable materials like concrete and asphault, our stormwater doesn't get much of a chance to sink into the ground like it should.  Instead, it gathers into fast-moving torrents capable of carrying away loose soil and debris, and pollutants like trash, motor oil, gas, and road salt.  When those torrents come together in the nearest stormdrain, the next stop along the line is the nearest river, steam, pond or lake. After you think about it a little, it is easy to understand why erosion and pollution from stormwter runoff represent one of the biggest threats to our supply of clean water in northern New Jersey and how all those hard surfaces worsen our flooding problems.

If you own a home with a yard, there is something you can do to help.  Build a rain garden.

A rain garden is little more than a depression in your yard filled with carefully chosen plants and shrubs.  Choosing a low spot lets you feed all the stormwater running off your home and your driveway into a place where it can soak into the ground. Filling the garden with native plants that can survive local environmental conditions helps pull that water into the soil faster.  What you get at the end of the rain gardening process is an attractive piece of landscape that can cut local water pollution up to 30%, curb erosion on your property and along your neighborhood stream, and lessen the chance of local flooding by putting thousands of gallons of water back into the ground rather than out in the street or down flood-prone stormdrains.  Since you will not need to water your yard so often, the savings on your water bill is not bad either.

Sound like something you want to learn more about?  Visit the Great Swamp Watershed Association (GSWA) on Tuesday, October 4, 2011, for a special Rain Garden Workshop.  We will show you how to choose the best spot for your garden, how to make sure your gutters and driveways are properly drained, and how you can find the right native trees, plants and shrubs for your new garden plot.  Join us at 568 Tempe Wick Road in Morristown, NJ, between 7:00 p.m. and 8:30 p.m., to hear Hazel England, GSWA's Director of Outreach and Education resident rain garden expert, give you all the details. You will also have an opportunity to tour GSWA's own demonstration rain garden, installed in 2008.

Registration is required.  Attendance is free for current GSWA members. Non-member adults are asked to contribute $10.00 for participation. Registration and more information is available online at Please call 973-538-3500 x20 if you have any questions about this activity.

No comments:

Post a Comment