According to the EPA, nearly 70% of the pollution in our surface waters comes from stormwater runoff. The management of stormwater has become such an area of concern that it’s now considered by ecologists, municipal planners, contractors, and landscape professionals as requiring micromanagement.
Micromanagement systems work by temporarily storing stormwater in a variety of locations and slowing down the volume of runoff as it enters the sewer systems, lakes, rivers, or streams.
One component of a well-developed micromanagement system is a rain gardens. Rain gardens absorb stormwater as it runs off driveways, roofs, and other impermeable surfaces. They’re like other gardens in your yard but aren’t mounded like perennial beds are for example. They’re designed with a bowl or depression in the center and contain deep, loose soil that collects stormwater from your property that would normally become runoff, carrying pollutants with it.
Native plants are well suited to rain gardens because they are well-adapted to your area, have deep roots that help the garden absorb water, and provide the added bonus of habitat for local wildlife. Where I live, the New England Wild Flower Society offers great resources on native plants. In fact, there are native plant societies all over the country and many states have have their own society.
If you’re interested in creating a rain garden for your property, check this out and get digging!
text by Ann D. Travers