Rain Gardens Can Help Mitigate Standing Storm Water

Jordyn Williams and Lindsey Dillard conducted an education presentation on rain gardens at the July town council work session. The girls explained what they are, how they work and what advantage they can serve homeowners to help deal with the ever growing increase in rain activity and flooding during summer storms.

Williams explained what rain gardens are and informed the audience of the benefits of creating one.

Rain gardens are designed to help cope with excess rain water. They are a mixture of plants, flowers and shrubs usually planted in a depression. The design generally allows the garden to collect excess rain water but to drain off within 24 to 48 hours in order to minimize standing water.

These gardens are designed to catch runoff from roofs, rain gutters, impermeable patios and lawns. During periods of no rain the gardens are designed to remain dry.

Williams continued by listing the benefits of rain gardens including their ability to remove sediments and harmful chemicals from rain water, reduce flooding and preventing pollutants in runoff from making it to waterways.

All in all rain gardens recharge the local groundwater thereby improving the quality.

These gardens are also aesthetically pleasing while providing a habitat for some wildlife.

Next Lindsey Dillard instructed the attendees, how to create a rain garden.

Dillard said, “Creating your own rain garden can be a fun and fairly simple task.”

The key elements to creating a rain garden is to determine the best placement and plants to include in the garden.

Preferably you should find a low area where the rest of the yard slopes towards. This is usually and area where water naturally puddles after rain events.

Once you find this area dig a shallow depression and fill with native plants, preferably ones that require little watering or can last for a long time with out water. Remove any weeds to allow new native plants to mature.

Dillard also recommends digging slight trenches or ditches from down spouts or other areas where water drains, to the newly planted rain garden. This will help facilitate drainage to the rain garden during storms.

Here is a link to the slide show the girls used to inform attendees about rain gardens. It contains some helpful slides with illustrations on how to create a rain garden, tables and links to calculators to help plan your own garden as well as a list of native plants that work well in these types of gardens.

What is a Rain Garden?

*The town is currently working with four interns in town hall. Two of them include Jordyn Williams and Lindsey Dillard.

Jordyn Rollins Williams who will be a Freshman at William and Mary College this fall is currently interning in Town Manager’s Office. Williams plans to major in Environmental Science and Policy.

Lindsey Dillard is a rising Sophomore at William and Mary College, studying Biology and Marine Science. Dillard Currently interns with Colonial Beach Public Works.

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