Stormwater runoff is the number one threat to our water quality according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. How can we help? Below are some simple management ideas that could be implemented within the landscape to help store and clean some of this stormwater thus lessening the amount of water entering our stormwater sewer systems.
Rain barrels connect to downspouts to collect rain water. The collected water can then be used to water gardens, and be used as grey water for washing outdoor items. Water collected from rain barrels is not for human consumption, however. Some of the other benefits of rain barrels include:
- Safely and efficiently reducing water use and water bills.
- Protecting our local water ways by reducing the amount of rain that enters drains during major storms.
- Potentially improving plant health because stormwater does not contain chlorine as municipal water sources do.
- Using less water in our yard conserving limited freshwater resources in the future.
Rain gardens are a unique feature that can be added to the landscape and is disguised as a flower garden. They have many benefits that include: providing wildlife habitat, providing nectar and pollen sources for pollinators, transforming rainfall runoff into a resource rather than a nuisance, and improving storm water quality as it is infiltrated and redistributed through soils.
Rain gardens are purposefully located to maximize the amount of stormwater runoff that flows into the garden rather than off the property. It is important to note that it is not just a garden bed. Garden size, depth, slope, soil amendments and drainage all need to be considered before putting a shovel into the ground.
Plants that thrive in your landscape and in southwest Ohio should be considered. Native plants are good choices because they tend to offer more benefits to pollinators and have better survivability in native soils.
To help prepare your rain garden’s site, check out the following resources:
- Central Ohio Rain Gardens - http://www.centralohioraingardens.org/
- Blue Thumb Planting for Clean Water - https://bluethumb.org/raingardens/
- Warren County Soil and Water Conservation District - https://www.warrenswcd.com/rain-gardens.html
Before putting any of these water management strategies into place, please check local ordinances to make sure you understand what is allowable. For more questions regarding rain barrels and rain gardens, contact us! 513-695-1337.