Rain gardens—plots of native plants planted beside hard-surface areas to catch and filter polluted runoff—are some of the best pollution-fighting tools in the clean water tool box.
The water-absorbing soils in rain gardens allow runoff water to soak into the ground and be naturally filtered and cleansed of harmful pollutants washing off roads, parking lots, and lawns. And the native grasses, flowers, and shrubs in rain gardens use the runoff water to grow and flourish, providing food and homes for wildlife and beautifying the landscape.
More rain gardens mean cleaner water, cleaner streams, and a healthier Chesapeake Bay. Reducing runoff pollution is among the key goals of the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint, the state-federal plan to restore the Bay and its many rivers and streams.
That's why CBF's Virginia staff and volunteers began installing five rain gardens last week in residential yards in the Broad Rock community of Richmond, Va. The properties were selected after CBF met with more than 60 community residents to discuss ways they could reduce polluted runoff coming from their property. After installation of the rain gardens, the homeowners will qualify for a credit on their monthly Richmond stormwater fee.
The rain gardens are part of a larger CBF project engaging the Broad Rock community on ways residents can reduce runoff from their homes, places of worship, roads, and businesses. Funding for the project is provided by The Community Foundation Serving Richmond and Central Virginia and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.
—Chuck Epes, CBF's Assistant Director of Media Relations