Monday, February 09, 2009

Rain Garden Seminar

Rain Garden Seminar

Rain Gardens could solve many problems. Bell Creek flows by our house and into the Rouge River day after day, year after year. If it were cleaner, we could swim in it and if flood waters didn’t go so high, banks wouldn’t be scoured and more types of fish and wildlife would live there. Some folks living near here get water in their basements.

If we all made a rain garden on our property, catching the water from our roof for instance, that roof water would not go to the storm sewer and thus directly to the river. The flow would drip slowly into the ground and recharge the water table if it isn’t taken up by plant roots and repirotranspired back into the air.

Rain gardens are great, like making channels in the sand at the beach when we were young. Water flowing to the lowest point, and it always does that, gravity and water are very dependable.

Rain gardens can be designed and put in by anyone. We all need at least one on every property, if we did this, it would improve the river. If people did this on every river and if we planted native plants in our rain gardens, critters would make their home there and raise families.

The good news is that making rain gardens is not an expensive or time consuming project and you can invite your neighbors to help and then make a rain garden at their house too. Or you can hire a contractor, it doesn't cost much. This is also the bad news, every one has to help to make a rain gardens at every house, the more the better. It seems easier for cities to build expensive drainage projects and tax people for the money, automate it. In a way it is easier to convince fewer people to use 20th century technology, done, meeting over, problem solved.

In the west, residents tore through aquifers that had taken centuries to charge, in about 40 years. They built a lot of dams out west, with federal tax money, we all paid for their water projects.

Here in Michigan, we have the Great Lakes, our aquifers are getting lower all the time, our water projects were pipe and pond drainage so we could build suburbs, took the water downstream. Setting aside flood plains, not building on low spots near the river, that was considered up and coming and it was controversial. In retrospect, it was pure genius, as suburbs unimagined by city planners in the 60's, sprung up. Houses in outer suburbs have sump pumps now. They need rain gardens. Everybody needs rain gardens.

Rain gardens would keep suburban basements dryer, would keep the hydrology of Bell Creek more even and would recharge our aquifers. Rain Gardens seem like a pretty good deal to me.

Rain Garden seminar put on by SOCWA If you miss this seminar, look it up. Rain gardens, for our future.


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