Rain Garden Class: Rushes are Round, Sedges have Edges

One of the most significant challenges of the FPCG is collecting and managing water from the site. The plan is to have 3 2500 gallon cisterns catching water from the shed roof and the roof of a community gathering area (about 15′ x 15′). We should be able to fill those cisterns. Our open water catch cisterns are nearly full right now. EMSWCD has helped us calculate the amount that the roofs will shed. The trouble is-what do we do with extra water running off of the roofs once the cisterns are full? Well, raised beds…why not raised rain gardens? After taking the rain garden course offered by EMSWCD this past month at the Columbia EcoVillage , I think this may be possible (there was an example of one in the Chesapeake Bay, VA area). Looking back on the past year, there are a few more things I would have liked to have done differently. I wish we had not accepted a huge pile of dirt that we didn’t have manpower to immediately move. While it is gone, now, there were months where the storm water runoff from the property was contaminated by dirt. In case anyone out there is not getting what I’m saying: muddy water running into the sewer=bad. Construction sites are obligated to manage eroision so that this doesn’t happen, we will be doing that from now on, too. We have a great opportunity to manage a lot of our storm water on site here and, since we are talking about water that runs over asphalt, doing so is a very good thing for wildlife.

Did you know that the equivalent of a penny’s worth of copper in a swimming pool is enough to mess up a fish’s navigation? Copper is one of the crappy chemicals found in Weed & Feed

Did you know that a recommended way to treat weeds with Round-up is to spot spray rather than broadcasting chemicals?

Did you know that Hormones, Pesticides and Fertilizers cannot be filtered out at water treatment plants?

Did you know that carwash businesses recycle their water so that the detergent doesn’t go into the rivers but when you wash a car in your driveway that is exactly what happens? (Is detergent bad for the river? Yes, its.)

There was a lot of information in that rain garden class. I can sum up what I came away with: 1) rain gardens need to be strategically located-away from your foundation and not toward your neighbors yard 2) they need to be big enough to handle the area of the roof they are collecting from 3) the overflow outlet needs to be lower than the inflow 4) water does not run uphill 5) pavement sucks, permeable pavers “rock”. This makes me want to take a jack hammer to my driveway! One thing at a time.

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