Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Mount Rainier Nature Center Rain Garden

On Saturday November 5, 2011, the Prince George's County / Northwest Branch Watershed Stewards came together to install a raingarden project at our own Mount Rainier Nature Center.  This group of watershed stewards - Mount Rainier residents MaryLee Haughwout and Aaron Page, plus Bladensburg resident Chris Moore - are graduates of the first class of the National Capital Region Watershed Stewards Academy.

The National Capital Region Watershed Stewards Academy is a program of several regional environmental groups (including the organization I work for, Anacostia Watershed Society) aimed at developing insight and skills in community leaders to help raise awareness about and address watershed issues.  You can read their info sheet on the project after the jump, but I clipped the basics below:
What is a Rain Garden?
Rain gardens capture runoff and pollution from roads, parking lots and roofs and allow stormwater to slowly soak into the ground. Rain gardens use special sandy soils to promote water infiltration and feature deep- rooted native plants adapted to dry and wet conditions. In addition, rain gardens filter the toxins and oil and gas that are especially common in the first inch of rainwater that washes over polluted surfaces, like roads. Because rain gardens are planted with native plants, wildlife habitat is enhanced attracting beneficial birds, butterflies and insects.

The Project
The Mt. Rainier Nature Center rain garden is a capstone project for three Prince George’s County residents in efforts to reduce stormwater and pollution from entering the Northwest Branch and Anacostia River, with the aim of improving the health of these waterways. This project will promote ground water recharge in the Anacostia watershed while acting as a demonstration project and educational resource at the Mt. Rainier Nature Center.
All photos courtesy Jorge A. Mera from www.NewWhiteScreen.com
Volunteers plant water loving native plants in the rain garden