Rain on the Rain Garden

Friday, November 17, 2017

Veteran Conservation Corps members pause to check plans
while creating the LFP rain garden in Town Center
Photo courtesy Streamkeepers

By Tyson Greer, LFP StreamKeepers

You might say, “Hey, it’s raining.”

Lake Forest Park (LFP) StreamKeepers members say, “YEA! IT’S RAINING.”

That’s because we just completed our first demonstration rain garden. (Where? At Town Center, look for the new split rail fence by LFP Bank of America.)

What’s a rain garden?

A rain garden is a low-tech way to collect, absorb, and filter pollutants in stormwater runoff from parking lots, rooftops, driveways, and other impervious surfaces. Water can’t soak in to these hard surfaces, so it gushes into storm drains that discharge directly into (and pollutes) our creeks and kills fish.

The project is part of our effort to clean up our streams so we can re-establish salmon runs, including Kokanee Salmon.

Our rain garden will help protect Lyon Creek as it cleans stormwater runoff from a large portion of the parking lot between LFP City Hall and the Bank of America. The new “water tolerant” plants in the “garden” will help absorb the runoff as well as look attractive. We are now part of Stewardship Partners’ “12,000 Rain Gardens” campaign.

The Snohomish Conservation District (SCD) installed the Rain Garden, in cooperation with property owner Merlone Geier and Bank of America. SCD sponsors members of the Veteran Conservation Corps (VCC) to work with them to build Rain Gardens. VCC allows vets to transition back into the workplace by offering conservation jobs and environmental training.

VCC members put up the split rail fence around the rain garden site
Photo courtesy Streamkeepers

After the vets put up the split rail fencing, StreamKeeper volunteers did the easier work of planting the plants! In a couple hours, we put in Carex Testacea (“sedge grass”), Juncus effuses (“Quartz Creek”), Leucanthemum (“Sweet Daisy Jane”), Geranium (“Rozanne”), and a Cornus Sanguinea (“Midwinter Fire”).

Then, right on schedule. It rained.

And thanks to…

IEH, a local environmental testing service with worldwide offices, is partnering with LFP StreamKeepers to test samples of rainwater for a broad spectrum of pollutants going in from the parking lot and coming out of the “garden.”

Thanks to King County Councilmember Rod Dembowski and his office, who connected us with the King County’s Water Works grant to “do something good for the streams in Lake Forest Park.” This project was funded by the King County Wastewater Treatment Division.

If you are interested in building your own rain garden, see this article.


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