Help keep Puget Sound clean with rain gardens

By Val Stewart | Sep 12, 2013

Have you noticed all the rainwater sheeting down our hills toward downtown Edmonds and Puget Sound during that enormous rain event on Thursday afternoon, Aug. 29?

What a great reminder that we all must do something to help the city with this problem created by continued development over the past 100 years or so.

Now is a great time for citizens to take their own actions  to save Puget Sound from continuous pollution flowing from stormwater runoff.

How do we ensure immediate results? Our existing stormwater management system is dated and is currently being retrofitted.

We can help accelerate that process by adding our own “green infrastructure” in the form of rain gardens in our yards.  This is a solution that’s affordable, truly green, and doable.

Jump on board with the “12,000 Rain Gardens in Puget Sound Campaign.”  We have nine rain gardens registered thus far in our City, and we need your help to reach our City goal of 106 rain gardens by 2016.

Puget Sound’s Stewardship Partners and Washington State University Extension have combined forces to launch this campaign in order to bring thousands of rain gardens to Puget Sound neighborhoods.

This will result in cleaner water heading into the Sound, flood control and beautiful gardens.

As citizens collaborate throughout the region, Edmonds can join in and be  part of a community-driven model that will dramatically improve our environment and hopefully inspire a national movement.

What is a rain garden?  It’s an attractive landscape feature in your yard that captures and filters polluted runoff from your rooftop and other hard surfaces.

The idea is to use the right landscaping to do the job that nature has done long before human settlement.

We can reduce our dependence on expensive pipe and drain systems to carry away the storm water, and you don’t even need a green thumb to maintain an attractive rain garden.

Imagine 12,000 rain gardens soaking up 160 million gallons of polluted runoff each year!

For taxpayers, it’s a proven cost-effective way to address water pollution and flooding.

So why wouldn’t we do this?  No reason, since now you have an opportunity to attend a free workshop from 6-8 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 17, at the Edmonds Library Plaza room, 650 Main St.

Leveraging community organization and support, the 12,000 Rain Garden Campaign has already enabled numerous Rain Garden Clusters in surrounding areas where  adjacent homeowners worked together to create a neighborhood pilot project.

It can attract media, sponsors, and it’s loads of fun.

Schools, businesses, and churches can benefit as well. The City is interested in implementing a pilot program for citizen groups and is exploring ways to fund such a program.

How do I know so much about rain gardens?  I had two installed in my yard a couple of years ago. 100 percent of my entire roof rain water runoff is directed into our rain gardens where it is cleansed and absorbed.

It’s the best decision I’ve made for my yard and for Puget Sound.  And during that last rain event, it worked like a charm.

Edmonds citizens can work together to keep the Northwest’s treasured waters clean and our communities thriving.  Take advantage of this opportunity to learn how to create rain gardens from the experts.

To register, call Michael Cawrse at 425-771-0220.  Questions about rain gardens?  email Marilyn Jacobs

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