What’s a Rain Garden?
A rain garden is an attractive native plant garden with a purpose: to protect local streams, rivers and the Chesapeake Bay. Rain water (or snowfall) is routed to the garden and filtered by the plants and soils in the garden. Rain gardens use a combination of soils and water-tolerant native plants to catch and hold runoff, a concept known as bioretention. The soils and plants then naturally filter out pollutants found in rain and runoff helping to protect local streams, rivers and the Chesapeake Bay.
Impervious surfaces, like rooftops, roads and parking lots, do not absorb or allow the infiltration of rainfall. As a result, more rainwater travels over the surface, washing various pollutants like excess nutrients, lead, copper, engine oil, gasoline and engine coolant collected on these surfaces into local streams, rivers and eventually the Chesapeake Bay. Planting a rain garden in your yard may seem like a small thing, but capturing the first inch of water from a storm in a rain garden keeps 90% of pollutants and nutrients out of the local streams and rivers. Keeping rain where it falls by putting it into a rain garden will help protect our rivers, streams and the Chesapeake Bay.
- Matt Fleming, Program Manager
Photo of Rain Garden Courtesy of NRCS
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