Kansas City rain gardens aid in stormwater management & Garden Angels

Submitted by Charles Frost on Fri, 06/01/2007 - 06:07.

Kansas City rain gardens aid in stormwater management

As part of the company's Earth Day activities on April 21, 2007, Black & Veatch professionals, along with their families and friends, celebrated the first anniversary of Kansas City's original corporate rain garden, which is affiliated with the city's "10,000 Rain Gardens" initiative.

The celebration ceremony at the rain garden, outside the office of Black & Veatch's water business in Kansas City, drew many local dignitaries and civic leaders, who joined the company volunteers in planting an additional 75 native plants.

Rain gardens—shallow basins or depressions planted with native plants—are catching on in Kansas City and the surrounding areas. The native plants have deep roots that allow water to infiltrate into the soil. According to recent research, properly designed rain gardens can effectively trap and retain a high percentage of common pollutants in urban storm runoff, potentially improving water quality and promoting the conversion of some pollutants into less harmful compounds.

The idea for the 10,000 Rain Gardens initiative was generated as part of the city of Kansas City's stormwater management efforts, with participation of its Stormwater Steering Committee. With Mayor Kay Barnes' adoption of the initiative, the program has been funded by Kansas City's comprehensive citywide stormwater management plan, called KC-One. Black & Veatch is the prime contractor for KC-One and has been active in the initiative by making various presentations, participating in training sessions, and assisting with a mayoral-appointed advisory panel of civic leaders.

The 10,000 Rain Gardens initiative links citizens, corporate sponsors, educators, and members of nonprofit organizations with government officials to take action on important environmental issues like water quality and stormwater flow. Planting 10,000 actual rain gardens in the Kansas City area during the next few years should reduce potential problems with water pollution and stream degradation.

"Black & Veatch has taken a corporate leadership role in the 10,000 Rain Gardens Initiative and has encouraged active participation by other local groups," said Dan McCarthy, president and CEO of Black & Veatch's water business.

For more information about the 10,000 Rain Gardens initiative, please visit www.rainkc.com or www.bvraingardens.com.

From: http://www.revitalizationonline.com/article.asp?id=1846


Garden Angels

Seeds of Change

Many organizations in our community want to do the right thing by planting a rain garden: to beautify their property, reduce pollution, provide habitat, and create an amenity for their membership, congregation, and neighbors.

They have an army of enthusiastic volunteers, training, design help--but they need garden-worthy native plants. The 10,000 Rain Gardens Advisory Panel wished to raise funds for such projects, to evaluate grant proposals, and award the grants. Mayor Kay Barnes approved of the Garden Angels fund to meet these challenges.

Thanks to the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation, the City set up a Field of Interest fund to accept donations. Donations are tax-deductible; only a small amount is needed each year to administer the fund. All other proceeds are devoted to grants for rain gardens. We are in the process of building the fund now, and expect to have enough money to distribute grants in 2007. We will publish a formal process for applying for grants at that time.

Natural Gifts: Hold Holiday Spirit Year ‘Round   

KC Gardener                                      

By Judy Almon, December 2006           

It’s December and the holidays are right around the corner. Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah or Kwanzaa, we are all busy with plans for gatherings of friends and family including holiday decorations, special meals and gifts.  Over the past few years, especially since 9/11, gift trends have moved away from large, expensive gifts toward simpler ones that show that real thought about the recipient has been given along with the physical gift.  

"People want to connect with people they love. Our message at Critical Site Products is to keep things in balance and get in touch with what matters," says Sherman Smith, general manager. 

Across the country, shoppers are trying to spend their money for simple gifts with lasting value or those that will somehow help the recipient. Others are opting for donations to causes that reflect the recipient’s interests.  One idea that combines both sentiments is a donation to Garden Angels - Field of Interest fund.

“These tax deductible donations will help create rain gardens in the Kansas City area that otherwise might not happen,” said Lynn Hinkle, who heads ASTRA Communications, consulting firm for the initiative. “The 10,000 Rain Gardens Advisory Panel, headed by Anita Gorman and Ollie Gates, reviews applications from non-profit organizations including schools, churches and neighborhood associations.  Awardees receive funds or materials, such as native plants and rain barrels, to help complete their project,” continued Hinkle. “We expect the program to really take off in 2007 with the spring campaign which will encourage more rain garden development in residential yards and neighborhoods.”

Any donation helps the program.  Just $5.00 will cover the wholesale cost of a 2-quart native plant, while a $500.00 gift pays for an entire rain garden. And making a gift donation is simple. Just go to the www.rainkc.com website and follow the Garden Angels link. Once you complete your on-line donation, you’ll receive a color gift certificate by e-mail that you can print and give.

If you want to give a rain garden to a special someone—or a different native plant garden like one to attract hummingbirds or butterflies—Critical Site Products can also help. Critsite gift certificates come in all denominations and can be redeemed when warm spring days arrive. Add a unique, handmade arbor or chair to your gift to make it special. Or, even better, a note that promises that you will help plant the garden. You’ll find that your time is the best gift of all, and that the memories you build with the garden will grow to be your gift to yourself.  


From: http://www.rainkc.com/home/garden_angels.ASP#gift


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Rain Gardening In Cuyahoga County

Found this today....

Rain Gardens

Protecting Lake Erie One Yard at a Time

Rain gardens are attractive landscaped areas planted with perennial native plants that do not mind getting "wet feet."  Build in a saucer shape, rain gardens allow water to percolate into the ground.  The benefits of rain gardens are multiple.  Rain gardens:

  • Help keep water clean by filtering storm water runoff before it enters local waterways
  • Help alleviate problems with flooding and drainage
  • Enhance the beauty of yards and communities
  • Provide habitat and food for wildlife like birds and butterflies

Recent studies by the US Environmental Protection Agency have shown that a substantial amount of the pollution in our streams, rivers and lakes is carried there by runoff from practices we carry out in our own yards and gardens!  Some of the common "non-point source pollutants" from our yards end up in our local waterways include soil, fertilizers, pesticides, pet wastes, grass clippings and other yard debris.

Planting rain gardens is a great way to help our communities "bloom," making them more attractive places to live while maintaining watershed health!

Click here to see our rain garden projects

From: http://www.cuyahogaswcd.org/grantfunded-raingardens.htm


They are also offering a (2.5 Mb) Rain Garden Manual at: http://www.cuyahogaswcd.org/PDFs/RainGardenManual.pdf

As well as newsletters and more at : http://www.cuyahogaswcd.org/resources-publications.htm


From: http://www.cuyahogaswcd.org/about.htm

Cuyahoga Soil & Water Conservation District (SWCD) was established as a legal entity in the State of Ohio in April 1949.  It is one of 88 SWCD's in the State of Ohio, each of which receives funding from its County Commissioners, the State of Ohio, and special grants.  It is administered by a five-member, elected board of Cuyahoga County property owners and/or residents. 

Cuyahoga SWCD has forged collaborative partnerships with many municipal, county, governmental agencies, local officials, schools and universities, civic and environmental organizations.  Our partner in our daily work is the United State Department of Agriculture-Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), which works with the Cuyahoga SWCD to provide technical assistance for Cuyahoga County residents.

Thought For The Day - Lawns

As Spring is coming, we could all start thinking of what new and different things we can do with our small pieces of mother earth that we have been given stewardship over.

"A lawn is nature under totalitarian rule. -Michael Pollan, author, journalism professor (b. 1955)"

...and, we just might want to consider giving it more freedom.

There are 10 types of people in this world, those who understand binary and those who dont.

how much stormwater can a tomato absorb?

Interesting thought, Bill. It made me wonder about how we think of rain. One way is to think of too much of it - we refer to it as stormwater, runoff. It is then combing with sanitary sewage and flowing to the lake. Another way to think of rain is the water content of a juicy tomato. One makes pollution and feeds the algae in our rivers streams and lakes choking out the oxygen that fish need. The other makes a tasty sauce. So I began to think about tomatoes and squash and lettuces and other veggies that would make a better place for those rain drops than the stormsewers.

Nice backyard, sideyard garden with rain barrels

I wonder what the absorption rate of a tomato is versus a sprig of grass. This is a good thought for today. Thanks. Good campaign slogan, too. Free your lawn - feed your family.

This Thurday

  From Cuyahoga County Planning Commission blog:

On Thursday (PDF), the board of the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District will discuss the regional stormwater management role proposed for the agency. The increase in responsibilities would be accompanied by new fees, which have been controversial, especially in light of the continued increases in sewer rates.