From runoff to rain garden
Crow Wing County
Photo: Steve Kohls, Brainerd Dispatch
Rain gardens help decrease the volume and speed of stormwater flow, and that’s exactly what Little Buffalo Creek needed. The creek flows into the Mississippi River and has been exhibiting signs of trouble: erosion, pollution and increased water temperature after rains.
Crow Wing Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) began a significant rain garden project thanks to $130,000 from the Clean Water Fund, part of the Legacy amendment. Seventeen landowners agreed to have a curb-cut rain garden installed on their property and to maintain it for years.
Trained Master Gardeners were there to mentor these landowners during the first two growing seasons on rain garden design, plant selection, weed identification and maintenance. Jackie Froemming, Extension educator, coordinated and co-facilitated the stormwater and rain garden workshop for the 18 Master Gardener volunteers who stepped up to help.
The rain gardens, installed in September of 2014, divert at least 15,000 gallons of stormwater in a one-inch rain event (figure statistic provided by Beth Hippert, SWCD). “The difference in the amount of chemicals and all the bad stuff going into the water was just amazing. And it’s all because you dig a hole, and you make the water go in the direction it’s supposed to go,” said Deb Hoffmann, Master Gardener.