The Pacific Water Research Centre at Simon Fraser University’s Faculty of Environment is working alongside locally coordinated partners to answer just that. With Dr. Aaron Clark, director of the 12,000 Rain Gardens Campaign, as a guest speaker, the Faculty of Environment hosted a public talk to explore strategies and options.
Throughout the talk, Dr. Aaron explained that only 25% of city landscapes are currently functioning like forests. While forests reabsorb water into their own soil, storm water in cities washes over impervious surfaces and rushes into nearby water bodies, picking up harmful pollutants along the way This pollution and excess flow can be very harmful to aquatic ecosystems and associated organisms.
CONSTRUCTION AND MAINTENANCE
The core aspects of rain garden construction are finding the right site, soil, and plants. The required upkeep is similar to a normal garden, but additional ongoing maintenance may be necessary to ensure storm water is being infiltrated into groundwater.
Building a cluster of gardens all at one time minimizes cost while maximizing efficiency and resources. This promotes a restructuring of the community around a common goal of sustainability. Another good place to start is with new developments, encouraging them to infiltrate storm water on-site.
WHAT’S ALREADY HAPPENING
The City of North Vancouver is mapping current rain gardens and bio-swales, analyzing rain garden efficiency, and is planning to construct more rain gardens. They’re also underway creating standards and incentives for on-site storm water control.
The District of North Vancouver is focusing on implementing rain gardens in Mosquito and Quay Creeks. They also have rain garden design standards currently available.
There are two gardens already implemented in the District of West Vancouver: one at 15th and Esquimalt and one at Bellevue and 21st. The District is also working on integrated storm water management plans to help deal with storm water and associated environmental impacts.
RAIN GARDEN AND GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE RESOURCES
Rain Gardens Care Guide
Low Impact Development Research in Washington; see also
Green Infrastructure Summit
Rain Garden Handbook