Raingardens benefit the environment

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After a long and dreary winter, spring is really here. The grass is green, trees are leafing out, and it’s time to get the garden going. One type of garden that is growing in popularity is the raingarden, which is a shallow, depressed garden that can catch rain or stormwater runoff and is environmentally and economically friendly. Raingardens can provide beautiful landscaping in areas where grass does not grow due to flooding or soil erosion.

Where to go

The Capitol Region Watershed District helps protect the water resources of nearly a quarter million people- or one in twenty Minnesotans. CRWD includes parts of Saint Paul, Falcon Heights, Roseville, Maplewood and Lauderdale.

For more information or to request a grant application call Anna Eleria at 651 – 644-8888 or send an e-mail to anna@capitolregionwd.org

Anna Eleria, Water Resource Specialist for the Capital Region Watershed District (CRWD), said that raingardens can be planted anywhere there is rain or stormwater runoff from an impervious( not able to be penetrated) surface. She said, “The water collects and pools, then percolates into the ground to help reduce stormwater pollution and it can help with flooding.” She said “Raingardens also provide a nice habitat for wildlife.”

After the initial planting and watering the first year, Eleria said, “ Raingardens are supposed to be low maintenance with little to no watering needed and minimal weeding ” after that first year. Raingardens can be planted anytime after the frost is out of the ground , usually mid-April, until the first frost in the fall.

Eleria said, “ The CRWD has a cost share program offering technical assistance to plant and some money for the materials – plants, compost, and mulch.” She said, “We encourage that homeowners use native plants, like black-eyed susans, butterfly milkweed, blue leaf iris and prairie blazing star. ” Native plants can be found at any of the many gardening stores in the area.

Residents, schools, faith communities, and businesses can apply to the Stewardship Grant Program for up to a 50 percent reimbursement for the cost to start a raingarden.


Mary Thoemke, a lifelong resident of Saint Paul, is a free lance writer for the Twin Cities Daily Planet.

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