When most environmentally-conscious people and business owners boast about their ecological support of Minneapolis, they are quick to point out the recycling bins next to their trash cans. True, separating your paper, plastic, and glass items is helpful to the preservation of the environment, but what other affects are you responsible for? When rain hits the city, are you aware of how your property is constructed to handle the runoff?
Recently, Seward Redesign, a non-profit community developer in Seward, reconstructed their parking lot space to include channels to multiple rain gardens. This renovation ensures a more environmentally-friendly property not only for the surrounding businesses, but for the entire city of Minneapolis as well.
Essentially, a rain garden is an intentional depression in the earth that is constructed near surfaces that are unable to absorb rain water. These plots absorb the storm water and nourish the garden’s soil; this process also limits unnecessary run-off from rain.
The project to reconstruct the lot and install the garden started when Redesign applied for a grant to receive part of the $250,000 the Mississippi Watershed Management Organization assigns each year. Since then, Redesign has worked with MWMO and their Stewardship Fund Program to redevelop the once unsustainable parking lot.
Free Speech Zone
The Free Speech Zone offers a space for contributions from readers, without editing by the TC Daily Planet. This is an open forum for articles that otherwise might not find a place for publication, including news articles, opinion columns, announcements and even a few press releases.
Instead of the storm water flowing into street drains and causing erosion, water pollution, and potential flooding, these gardens will give life to native Minnesota plants surrounding Redesign’s parking lot. The native plants do not need any unnatural fertilizer and they require almost no effort to take care of due to their tolerance of the climate and soil conditions.
Another benefit of Redesign’s gardens are the decreased effects it will have on the nearby Mississippi River and Minneapolis’s hydrologic cycle. The truth is, water that flows into the storm drains of our city streets is never filtered before it enters the Mississippi River. Redesign is aiming to cut down on the river’s pollution by making sure that unnatural waste is not flowing into their surrounding storm drains.
Funding for this project was provided in part by the Mississippi Watershed Management Organization’s Stewardship Fund Program (http://www.mwmo.org/)