This Spring, students from UC Environmental Studies Capstone class have been hard at work redesigning the Field Center’s rain garden. Five students have embarked on this four month project at the Field Center to mitigate combined water overflow from the Ohio River. Read to learn why this project is so important for our water systems.
What is a Rain Garden?
A rain garden is a garden of hardy plants placed in a six to twelve inch indented plot of land for the purpose of collecting excess rainwater runoff. Rain gardens are made of native plants that require little maintenance and collect 30% more water than traditional grass plots of land.
Despite their name, rain gardens are dry most of the time, and typically are only saturated with water 12-48 hours after a large rainfall.
What Are the Benefits of Rain Gardens?
Rain gardens allow water to gradually soak into the ground, which decreases runoff from rain water. They also help improve water quality by filtering out pollutants that rain collects in the air.
In addition, rain gardens attract pollinators to the area, which are essential in fostering a thriving local ecosystem. Lastly, rain gardens are often aesthetically pleasing and can offer a greater community connection to nature.
Why Are Rain Gardens Important in the Cincinnati Area?
The city of Cincinnati has a combined sewer system. In a combined sewer, both stormwater (water from rainfall) and sewage are treated at the same facility (Cincinnati’s Metropolitan Sewer District). During dry conditions, this system works well to prevent untreated wastewater from flowing into local waterways.
However, when excessive amounts of rainfall occur, the runoff from rain overwhelms the sewer system, causing the untreated stormwater and sewage to overflow into local waterways. Rain gardens combat this issue by preventing rainwater from flowing into the sewer system.
Can I Visit the Rain Garden At the Field Center?
Yes! Come visit us at the Field Center (11053 Oxford Rd, Harrison, OH 45030). We are open for visitors 7 days a week during daylight hours.