Central Ohio Rain Garden Initiative

Mertensia virginica (Virginia Bluebell) (2)


Central Ohio Rain Garden Initiative is a collaborative project of Franklin Soil and Water Conservation District in Columbus, Ohio. On this site, you’ll find lots of rain gardening resources.

Why plant rain gardens? The news has been saturated (pun intended) with water-related headlines lately: last year, Toledo’s water was contaminated with toxic algae. Locally in central Ohio, we’ve experienced elevated nitrate levels and localized flooding from heavy rainfall and runoff.

Though compacted and paved suburban or urban landscapes are limited in their ability to absorb rainfall, the creative gardeners among us can capture their rainwater in a rain garden. Treating your own home’s runoff is one way residents can protect our drinking water while decreasing harmful effects on waterways from flash flooding, erosion, and pollution.

Storing water temporarily in a rain garden allows it to draw down slowly, preventing the possibility that it will pick up pollutants and carry them to the nearest stream. Water is naturally filtered as well: gardens remove and degrade contaminants through microbial processes, plant uptake, exposure to sunlight, and absorption to soil particles. Properly designed rain gardens capture the first inch of rainfall, and drain within a day. Since most storms produce less than one inch of rainfall, capturing it reduces pollutants significantly.

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