Soak Up the Rain Webinars

Learn about innovative stormwater solutions. EPA New England is hosting webinars to help communities Soak Up the Rain.skaneatlles-copy-reduced-637x1024

Webinar participants will:

  • Hear about public outreach resources and programs.
  • See who’s soaking up the rain with green infrastructure.
  • Learn about the latest tools and resources from EPA and others.
  • Share successes, barriers, and lessons learned in New England communities.

The next webinar is “Back to School: Soaking up the Rain at K-12 Schools – Making Connections with Teachers and Students on Green Infrastructure”. This free webinar on October 6th, 3:00 – 4:30 EST, will feature expert speakers that include:

  • Peter Hinrichs, Learning Prep School in Newton, Massachusetts
  • Peter Coffin, the Blackstone River Coalition and Blackstone Headwaters Coalition
  • Molly Allard, Northern Rhode Island Conservation District

You can view the webinar flyer and register online at the EPA Soak Up the Rain website: https://www.epa.gov/soakuptherain

Plant a rain garden this spring

119 West-Appleton reduced v.3The Worcester County Conservation District (WCCD) offers its 2016 seedling sale. The seedling sale has over 50 types of trees, perennials, herbs and fruit seedlings. Nearly 20 species are well-suited for rain gardens, including Arborvitae, Red Cedar, Blueberry, Elderberry, Bee Balm, Columbine, Coneflower and more. To order seedlings online, visit www.seedlingsale.org.
If you prefer to have a brochure mailed to you, phone 508-829-0168 x 131. The sale runs thru April 1, with pick-up date of May 7, 2016 at one of six locations across Worcester County.

Rain gardens attract birds and butterflies, and help to protect streams, lakes and ponds. Rain gardens are designed to retain storm water for a few hours, allowing it to seep into the ground. This groundwater replenishes waterways between rain events and sustains the health of stream life. Rain garden plants and soils also cleanse storm water and remove nutrients that can harm water quality.

Gardens make yards more attractive and form mini-ecosystems you can enjoy watching. Many of the WCCD seedling sale plants are good for rain gardens, and others can be obtained elsewhere to add variety. Rain gardens can be placed in sunny or shady locations, and do best on well-drained soils.

Free rain garden guides can be downloaded from the Massachusetts Watershed Coalition website at: www.commonwaters.org/resources/bgy-resources . These guides explain how-to build a rain garden including locations, soils, costs, construction tips and plants selection.

Porous Paving

Permeable paving can be an effective way to improve property and let stormwater seep into the ground.  There are many options including pervious asphalt and concrete, interlocking paving blocks, and systems with gravel or grass to fill spaces in a grid.  Pervious paving offers lots of uses around a home or business, such as driveways, parking areas, patios, walkways and more.  It’s easy to see hundreds of interesting ways to do this by searching online for porous paving images .

The costs for different types of permeable pavements vary.  The Center for Land Use and Education at UConn has a helpful webinar with examples of the uses and costs of permeable pavements.  This video also provides tips about installation and maintenance of pervious paving at http://clear.uconn.edu/webinars/CLEARseries/permeable_pavements.htm

Along with reducing storm runoff, these permeable areas recharge the groundwater that refills streams and lakes during dry times.  Putting stormwater in the ground also helps sustain aquatic life by cooling and cleansing it before it reaches brooks and ponds.

For more details about the benefits of pervious paving, visit the EPA Soak Up The Rain website at http://www.epa.gov/region1/soakuptherain/learnmore.html#PermeablePavement