Thursday, April 11, 2013

The True Costs of Maintenance

A beautiful looking (and functioning!) rain garden.
By Nicole Soderholm, Green Corps Intern

RWMWD is partnering with the cities of Maplewood and Little Canada this summer to conduct a pilot program for rain garden maintenance.

The project will include two designated pilot “sites” –the
Maplewood ‘Living Streets’ project located near Stillwater Road and Minnehaha Avenue, and 62 additional rain gardens installed by the City of Little Canada. We will be collecting data on time spent and materials used to perform routine rain garden maintenance on a large scale. We hope to use this data to estimate an average annual cost of maintenance per rain garden. We will then be able to present this information to cities so they can factor these maintenance costs in to their future budgets. 
A rain garden in need of a little TLC.

After reviewing several options, we have contracted with Minnesota Native Landscapes, a local landscaping company that is experienced in rain garden maintenance. Throughout the summer, a work crew will make several visits to the approximately 95 rain gardens involved in the pilot program. RWMWD will work with Minnesota Native Landscapes to compile specific data on time spent and materials used at each rain garden.

For residents in Little Canada and Maplewood that this pilot program may affect, the District would like to stress that while all maintenance costs will be covered this summer, the pilot program is temporary. We encourage residents with rain gardens included in the pilot program to continue with regular routine maintenance.

We look forward to this project and the valuable information it could bring! For more information on the pilot program, please contact Paige Ahlborg (paige.ahlborg[at]

If you are looking to build your own rain garden or looking for some help with one already in your yard, there are free classes you should know about!  Go to the News & Events tab on this blog (or link to the information on our website here) for more information.

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