Friday, June 14, 2013

Spring Cleaning

By Nicole Soderholm

Now that our field season is in full swing, it’s time for an update on RWMWD’s pilot program introduced in our April 11, 2013 post in ‘The Ripple Effect.’ This program focuses on estimating the true cost (in reference to both money and time) of maintaining rain gardens on a city-wide scale.

Minnesota Native Landscapes, whom we have contracted with for maintenance this summer, has been busy performing the necessary initial work: the spring clean-out. Spring clean-outs generally include debris removal (trash, leaf litter, etc.), sediment removal, and cutting back plants. Removing sediment and debris will allow for unrestricted flow of rainwater to the gardens –allowing them to soak up the maximum amount of water. Cutting back plants helps make room for faster, healthier growth. Generally we find that rain gardens with more plants function better and require less maintenance in the long term.

We are happy to report that we are already seeing positive changes. Take a moment to glance at the photos below to see for yourself!
A vast improvement thanks to a thorough spring clean-out and some warm weather!

This newly-installed garden is starting to show plant growth.  As the plants grow larger, they will be able to soak up more run-off that flows into this basin.

Moving forward with the pilot program, Minnesota Native Landscapes will work with RWMWD to determine plant and mulch replacement as well as erosion control on a site-by-site basis. Meanwhile, we are collecting data on time and materials required to complete this large-scale rain garden maintenance project. You can contact Paige Ahlborg (paige.ahlborg[at] if you have any questions about the pilot program.

For tips on maintaining your rain garden, check out our Rain Garden Maintenance Guide 
or attend the Watershed District's Rain Garden Rewind workshop.  The workshop takes place at Robinhood Park in Maplewood** on June 20th from 6:30-7:30pm. Register for this free workshop by contacting Shelly Melser at 651-792-7965. 
Interested in learning more about rain gardens and the role they play in protecting our lakes and streams? Visit our Rain Garden webpage for information and helpful links/resources.

**You can get to Robinhood Park by taking Hwy 36 to White Bear Avenue, going south on White Bear Ave to Frost Ave, then going west on Frost Ave for eight blocks to Manton St. You will then turn right (north) and drive/bike two blocks to Skillman Ave East. Go west on Skillman and park on street.  NOTE: Highway 36 will be closed between Highway 61 and White Bear Ave at the time of the workshop.  Come from the east or find another route to White Bear Ave and Frost Ave.

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