Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Conservation heroes honored at annual recognition dinner

Glass artist Eric Sommers designed this year's Watershed Excellence Awards based on the structure of a water molecule.

During our annual recognition dinner held Nov. 8 at Keller Golf Course in Maplewood, we recognized several local citizens and conservation professionals for their outstanding efforts in the watershed. The evening was also a great chance to connect with dozens of friends and partners who continue to make positive contributions in our community.

Here are this year’s Watershed Excellence Awards recipients, followed by photos of other attendees who helped make this a special night.

Watershed Excellence Awards

Mark Gernes
Roger Lake Stewardship Excellence Award
Award recipient Mark Gernes(left) with presenter
Dana Larsen-Ramsay. Photo by Anita Jader.

Mark Gernes has been a RWMWD volunteer for 24 years, contributing scientific expertise and enthusiasm to countless watershed projects. As a research scientist for the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, a former state park naturalist and Maplewood resident, he brings a wealth of plant and animal knowledge, monitoring expertise, and dedication to improving the natural environment. He is a current member of the District’s Citizen Advisory Commission and serves as co-chair of its LEAP and Environmental Forum teams.

Virginia Gaynor
Outstanding Partner Award

Award recipient Ginny Gaynor (left) with presenter
Mark Gernes. Photo by Anita Jader.
Virginia (Ginny) Gaynor, natural resources coordinator for the City of Maplewood, has successfully merged city projects and District goals through her vision, support and open communication. She is instrumental in the preservation and  restoration of open spaces including Fish Creek Natural Area and Gladstone Savanna. She has championed new conservation techniques such as using compost bags for shoreline stabilization at Kohlman Creek and a reinforced turf parking lot at Bruentrup Heritage Farm. A creative leader in rain garden design, Ginny has developed innovative prototypes and led many workshops.

Ann Hutchinson (left) accepted her award in costume
with presenter Sage Passi. Photo by Anita Jader.
Ann Hutchinson
Youth Engagement Award

Ann Hutchinson, lead naturalist at Maplewood Nature Center, is a creative leader in engaging youth in watershed, habitat and outdoor learning projects. Since the early 2000's, she and her team of naturalists have engaged hundreds of local students in watershed topics by using theater, puppets and outdoor experiences like rain garden planting. Ann recently partnered with RWMWD to offer pollinator and watershed lessons for students in St. Paul, North St. Paul and Maplewood, along with service learning opportunities at Southwood Nature Preserve, Fish Creek and Beaver Lake.

Anita Jader
Conservation Champion Award

Award recipient Anita Jader, District Administrator
Tina Cartsens and presenter Michele Hanson.
Photographer Anita Jader has helped to raise awareness of native landscaping in the watershed, and she has photographed dozens of RWMWD events including the annual awards dinner and WaterFest. Anita and her husband Scott were pioneers in restoring their shoreline on Kohlman Lake, using native plants to prevent erosion and provide pollinator habitat. She has generously shared private access to the lake for carp management and other District projects, and she actively supports invasive buckthorn and garlic mustard removal in the watershed.

Cathy Troendle
Community Catalyst Award
Award recipient Cathy Troendle (left) with presenter
Karen Wold. Photo by Anita Jader.
Cathy Troendle is a strong leader in restoring Southwood Nature Preserve in North St. Paul as a valuable natural area and educational resource for the community. She has volunteered thousands of hours to remove invasive species, organize prescribed burns, grow plants, coordinate volunteers, raise funds and implement the preserves’ management plan. Cathy organizes an annual Prairie Days festival, leads classroom lessons and field days for local students, and has been active in the Master Naturalist program for the past 10 years.

Debbie Meister
WaterFest Champion Award
Award recipient Debbie Meister (left) with presenter
Linda Neilson. Photo by Anita Jader.
Debbie Meister has been the driving force and creative impetus behind the success of WaterFest, RWMWD’s annual community event, for many years. Thanks to her collaborative leadership, WaterFest has become a rich venue to learn about water, natural resources and taking action in the watershed. Beginning months in advance, Debbie engages cities and partner agencies, solicits sponsorships, coordinates exhibitors and volunteers, and promotes the festival to local media. WaterFest 2018 will be held June 2 at Phalen Regional Park.

Faces in the crowd

Enjoy a few candid shots of this year's recognition dinner captured by Anita Jader, Conservation Champion and our go-to photographer for District events.

The watershed community celebrates at Keller Golf Course.

Board members Cliff Aichinger and Dianne Ward.

Master Water Steward Chris Strong and her husband Richard showed off their
door prizes: buckthorn walking sticks created by Carol Gernes and Debbie Barnes.

Youth Engagement Award recipient Ann Hutchinson fittingly donned a heron
costume she uses to teach young people about watershed conservation.

Jordan and Sarah Wein of Carp Solutions and Capitol Region Watershed District, respectively,
brought their son Cooper (the evening's youngest guest).

L-R: Sherry Brooks, retired Farnsworth Elementary science specialist, Henriette Bissoy,
L'Etoile du Nord science specialist, and Ed Shinbach, Master Gardener school coordinator.

Board member Jen Oknich looked on as her daughter received a door prize from intern Matt Doneaux.

Artist Eric Sommers (left) displays Mark Gernes' Watershed Excellence Award. Eric crafted
this year's awards using glass, white marble and cedar at his studio in Minneapolis.

Ramsey County Master Gardener Sally Prouty was the lucky winner
of this wooden birdhouse handmade and donated by Dave Nelson.

Announcing the arrival of twins – Woodbury rain gardens

by Sage Passi

Rain Gardens, like births, are harbors for crests and hurdles, heroines and heroes. This birth analogy surfaced in an article I wrote to describe Woodbury’s first school rain garden created at Crosswinds Arts and Sciences ten years ago. Woodbury Elementary School’s latest project is the “sixth child” in our most recent series of school rain gardens.

These two rain gardens emerged last month as the final demonstration sites in Clean Water Legacy and District cost share funded school projects, which were initiated in 2014 to treat runoff from large impervious expanses of parking lots, driveways and roads adjacent to schools in our district.

Fourth graders “rock it” by planting prairie dropseed on the rain garden
berm on School Drive. Across the street is the second rain garden.

Preceding Woodbury Elementary in this installation process were Maplewood Middle School, Weaver Elementary and Harmony Learning Center rain gardens planted in the fall of 2016. The next projects at Roseville Area Middle School and Central Park Elementary were completed only a week or two before Woodbury in early October 2017.

The rain gardens in Woodbury are HUGE. They needed to be built to a scale that would allow them to capture runoff from such a large drainage area.

The Woodbury Elementary and Middle School campus areas that produce runoff to Battle Creek Lake
include the blue areas (2.5 acres of impervious surfaces) and the green areas (5.5 acres) that
are considered semi-impervious since much of the turf is compacted and contributes runoff.

Strong school advocates

Woodbury Elementary was granted a letter grade of “A” in a watershed district-wide public school assessment process and ranked as a top priority because it had high ratings for potential stormwater benefits, constructability and educational value.

The people involved in this project are equally deserving of high marks.

The first hero to emerge was Mike Vogel. For the first two years after our assessment, this potential project seemed to be stalled, despite our initial efforts to pitch the idea to the school district. We just didn’t seem to be getting a green light until Mike was hired as director of facilities and construction management in School District 837. Then everything changed.

When we met at the school in mid-November of 2016 with Mike and Connha Classon, the school’s principal, they were both receptive to the idea of a project on their site. Unlike our other five school projects, this one required presentations at several school board meetings. But with Mike at the helm, it went like clockwork, even when we had to go through two votes to get approval.

Connha became a strong advocate for the rain gardens. She believed in the viability of this project, helped us coordinate our efforts with the teachers, gave a positive pitch at the school board meeting and arranged for press coverage during the planting. Her affirmation made a big difference!

Fourth graders contemplate the amount of impervious parking lot
and roadway surfaces that will drain to their new rain gardens.

All hands on deck

With Woodbury we started by engaging fourth grade classes in the fall of 2016 to the spring 2017 with a variety of educational activities with help from Master Water Stewards, Master Gardeners and Washington Conservation District staff. Fourth graders from this school had been attending the Metro Children’s Water Festival for the past three or more years, so we knew there was some interest in water issues. But this event had been our only previous contact with students from this school.

The fourth grade teachers rose to the occasion and jumped into the lessons and activities we had in store for them! See the March issue of the Ripple Effect for a description of the previous school year’s lessons.

In the spring and fall of 2017, we added lessons for the Woodbury Middle School sixth and seventh graders since this school is located next to the elementary school, and we needed all hands on deck for planting. They expressed a strong desire to help with the project, too. Kudos to their science team for stepping up to the plate and getting their students involved in the project!

Melissa Habeck’s seventh grade science students kick off the planting marathon by planting native shrubs on the hillside.

Months of preparation came together when we teamed up those 17 classrooms (564 students) and their 10 teachers, teaching assistants and parents with Washington Conservation District staff, Washington and Ramsey County Master Gardeners, Master Water Stewards, Maplewood Nature Center naturalists, Watershed District staff and interns. The true community value of projects like these culminates in that realm of team-building, relationship bonding and joint experiential learning.

Wrestling with a rootbound pot is sometimes the only way to free a plant.

This student knew exactly how to loosen this plant from its pot.
He admitted he had a lot of experience planting prior to the project.

I believe it was well worth the long wait to position this Woodbury project at the end of the series. As a watershed district, we needed to be ready to take on a project of this magnitude, and we had certainly learned a lot during previous projects that we could apply here.

As someone who started out designing and building “baby size” home rain gardens alongside Ramsey County and Washington County Master Gardeners, I have come to the conclusion that no matter what the size and the complexity of a project, there are always surprises, challenges and amazing high points. Of course, it’s all good and part of the birthing process!

Meet our team!

The people are what make these projects come alive. Engaging students and partners in the planting, for me, is always the frosting on the cake. But the planting process is also the measure of our true grit! Here are some of the people who helped by hauling equipment, working with students and performing countless other tasks needed to get 1,433 native plants in the ground.

Back (L-R): Sage Passi, Scott Hanson, Stephanie Wang, Carmen Johnson, Anna Barker,
Angie Hong and Judy Koster. Front (L-R): Konnie Her and Lauren Haydon.

Angie Hong, Washington Conservation District, takes a moment to pause for the camera. 

Lauren Haydon (center), Washington Conservation District, helps break through
the compacted berm so that students can plant their gallon pots of prairie dropseed.

Judy Koster, Washington County Master Gardener, helped with the planting all three days.
When I thanked her afterwards by email she responded by saying, “It was fun working with you
and your team. You can call on me as a volunteer for other local projects.”

Anna Barker, Washington County Master Gardener and Master Water Steward, recruited her
fellow Master Gardeners for the project and was a great support person who worked with the classes. 

Five Washington County Master Gardeners (Anna Barker, Jody Koster, Carmen Johnson, Lisa Moran and Laura Opsahl) stepped up to the plate to help on the project. I was thrilled to have their involvement on multiple days because there had been a long hiatus in their involvement with the District over the past ten years (except for Anna B) as their organization experienced a lot of transitions.

L-R: Lisa Moran and Carmen Johnson, Washington County Master Gardeners, and Angie Hong.

Many years ago teams of Washington Master Gardeners worked with us on several demonstration home rain gardens as we were learning the process of design and installation. They also helped us at Crosswinds School. So getting them involved again was a giant leap forward. We also had the great assistance of a Ramsey County Master Gardener, Don Vegoe.

One of our Master Water Stewards, Stephanie Wang, provided a high level of support in both the set-up and the installation. She transported equipment, assisted volunteers with planting, providing three days of labor and lots of morale building! Another great duo of support were Maplewood seasonal staff Konnie Her and Kayla Wolfe. Thank you to Dana Boyle for meeting me out at the site the night before (in the dark) to install the signs for our planting areas.

Stephanie Wang, Woodbury Master Water Steward, teases the roots of a plant the students will put in the ground.

Scott Hanson, a parent volunteer, would prove to be a champion during the three-day planting. We couldn’t have done the project without his dedication. He showed up early each day for set-up,  hauled the shovels home every night so we didn’t have to leave them onsite, helped students with planting, assisted with clean-up and watering of the trees each day, hauled water buckets so the kids could water their plants and recruited his wife for the project. His fourth-grade daughter was one of the students who helped in the garden.

Scott Hanson, Woodbury parent and volunteer extraordinaire,
protects newly planted Joe Pye weed with several stakes.

Tracy Leavenworth kept up the pace of providing orientation demonstrations for each of the 17 classes and assisted us with layout and coordination each day.

Tracy Leavenworth demonstrates how to plant.

Chris O’Brien, our communications coordinator, assisted with the planting and used our Go-Pro Camera to capture the time-lapse video below.

We appreciated Chad Snuggerud, school district grounds foreman, who appeared each morning with a 250-gallon container of water we used for watering the plants and trees and picked it up at night. He even showed up for our Smart Salting workshop in late November. Chad rocks!

Thanks also to Barr Engineering staff, especially Matt Kumka, for design and project management, Watershed Project Manager Paige Alhborg for her oversight,  the contractor SunRam and the behind-the-scenes planting and maintenance contractors, Wetland Habitats and Minnesota Natives.

Paige Ahlborg, watershed project manager, assists students with planting.

Working with the students and their teachers is where the rubber meets the road, so to speak, and the purpose of this project rings loud and strong. The true affirmation of our work comes when you open up the possibilities for students to become empowered and they get to express the joy of digging in the dirt, handling the plants and working together to solve community issues.

Thanks to Wetland Habitats for installing interpretive signs at each of our six rain garden projects.

Our many thanks to the teachers and their students who participated in these projects. Fourth grade: Nicky Thompson, Melissa Craig, Alana Hansen and Zach Hendrickson. Fifth grade teachers: Ali Flaata, Burt Roberts and Patti Diamond. At the Middle School level, science teachers: Ashley Schultz, David Rafferty and Melissa Habeck. We couldn’t have done it without you.

We'd like to acknowledge and thank the schools we have worked with on these projects for being models to the community and providing us with places to foster unique educational and watershed stewardship opportunities.

Although these first large-scale projects are now complete, we will continue to identify locations to install best management practices on school grounds in the coming years. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Heard the buzz about landscaping for clean water?

Landscape Ecology Awards Program (LEAP) winners recognized

The clubhouse at Keller Golf Course was a hive of activity the evening of November 8 as Ramsey-Washington Metro Watershed District board members, staff, partners and volunteers gathered for our annual recognition dinner. Included in this celebration were people who have made landscaping decisions that directly benefit wildlife and water resources – winners of the Landscape Ecology Awards Program (LEAP).

LEAP celebrates owners of private residences as well as public and commercial properties who use good management practices to benefit water quality and natural resources. The District's citizen-volunteer LEAP Team manages this program and conducts all judging. We awarded our first group of stewards in 2002. Since then, 98 sites have been celebrated by the program including 70 private residences, five schools, seven businesses, five churches and 11 public properties.

When the LEAP team visited this year’s award-winning sites in August, they all had one thing in common – an abundance of pollinators. There has been a good deal of discussion about the challenges faced by like birds, bees, butterflies, moths and other pollinators that help keep our landscapes lush and blooming. Among these problems is a lack of plants providing nectar and pollen. It turns out that many of the land care choices that protect clean water also provide habitat for hungry pollinators – a double win!

Five outstanding properties received the LEAP accolade this year. Our congratulations and thanks go out to the winners. Here’s a peek at what we found in these lovely landscapes!

Karen Eckman – Shoreview

Karen’s project was inspired by the need to address water problems at her home. After one storm, her son’s bedroom flooded with 6 inches of water on the floor. Karen began by installing her first rain garden about 10 years ago. Now most of the runoff from her yard (plus part of the neighbor’s) stays on her property and out of Lake Judy.

L-R: LEAP co-chair Dana Larsen-Ramsay, award recipient Karen
Eckman and LEAP co-chair Mark Gernes. Photo by Anita Jader.

With the success of the original project, Karen has expanded to include other native plantings. Her yard has an impressive diversity of over 90 species of wildflowers. 
She appreciates that they attract bees, butterflies and birds for lots of photo opportunities. We do, too!

Rob and Elizabeth Reinhart – Roseville

Rob and Elizabeth’s long shoreline on Lake Owasso was eroding and as Rob reports, “not super pretty.” He and Elizabeth wanted something nicer. Although Rob was a bit of a skeptic about native shoreland restoration, the Reinharts decided to try this technique to improve their shore. Working with a contractor, they placed blue flag iris, cardinal flower, joe pyeweed, blazing star and other wildflowers in masses, to incorporate a bit of traditional garden structure into the planting.

LEAP winners Elizabeth and Rob Reinhart. Photo by Anita Jader.

Today, their 110-foot shoreline is stable and attractive, providing color and habitat throughout the season. Rob has been converted and is now an advocate for the multiple benefits shoreline restoration provides. And if you are ever in search of monarch butterflies in Roseville, look no further than the Reinhart’s shoreline.

Janet and Harvey Bartz – White Bear Lake

Janet is a former employee at the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency with longstanding interest in environmental issues. She and Harvey knew they wanted to do a shoreline project from the time they first purchased their home on Heiner Pond in White Bear Lake.

L-R: LEAP co-chair Mark Gernes, award recipients Janet and Harvey Bartz,
and LEAP co-chair Dana Larsen-Ramsay. Photo by Anita Jader.

With help from a contractor, they began restoration work in 2014. The original plan called for planting part of the shore into native buffer and leaving part as turf grass. After a season of what Janet characterized as “excessive goose visits” to their lawn, they decided to expand the buffer in 2015. Today they appreciate the geese at a comfortable distance, while welcoming visits from songbirds and swallowtail butterflies.

Teresa and Mike Radcliffe – North St. Paul

Mike and Teresa’s North St. Paul home has a yard with a significant slope. When they decided to take on the challenge of infiltrating rainwater on their property, a two-tiered rain garden design was suggested to work with this topography. The final design also included piping the downspouts underground directly to the upper basin.

L-R: LEAP co-chair Dana Larsen-Ramsay, award recipients Teresa and
Mike Radcliffe, and LEAP co-chair Mark Gernes. Photo by Anita Jader.

The project is a great success; their lush rain garden now handles all stormwater from half of the roof and yard. In additional to helping to prevent water pollution, the rain garden provides wonderful opportunities for their five children (ages 9 months to 10 years) to learn about nature. This summer the family was able to observe the metamorphosis of monarch caterpillars into butterflies, hosted by the plants they provided! They are now interested in expanding the garden into the other side of the property, and pursuing a joint rain garden project with the next-door neighbors.

Mike and Michele Majeski – Maplewood

When the LEAP team pulled up to the Majeski’s Maplewood home, we let out a collective gasp of admiration. The dramatic slope covered with an abundance of native prairie plants is truly eye-catching. Upon closer inspection, the wooded backyard is equally impressive; a rolling expanse of native trees, shrubs and understory plants like sarsaparilla with an amazing absence of the usual invasive buckthorn and garlic mustard.

L-R: LEAP co-chair Mark Gernes, award recipients Michele and Mike Majeski,
and LEAP co-chair Dana Larsen-Ramsay. Photo by Anita Jader.

Mike and Michele began their landscaping project by removing buckthorn from that backyard woodland – two truckloads! They then went to work on the front yard. Step one was removing and replacing the existing ornamental plants and shrubs with native varieties. They continued by removing sections of lawn in subsequent seasons and replacing it with prairie. The latest expansion of the prairie, this spring, was inspired when the family learned that their area is a hot-spot for the endangered rusty patched bumble bee. Although they did not spot any endangered bees in their yard this year, they did collect a whopping 67 Monarch eggs and raise them into butterflies.

In addition to their wonderful color and clean-water friendly nature, another thing these landscapes had in common was the presence of pollinators. Every site boasted an abundance of birds, bees and butterflies during our brief visit. If you are interested in providing a home for these vital wildlife, we can help! Check out our cost-share grant program at

Monday, November 20, 2017

100 rain barrels in 48 hours

by Sage Passi

100 rain barrels waiting for distribution in Shoreview
for Paul Gardner's Master Water Steward capstone project in July.

Paul Gardner, a Master Water Steward from Shoreview, developed his 2017 Master Water Stewards capstone project to test drive an efficient means of equipping residents in his city with rain barrels while providing education about their value, installation and maintenance.

Paul implemented his project in July, but I wasn’t able to get out and actually see him in action until much later. In the meantime, he developed a report on the project and has been sharing his analysis in a number of different venues including a recent Master Water Stewards graduation and our annual recognition dinner.

Paul with two of his rain barrels he
installed at his own home several years ago.

In late fall, I followed up with Paul to learn more about his project and to meet a Shoreview resident who purchased a rain barrel through this special program. But before we drove over to Jenny Wood’s house together to see what she was doing to weatherize her rain barrel for the winter, I stopped off at Paul’s house to see what he has already done in his own yard to prevent runoff and conserve water.

Paul and his wife are recent Landscape Ecology Awards Program (LEAP) winners. They received a LEAP award in 2016 for their landscaping, rain garden and rain barrels. He is a former member of the Minnesota House of Representative in District 53A from 2007-2010, a current Ramsey Conservation District supervisor and was the executive director of the Recycling Association of Minnesota until 2006. He was also a member and chair of Shoreview's Environmental Quality Committee for five years. He is passionate about recycling, energy conservation, reducing runoff and conserving water. 

The Gardner's rain garden.

Paul took the time to show me around his yard and pointed out six rain barrels he has on his property. He showed off one of the diverters he installed that allows him to choose where the water is directed in his yard.

Paul's diversion system to direct water in his yard where it is needed.

We waited until Jenny was due to be home from work and then drove over to get some perspective from her about her involvement in the program. Meanwhile, darkness was falling all around us and so was drizzle mixed with snow!

Paul and Jenny Woods, a Shoreview rain barrel recipient.

Paul and Jenny got down to business right away turning her rain barrel upside down since Jenny had already drained it for the winter. I asked her how she felt about purchasing and installing a rain barrel in her yard. She was very enthusiastic and said she had interested her neighbors in the possibility of installing a rain barrel as well. She also expressed interest in creating a rain garden in her yard to address runoff issues.

Paul and Jenny prepare to winterize her rain barrel.

Jenny getting ready to turn the rain barrel upside down
so that it does not crack in the winter cold.
Later I caught up with Paul at the graduation ceremony for this year’s Master Water Stewards. He had printed out the slides from his PowerPoint and gathered people around him to explain what he had learned from his project. Below is Paul's summary of the concepts behind his project, his findings and conclusions. 

Paul at the Master Water Steward graduation.

The basic concepts Paul used to develop his project:
  • Rain barrels are among the simplest and cheapest best management practices for stormwater volume reduction, but they have less impact.
  • A typical rain barrel can manage up to 1,400 gallons per year.
  • Homes using groundwater for water supply can reduce their use for outdoor purposes.
Within his project, Paul posed two questions:
  • If we distribute rain barrels to 100 households, could we get five of those households to consider a rain garden in future years for bigger impact?
  • What is the collective impact of 100 barrels — is it equal to a few rain gardens?

Paul's targeted rain barrel distribution area in southern Shoreview.

Because there is limited District staff time to organize and manage sales of rain barrels, train residents on their use, monitor and evaluate their installation, or efficiently handle small money transactions through the cost-share program, Paul proposed this:
  • Target several neighborhoods in a subwatershed.
  • Use existing Recycling Association of Minnesota “truckload” sales and distribution program for transactions and delivery.
  • Use cost share dollars to subsidize distribution to targeted watershed.
  • Master Water Stewards provide outreach, education, training and evaluation.
Paul arranged with the Recycling Association of Minnesota (RAM) to take rain barrels orders  online, coordinated a distribution event at Shoreview Public Works in July, and arranged for the sales and event to be promoted through the city’s WaterSmart participant list-serve.

Here are the details of his process and his outcomes.
  • The City of Shoreview emailed 1,600 residents with a link to the RAM ordering page.
  • 98 rain barrels sold out in 48 hours online to 72 customers (some bought multiples).
  • Almost all barrels were picked up at Shoreview Public Works on July 15 in three hours. 
  • He followed up with a few no-shows at the sale and delivered those barrels.
  • Six people asked about cost share opportunities for rain gardens and other best management practices.

Using Survey Monkey, Paul learned that three-quarters of the people who purchased barrels through this special promotion were unaware that RWMWD offers cost-share funds for storm water best management practices. Paul is following up with providing cost-share information for them. He also offered installation support for those who requested it and will be tracking participants over the next year to ensure that the barrels get installed and are being used properly. 

A proud rain barrel owner in Shoreview.

Some of the lessons Paul said he learned:
  • Having a targeted email list from the city is a big time saver.
  • Twin Cities area Master Water Stewards can partner with Recycling Association of Minnesota in the future anywhere in the greater metro area.
  • $20-30 is the right price in order to get highest level of participation; expect $50-65 subsidy per barrel.
  • The subsidy for 100 barrels gets you about as much water treatment and reuse as a few rain gardens.
  • An estimated 10 percent of the purchasers will need some help with setup.
  • RAM partnership requires no storage, no cash transactions and no transportation.
When he asked the residents why they wanted a rain barrel he received the following answers:
  • 41 percent wanted to conserve tap water. 
  • 18 percent wanted to decrease runoff.
  • 8 percent wanted to get chemical-free water.
  • 9 percent gave various other reasons.
We’d like to thank Paul for investing his time and energy to analyze and develop a potential game plan for the efficient and productive use of rain barrels.