The Bay of Quinte Remedial Action Plan (BQRAP) and its partners are restoring and preserving water quality in the Bay of Quinte with the Urban Stewardship Program.
The program is a way to get rain gardens installed in urban centres as an inexpensive way to manage stormwater runoff from peoples yards.
The rain gardens are to be placed between stormwater runoff sources such as roofs, driveways, parking lots and runoff destinations such as streets and storm sewers.
A rain garden is a shallow depression in the ground that can be planted with any combination of shrubs, grasses or flowers. The plants and soil work together allowing the water to soak into the ground and filter pollutants, just as they do in nature. Besides helping water quality and reducing runoff, rain garden plants provide habitat for beneficial insects and wildlife.
“A rain garden is a landscaped feature that replaces an area of your lawn in order to collect the stormwater (rain and melted snow) that runs off your patio, roof and driveway,” stated Sarah Midlane-Jones, combinations specialist with the BQRAP. “Along the way this stormwater runoff collects a host of pollutants like, fertilizers, pesticides, pet waste, road salt, and litter. This runoff then washes into the storm drain on the street. Did you know that most stormwater runoff drains into the nearest body of water – untreated? Rain gardens are easy to build and maintain, even if you don’t have a green thumb. Rain gardens are not only functional but beautiful and an asset to your homes landscaping plan.”
As an incentive to help build a rain garden, the BQRAP is offering a grant of up to $750 towards the purchase of native plants, soil, compost, gravel, mulch, contractors and rental equipment to establish a functioning rain garden. To be eligible residents need to live in Belleville, Quinte West, Napanee, Deseronto, or Picton.
“As the rain garden program covers the urban areas around the Bay of Quinte (Trenton, Belleville, Deseronto, Napanee, Picton) we are hoping to complete five – 10 rain gardens this year,” Midlane-Jones added.
Among the benefits of a rain garden are: providing habitat for wildlife, such as birds, butterflies, and bees, help protect streams, rivers, and lakes from pollutants carried by stormwater runoff, help to protect communities from flooding, increasing the amount of water entering the ground, which re-charges aquifers and beautifying yards and neighbourhoods.
“I would encourage people to talk to our stewardship technicians and they will walk them through the process,” said Midlane-Jones. “They will also do a site visit to help with locating of the rain garden and to answer any questions. All the information about the program and the application form are on our website.”
For more information and to find the application form visit https://www.bqrap.ca/get-involved-learn/urban-stewardship/