St. Paul, Minnesota : Rain
garden captures runoff and attracts residents to improve
water quality and promote stewardship in their neighborhood.
TREATMENT SYSTEM IS A WORK OF ART
. . . . . . . . The Maria Bates
Rain Garden located in St. Paul's East Side is an excellent
example of the multiple opportunities and benefits achievable
through creative stormwater management. The Maria Bates Rain
Garden is an urban greenspace that uses low impact
development (LID) principles and practices to improve water
quality and promote environmental stewardship.
. . . . . . . . The Upper Swede Hollow Neighborhood
Association initiated the rain garden as an offshoot of their
Lower Phalen Creek Project, which aims to build watershed
stewardship through community based initiatives. One
objective was to protect a recently restored wetland area
along the Mississippi River. Another was to promote urban
beautification. The rain garden was a perfect solution,
performing multiple functions that include: controlling
surface runoff, cleaning the water, and preventing downstream
erosion while also creating desirable public open space.
. . . . . . . . .Two vegetated swales are at the core of the
garden's design. The design redirects stormwater from a
residential street to the rain garden, or bioretention cell,
through a specially installed catch basin. It captures runoff
from a one-acre drainage that is 75 percent impervious cover,
removing oil, grease, heavy metals, nutrients, and sediment.
The 900 square-foot rain garden treats runoff from the 1-inch
24-hour storm. Overflow from larger storms discharges to the
storm sewer system.
. . . . . . . . . Once captured by the rain garden, runoff
seeps into the ground, preventing polluted runoff from
traveling through storm drains to the Mississippi River. The
soils and native vegetation that make up the garden should
filter and remove pollutants in the runoff. A monitoring
program is planned for the near future. Project managers also
plan to redirect water from a nearby office building roof
into the swales once ongoing renovations are completed.
. . . . . . . . . As with many LID practices, the garden has
attractive features that extend beyond water quality
management. Designers used it as an opportunity to create
needed public open space. Local artists Chris Baeumler and
Kevin Johnson created a meandering "rainwater
walkway" through the garden that helps convey water and
illustrate the garden's function. Additional features include
an ornamental railing, benches, and a boulder that is
carved-out to capture water and inscribed with text
explaining the purpose of the garden.
. . . . . . . . . The garden also serves as an outdoor
classroom. Community Design Center of Minnesota organized
local students to help plant the garden and learn about
pollution prevention. Nearly 200 students from Dayton's Bluff
Elementary School learned about native plants, water quality,
and erosion control during a workshop at the garden that was
sponsored by the Community Design Center along with other
organizations and institutions.
. . . . . . . . . The Upper Swede Hollow Neighborhood
Association managed the Maria Bates Rain Garden project. Barr
Engineering provided the design and engineering services.
Construction and design costs totaled approximately $19,000.
Financial support from city, state, and federal agencies as
well as local and national charitable organizations made this
. . . . . . . . . Contact: Amy Middleton, Lower
Phalen Creek Project, 1182 River Road, Dresser, WI 54009,
715-483-1414, firstname.lastname@example.org . . Carol Carey, Lower Phalen Creek
Project Steering Committee, 651-774-0218 . . http://www.nrdc.org/water/pollution/storm/chap12.asp Stormwater Strategies
Community Responses to Runoff Pollution. . Chapter 12, Low
National Resources Defense Council. . . http://www.nrdc.org . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . Rain Gardens