St. Paul, Minnesota : Rain garden captures runoff and attracts residents to improve water quality and promote stewardship in their neighborhood.
. . . . . . . . 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 project possible.
. . . . . . . . . Contact:   Amy Middleton, Lower Phalen Creek Project, 1182 River Road, Dresser, WI 54009, 715-483-1414, . . Carol Carey, Lower Phalen Creek Project Steering Committee, 651-774-0218 . . Stormwater Strategies
Community Responses to Runoff Pollution. . Chapter 12, Low Impact Development
National Resources Defense Council. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Rain Gardens