THUNDER BAY – EcoSuperior shares, “Every time it rains, stormwater runs off roofs and driveways, washes into the storm sewer system, and rushes straight into area streams, rivers, and Lake Superior. It carries with it a host of contaminants such as pet waste, automotive fluids, fertilizer and pesticides. One way to protect water quality from the impacts of runoff is to install a rain garden to help soak up stormwater”.
EcoSuperior, a local non-profit organization, aims to spread the word about the benefits of rain gardens. Working with the landscape architect Werner Schwar and environmental horticulturalist Tracy Rowe of Eco-logical Landscapes, they are offering a free hands-on two-part workshop on how to make a rain garden.
A rain garden is a planted or stone-covered depression that collects rainwater runoff, allowing it to soak into the ground. Planted with native species that can withstand both wet and dry conditions, a rain garden adds beauty to the landscape, enhances habitat for birds, butterflies, and beneficial insects, and helps deal with leaky basements and poor drainage.
“Dealing with stormwater wisely is not just a job for municipal planners and engineers. It is something every property owner can do,” says program coordinator Jane Oldale. “Dealing with the rain that falls in our yards in an ecologically sound manner protects our streams and our great Lake Superior, the source of our drinking water”.
The first session of the workshop, ‘Constructing a Rain Garden’, will take place on Saturday September 10th, 9 am to noon at EcoSuperior’s office – 562 Red River Road. With generous support from Lockstone Yard and Patio Centre, the workshop will include building a rain garden and installing a permeable paving pathway.
The second session of the workshop, ‘Planting a Rain Garden’ will take place the following week, Saturday September 17th, from 1 to 4 pm at The City of Thunder Bay’s Bare Point Water Treatment Plant (off Strathcona Avenue). A large rain garden has been installed there and is now ready for the final step – the planting of native shrubs and perennials.
Participants may attend either or both sessions but must register at www.ecosuperior.org or by calling 624-2140.
The ‘Rain Garden’ workshop is the third in a series of workshops that EcoSuperior is offering as part of the RAIN program, aimed at addressing residential stormwater impacts. Workshops held earlier this season included ‘How to Build a Pet Waste Digester’ and ‘Permeable Paving’. Coming up in October there will be a ‘Build a Living Roof’ workshop. The project is supported by the City of Thunder Bay Environment Division, Green Communities Canada, and the Trillium Foundation.