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Southside Pride: Raingardens take the city back to nature

Southside Pride: Raingardens take the city back to nature

Now that the snow is gone, small, oval “I am a raingarden” signs are once again visible next to landscaped, shallow indentations in many neighborhood yards. No one can help but notice that raingardens exist. But not everyone knows how raingardens are designed nor how they function. And, almost no one knows (except avid Southside Pride readers who remember everything they read) that all raingardens on the west side of Powderhorn Park are part of a study investigating urban watershed issues.

The person who can tell you everything you ever wanted to know about raingardens is Michael Keenan, lead landscape designer at Metroblooms, the nonprofit organization coordinating the Powderhorn study.

Keenan says, “A Raingarden is a flat-bottomed, bowl-shaped depression on a lawn or backyard space. It is strategically placed to collect, store and infiltrate storm water runoff that’s generated from impervious surfaces such as roofs and driveways.”

He explains that Raingardens are not there for looks, though they can be beautiful. The function of a Raingarden is the protection of water ecosystems...

...Keenan explains the Powderhorn Raingarden study. “Our project is comparing and testing the quality and quantity of water that flows from two distinct sub-watersheds into Powderhorn Lake. Last summer we installed 122 Raingardens in the west side watershed, and we’re installing more this year. Now we’re testing the difference that can make.”

In other words, the study is comparing the flow from the west side of the lake, where the Raingardens are, with the east side’s flow, which is unfiltered by Raingardens

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