Rain gardens and bioretention have gained a lot of momentum in Maryland for their ability to control the quantity and quality of runoff.
Rain gardens are specially designed garden areas help to receive and store rainfall, using that moisture to nourish an oasis of interesting native plant communities reminiscent of lush stream banks and freshwater marshes.
The notion of developing rain gardens has received a lot of attention in our area recently. Local jurisdictions such as Prince Georges County, have made considerable progress in developing “bioretention” structures to control the quantity and quality of stormwater runoff, seeing rain gardens as attractive, cost- effective options to curbside storm drains and large stormwater ponds.
In essence, rain gardens function like miniature wetlands. Rainwater from paved surfaces and downspouts is directed to a low-lying garden area, which allows the water to be stored temporarily until it is absorbed by the plants and soil. Any pollutants, such as fertilizer, pesticide residue, or even oil, grease, and heavy metals from roadways, are effectively trapped by the rich organic soil and root systems in the garden, permitting clean water to slowly soak down through the soil and rocky subsoil until it “recharges.” (Undated) Publications and program of the Potomac Conservancy and the Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection.
Rewards program: Rainscapes Reward Program: http://www.ecolandscaping.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/RainScapes_Rewards_-OVERVIEW_FACTSHEET_2013.pdf
PowerPoint: Rainscapes, Door-to-Door Stormwater Management (2013) by Rainscapes Program Manager Ann English