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A rain garden is a shallow depression planted with a variety of flowers, shrubs, and grasses that "don't mind getting their feet wet." Rain gardens help soak up rainwater from streets, downspouts, driveways, and sidewalks, while protecting local waterways. When planted with the right types of plants, rain gardens also attract birds, butterflies, and bees.
When rain gardens are located in a critical drinking water aquifer recharge area, these gardens are lined and an underdrain collects the treated stormwater and sends it to the City's stormwater pipe system in adjacent streets.
Stormwater flowing along the curb flows through a 'curb cut' into the depressed area of the rain garden. The stormwater runoff is filtered by the soil and plants. In most storm events, this water soaks into the ground. In larger events the water pools until it eventually overflows back to the gutter.
A typical permeable pavement has an open-graded surface over an underlying stone recharge bed. The water drains through the permeable asphalt and into the stone bed, then, slowly, infiltrates into the soil. If contaminants were on the surface at the time of the storm, they are swept along with the rainfall through the stone bed. From there they infiltrate into the sub-base so that they are subjected to natural processes that cleanse water.
Permeable asphalt offers a powerful tool in the toolbox for stormwater management. In the natural environment, rainfall sinks into soil, filters through it, and eventually finds its way to streams, ponds, lakes, and underground aquifers. The built environment, by way of contrast, seals the surface. Rainwater and snowmelt become runoff which may contribute to flooding. Contaminants are washed from surfaces directly into waterways without undergoing the filtration that nature intended.
Amending a soil with compost increases the soil's permeability and water holding capacity, thereby delaying and often reducing the peak stormwater run-off flow rate, and decreasing irrigation water requirements. Amending soils will also enhance the lawn's long-term aesthetics while reducing fertilizer and pesticide requirements.
A green roof is a roofing system that uses vegetation to absorb rain water and reduce heat reflection.
Tree preservation, quite simply, is protecting trees from damage or removal during construction. Tree preservation involves careful site planning to avoid compaction of soil around tree roots that may extend well away from the trunk of a tree.
Trees have a great deal of financial value, from increased property values to various environmental benefits. Trees stabilize the soil and control water pollution, yield advantageous microclimatic effects which conserve energy, preserve and foster air quality by removing carbon dioxide (C02) and airborne pollutants, abate visual and noise pollution, and provide a natural habitat for wildlife. They also provide welcome shade to people and add color and interest to the urban landscape. Trees provide a psychological boost to urbanites. People are generally more satisfied with their neighborhoods if there are trees. Workers are more productive and hospital patients recover faster if they can see trees outside their windows. The benefits of established trees in our communities are subtle and often overlooked.