Rain Gardens and Constructed Wetlands

A constructed wetland is an artificial wetland created to provide as new or restored habitats for native and migratory wildlife. Benefits include disposal of storm water runoff and wastewater, sewage treatment, or even an aesthetically pleasing view. House values in the proximity of a constructed wetland increase by up to 28%. This is because after urbanization processes, local water sources are very limited. Studies show that after urbanization, porous grounds can be lost, letting in less natural recharge into aquifers. Subsequently this can cause a decrease in fresh drinking water availability.

A rain garden is a type of constructed wetland where a small depression is dug into the ground, filled with plants and grasses that acts as a filter for excessive runoff. Rain gardens are typically used to prevent runoff water from entering sewage systems or creating erosion problems. Hidden benefits include the recharging of underground aquifers, and the water captured in rain gardens can be used to water plants in a fruit or vegetable garden, or even supplying a habitat for beneficial insects or an area for birds to bathe. Rain gardens also help to break up pollutants to make them non harmful. Having a rain garden at a few houses in a neighborhood can break up the combination of harmful pollutants from reaching drinking water, overall providing a healthier environment for you, and your community.

In 2013, students at Scituate High School collaborated with the Northern Rhode Island Conservation District to construct a demonstration rain garden in front of the town hall. We hope that this beautiful project will convince others that rain gardens would be good additional t their property to help reduce the amount of nutrients and pollutants that get picked up by runoff and brought into the reservoir in that area. Below are some pictures from our rain garden installation.

Works Cited

"Constructed Treatmeant Wetlands." EPA Wetlands. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Mar. 2014. <http://www.epa.gov/owow/wetlands/pdf/ConstructedW.pdf>.

"Constructed Wetlands:  The Economic Benefits of Runoff Controls." - InterNACHI. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Mar. 2014. <http://www.nachi.org/constructedwetlands.htm>.

"Why Plant a Rain Garden?." Rain Garden Network. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Mar. 2014. <http://www.raingardennetwork.com/whyplantraingarden.htm>.