The City of Lansing?s rain gardens on Michigan Avenue and Washington Square were recently chosen to be part of a new EPA case study. Many "impressive submissions" were received from all over the country, but Lansing was among the 12 projects selected by EPA.
Each case study will document the innovation, quality, implementation activities and institutional arrangements that led to a positive outcome on the project. The intention is to provide guidance for other communities wishing to replicate the results.
EPA defines "Smart Growth Streets" as roadways designed and operated to support compact communities while promoting least-polluting transportation performance and preserving environmental resources within and beyond the right of way. To learn more, visit: www.smartgrowthonline.org.
The rain gardens along Michigan Avenue are not just beautiful, they help protect our rivers. How is this possible? The gardens are actually engineered bioretention areas (commonly known as rain gardens) that can help remove pollutants from stormwater before it is released to the river.
Stormwater flows on a portion of Michigan Avenue now drain to the rain gardens, where native plants and engineered soil absorb pollutants. The treated stormwater that is not absorbed by the plants will be discharged to the river through a drain that runs under the gardens.
Construction of the rain gardens was completed in 2008 in conjunction with sewer separation work and provided streetscape beautification elements such as brick pavers, benches, and kiosks. Interpretive educational signage is posted in the gardens, which will draw visitors interested in this urban solution to stormwater pollution from near and far.
As intriguing as these rain gardens are, everyone can easily prevent stormwater pollution. Here are three easy ways:
- never dump anything down a storm drain;
- never fertilize before it rains; and
- wash your car at a commercial car wash or on your lawn.
Remember, only rain belongs in the storm drain!
To see photos of the rain gardens, click here (PDF, 965KB)
Links of Interest
For more information on this project, please contact the City's consultant Anne thomas at email@example.com.