The City of Bellingham is working hard to keep our waterways clean. One approach is through Low Impact Development techniques like rain gardens. To help keep these rain gardens functioning properly and looking great, the City has partnered with Sustainable Connections to develop stewardship programs including Stormwater Stewards and Downtown Improvement Garden Stewards.
These stewardship programs aim to engage local businesses and community members to help maintain rain gardens that reduce pollutants headed to our bay. These rain gardens can also create attractive urban green spaces, enhance bicycle safety and help protect our investment in the piped sewer system.
Becoming a Stormwater Steward is voluntary. As a steward, you partner with the City to pick up trash, pull weeds, and make sure curb openings and overflow drains work properly. Your work will help keep dirty stormwater out of our streams and keep the streetscape attractive.
Increased development and impervious surfaces like roads, rooftops, and parking lots, are reducing the amount of water that can be absorbed by the ground and increasing the amount of pollutants that wash off these surfaces into nearby stormwater collection systems and ultimately into our rivers, lakes, streams and ocean. Contrary to popular belief, stormwater does not get diverted to a water treatment facility. Pollutants like car oils, grease and fertilizers that are common products get picked up by stormwater and literally dumped directly into our waters.
One natural way to reduce this problem is to use bio-retention facilities, commonly referred to as rain gardens. These gardens are shallow, generally flat bottomed depressions, designed to collect rainwater and allow selected plants, bacteria and soils to naturally filter and remove pollutants as they soak into the ground. Rain gardens can allow an estimated 30 percent increase in water absorption into the ground compared to conventional urban landscapes. Not only do rain gardens provide a line of defense for our waters by increasing ground water absorption and reducing stormwater pollution, but they also serve as beautiful features to the landscape.
You Can Help:
Your business can become a Stormwater Steward to provide oversight to a rain garden. Keep trash out and plants alive. The professional City maintenance staff will provide a thorough annual review and maintenance. In return, Stormwater Stewards will be recognized for their efforts to enhance our city and keep our waterways clean.
Stormwater Stewards Receive
- Campaign promotional materials such as window decals and framed certificate
- Additional marketing promotion on the Sustainable Connections website
- Orientation and training from experts on how to properly care for your rain garden
- Gardening toolkit complete with tools, gloves, reflective vest, and bucket
- Recognition by using the Stormwater Steward logo on your website, printed materials, or signage
- Satisfaction of knowing you are making a difference
Learn how you can become a Stormwater Steward! Contact Rose Lathrop for more details – firstname.lastname@example.org or 360-647-7093