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The Rain Garden Trail

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July 16th, 2013 Comments Off on The Rain Garden Trail

Do you ever feel overwhelmed by all of this talk and information about using native plants and rain gardens in your own yard?  You may wonder how to choose which plants and materials are right for your taste, your budget, and your yard.  Wouldn’t it be nice if you could get a feel for your options and preferences by just taking a walk through a native plant and rain garden right here in our community?

Friends of the Lake is planning to pursue an ambitious collaboration with the LLA that would resolve a major stormwater management issue while providing our community with a lasting, functional, attractive, and educational amenity: the Rain Garden Trail.

For many years, the sloped area behind the Coldstream Pool playground and basketball court has provided a path for residents to access the Coldstream recreational areas, but the area tends to wash out into the streets and yards of the homes at the base of the slope during precipitation events.  The LLA, in cooperation with Friends of the Lake and the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), has assessed the site and determined that a rain garden/bioretention area installed in this area would minimize the negative effects of stormwater runoff by creating a filtering eco-system filled with native plants.

The Rain Garden Trail will educate residents of all ages about the problems that stormwater runoff creates, while giving people a beautiful solution.  Ideally, the Rain Garden Trail would also be a functioning ecosystem that could demonstrate the green infrastructure benefits for the entire community of Lake Linganore.  This project could lead the way to creating a network of smaller rain gardens in backyards throughout the Lake Linganore community, significantly reducing our community’s negative impact on the health of the lake.

Rain gardens can capture hundreds of gallons of rainwater from the rooftops and parking lots above the garden and filter out up to 90 percent of pollutants while allowing the water to drain deep enough into the soil to help recharge groundwater supplies. Rain Gardens are part of an overall solution to stormwater pollution, and when installed in yards throughout our community, can significantly reduce the impact of our residential runoff on the health of our lakes.

This project is expected to begin in the Fall of 2013.  We are obtaining proposals from companies specializing in rain garden design and installation along with sustainable landscape design using native plants.  We are also planning to apply for a Chesapeake Bay Trust mini-grant and explore other funding options to help offset some of the landscaping costs.   The Frederick Office of Sustainability and Environmental Resources has also generously offered to do an onsite training for all volunteers on how to design and install a rain garden in your own yard.

The success of this project depends on the willingness of the community to reach out and pitch in.  So far, we could really use the following:

  • Businesses, individuals or groups that are interested in sponsoring a 4 foot section of the trail to fund the purchase of native plants and educational signage
  • Individuals with knowledge or experience in grant writing who can help research and apply for available grants
  • Individuals, Families, or Community Groups who can volunteer to plant native plants in one or more sections of the rain garden
  • Individuals to organize and coordinate volunteers for planting days
  • Individuals to design the educational/sponsorship signage for the trail
  • Individuals willing to collaborate with a Juliette Girl Scout on her gold award project to design community outreach events or activities associated with the trail.
  • Recommendations from residents who have used natives in their own yards – what worked well? What didn’t thrive?  What plants did animals like deer and bunnies leave alone (and which natives did they want to eat/destroy)?  Any other tips?
  • Individual(s) willing to take on a project management role.

If you are interested in volunteering for the Rain Garden Trail project, please contact FriendsofLakeLinganore@gmail.com to let us know how you would like to help.  If you have an idea, but you don’t see it on the list, please let us know!  We are always grateful for volunteers!  You don’t need to have any specific background or experience – just a willingness to help out in your community!