As you may have read in our recent blog post ‘Green Streets for Blue Waters’, our two year project in partnership with the City of Bloomington just wrapped up. The project included the addition of 18 newly installed curb cut raingardens and a fabulous vegetated bio-swale. After installations were complete, we were charged with ensuring these new practices are maintained by residents so they continue looking great and functioning properly. When raingardens aren’t maintained they can fill with sediment, lose their ability to infiltrate water, get taken over by weedy species and lose their aesthetic appeal, which leads to poor public perception. It’s an issue everywhere raingardens are installed, so making sure homeowners have the tools they need to maintain their gardens is no small task!
To kick off our maintenance education in Bloomington, each participant had the opportunity to meet one on one with Metro Blooms designer and maintenance expert Andrew Novak. Our hope with these visits was to instill a sense of confidence and ownership in participants as they care for their new raingardens. Gardening can be a very rewarding experience, both physically and mentally, and good maintenance is the most important aspect for ensuring the longevity and success of each garden.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the participants of the Bloomington Green Streets for Blue Waters program for taking part in this important project and give everyone else a quick overview of all that’s been accomplished!
Over the last two years, Metro Blooms, in partnership with the City of Bloomington and the Lower Minnesota River Watershed District, worked with residents to design and install a vegetated bioswale and 18 curb cut raingardens in Bloomington neighborhoods that drain to the Minnesota River.
Curb cut raingardens are unique in that they not only capture runoff from the property itself but from the street as well. The project area was selected because it is adjacent to the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge. Individual sites were selected based on site suitability and resident participation. In total, during an average year with 30″ of rainfall, the completed practices:
- Treat stormwater runoff from 55.42 acres
- Remove over 3,500 pounds of solids
- Remove 8.5 pounds of phosphorous and
- Infiltrate 1.9 million gallons of runoff
The solids and phosphorus removed would otherwise end up in the Minnesota River, causing algae blooms which deplete oxygen and diminish aquatic habitat when they decompose. The millions of gallons of runoff infiltrated reduces flooding and recharges groundwater to ultimately reach the Minnesota River clean and cool. In addition the bioswale and raingardens beautify City neighborhoods and provide habitat for pollinators and other wildlife. This project was made possible by funds from the Clean Water Land and Legacy Amendment and local matching funds.