Once upon a time, a raindrop would fall to the ground in a storm. That raindrop would land on a landscape full of trees, grasses and other native plants. These deep-rooted plants would either channel the water down their roots to the aquifer or let it seep towards a nearby stream.
Today, we are no longer living in a “Once upon a time” fairy tale when it comes to stormwater.
Stormwater management is a major issue in today’s world
As our region becomes more developed, an increasing portion of our surface has become impermeable, meaning that water cannot soak into it. Rainwater cannot permeate pavement, buildings, patios and even poor soil and turf. Instead, the rainwater immediately runs off, carrying with it pollution, sediment and topsoil.
In addition, our storms are becoming more severe with ever-greater intensity of rain in short periods of time.
This combination leads to violent surges of water moving rapidly into our storm drains, creeks, rivers and Bay. Natural systems cannot handle this influx leading to erosion, overruns and flooding.
With the privilege of property ownership comes the responsibility to be a careful steward of the land. To every extent possible, we should create our own ecosystem where all the stormwater that falls has the ability to be absorbed on our property and not move into the storm drains.
The days of directing your downspouts into the storm drains (or your neighbor’s yard) need to come to an end.
Your garden can help with stormwater management
Through the use of native plants, careful engineering, and attention to detail, gardens that manage stormwater can be both efficient and stunning.
Every garden pictured here is either a rain garden or conservation landscape done through the Montgomery County Rainscapes program. They all help manage runoff by slowing water down and encouraging it to seep back into the ground before it hits our storm drains, creeks, rivers and Bay.
As of today, Backyard Bounty-installed gardens keep more than 5 million gallons of polluted stormwater from going into our creeks, rivers and Bay.
|Conservation Landscape||Rain Garden||Total|
|Backyard Bounty installed square footage through 2019||113,900||8,600||122,500|
|Gallons of stormwater managed per square foot||3.5||7|
|Average # of storms per year that exceed 1″ of rain||12||12|
|Total gallons of stormwater managed per year||4,783,800||722,400||5,506,200|
Most of the local jurisdictions in our area have programs to provide expertise, support and funding to help homeowners install stormwater-friendly gardens. Contact your local stormwater management department to find out how.
If we all do our part, we can help Nature do its.