Rain Garden Outreach Program
Applicant Interviews July 1 to September 26, 2018. Please call.

Lackawanna River Watershed
Rain Garden Outreach Program

The Lackawanna River Conservation Association (LRCA) is pleased to announce that it is conducting a Lackawanna River Watershed Rain Garden Outreach Program.

The Program is open to homeowners and small business owners residing in one of the “Urban Storm Water Municipalities” in the Lackawanna Watershed. This Program is funded in part through an Environmental Grant Award from the Pennsylvania American Water Company.

The goals of this Program are to increase the knowledge of the public regarding stormwater management and demonstrate how individual homeowners and local small businesses can help to improve water quality and reduce the volumes of urban stormwater runoff from their properties.

Rain Gardens are areas of a residential scale property that are developed to receive and infiltrate stormwater runoff from the roof, sidewalks and driveway of a property. Roof and sidewalk and driveway areas are also referred to as impervious surfaces because they shed rainwater and prevent it from infiltrating into the soil to become groundwater. The rapid runoff from roofs and rain gutter systems is sometimes tied into combined storm and sanitary sewers. Heavy storm events cause overflows from these Combined Sewers into rivers and creeks.  Even if there is no link to sanitary lines, large urban stormwater flows carry debris from our streets and parking lots and pollution from our cars into separate storm sewer lines that are a major source of water pollution from cities and towns across the country.

Studies have demonstrated that the use of Rain Gardens and similar features that retain and infiltrate urban storm runoff can significantly reduce water pollution entering our rivers and streams from individual properties and whole neighborhoods and sub-divisions where Rain Gardens, bio-swales or bio-retention basins are installed or designed into a development site. Retaining stormwater on site can also help reduce the peak crest of runoff from storm events and this can help reduce the threat from flooding to neighbors in downstream communities.

Rain Gardens provide many benefits to homeowners. They provide backyard wildlife habitat for birds, butterflies and beneficial insects. They provide aesthetic values that in turn can improve the value of a home and neighborhood. There can also be recreational values for the do it yourself homeowner and home gardener in designing, installing and maintaining the Rain Garden.

Rain Gardens are low maintenance, however, because they utilize native plants. Weeding and pruning in spring and fall with the other aspects of maintaining a residential landscape are the major maintenance needs of a Rain Garden. You don’t have to water the plants because Native Plants in a Rain Garden are used to getting watered only when it rains.

The LRCA Rain Garden Outreach Program is also open to Homeowners and Small Business owners who are not gardeners or do it yourselfers. We will consider proposals involving professionally designed and maintained Rain Gardens. We will also consider proposals for Soakage Trenches which are basically rain gardens without plants, other than grass cover. A Soakage Trench is sited like a Rain Garden at a low lying area of a residential house lot. The site selected is excavated and instead of top soils and plants, drainage rock is installed and rainwater from disconnected downspouts is directed to the site where the water will infiltrate through the trench of drainage rock. The surface can be planted in grass and mowed.

The LRCA welcomes proposals from interested residents from urban municipalities within the Lackawanna River Watershed to develop Rain Gardens. (Please see application package for a list of these municipalities.)  We will select up to 10 applicants and award reimbursement of up to $500.00 towards documented expenses for the installation of plants, materials and commercial labor if such is used.

LRCA staff will interview interested applicants to select a qualified number of applicants for pre-approval by September 26, 2018. To be qualified for reimbursement, installations must be completed prior to December 1, 2018.  Applications and additional information are available by contacting the LRCA at 570-347-6311, by email at lrca@lrca.org or by visiting the LRCA website www.lrca.org.

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