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Rain gardens are an infiltration based stormwater management practice. They are depressions that are planted with perennial vegetation and are strategically located to capture runoff from impervious surfaces, such as roofs and driveways. Runoff that enters a rain garden is temporarily ponded and allowed to infiltrate into the ground within 24 hours rather than running off the surface. They are a beautiful and functional addition to a yard. By reducing the amount of water that runs off of a yard, rain gardens help to reduce the amount of urban pollutants such as fertilizers, oil, pet waste, and sediment carried to water bodies like streams, river, and lakes. To find out more information, check out the Rain Garden Brochure. (photo courtesy of USDA NRCS)
Rain barrels are barrels that collect and store water from downspouts. They have a spigot near the bottom to allow access to the water, which can be used to water gardens or the lawn. They help to reduce water bills and provide chlorine-free water for use around the yard. They also help keep water away from the buildings foundation, which can reduce water the the basement. The water is not suitable for drinking. For more information, check out the Rain Barrel Brochure. (photo courtesy of savetherain.us)
You can determine how much water might run off your site by doing a Rain Water Audit at http://www.jcswcd.org/Audit.