Rain gardens are a valuable tool in Washtenaw County's efforts to keep pollution out of the Huron River. Over two million gallons of storm water will be filtered this year by the 160 rain gardens installed by individuals that have taken a class though the county. The program is expanding so communities across Michigan can benefit.
Washtenaw County has trained a host of volunteers to understand soil types, gauge capacity, and other tips necessary to become a master rain gardener. The exponential growth in rain gardens throughout the county led the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality to seek assistance in creating similar programs across the state.
Water Resources Commissioner Evan Pratt says they're still working with the MDEQ on the final format of the expanded program but it will likely be more than just a recording of the existing training. "Maybe more of an interactive, go to meeting, type webinar. Where you can talk back and forth and present items through a digital format, you know, so everybody can see the same screen and talk about it together," Pratt says.
Pratt says the goal is for Washtenaw County's program to teach a host of trainers that can share the information with their communities. He says rain gardens are generally more cost effective in handling storm water on site than having municipalities build more infrastructure to address the issue.