Rain gardens can help with pollution, other water problems



By: Sean LaPlaca

In developed areas — such as Lexington — roofs, pavement and other urban surfaces are unable to handle large water volume and flow leading to eroded banks, loss of habitat and aquatic life, and increased flooding and property damage in surrounding areas.

A helpful solution to limit pollutants from entering our water bodies would be to build a rain garden, said Mary Carol Cooper, a retired native plant coordinator from Salato Wildlife Education Center in Frankfort, Ky.

On Tuesday morning, Cooper led a presentation at the UK Arboretum on “Building a Rain Garden,” as a part of a series funded through the Lexington government.

“We’re collaborating with them on teaching classes that provide a more sustainable lifestyle,” Arboretum director Marcia Farris said. “These are things that help with water runoff in Lexington, which is a big problem with people.”

Tuesday’s event was a part of an ongoing series the Arboretum will host with the city government to teach residents about water quality.

“I think rain gardens are a great tool to catch runoff and pollutants in Lexington, because it is a problem in our community,” said James Calitri, a UK alumnus in landscape architecture.

Farris said she chose Cooper to lead the presentation on rain gardens because she is a wonderful resource for information about native plants and because of her background at Salato.

After the presentation, Kay Newtz, a Lexington resident, said that everyone should try to build a rain garden.

“I think this lecture was very informative and a great way to identify local problems within our community,” Newtz said.

The next event in the series will address trees and water quality. It will be taught by Chris Barton, an associate professor of forest hydrology in UK’s department of forestry, and Dave Leonard, owner of Dave Leonard Consulting Arborist Inc. — a tree care specialist company.

Those interested can contact Farris at (859) 257-6955.

Click here to learn How To Make A Rain Garden (Information from Tuesday’s Rain Garden presentation).