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The District Story

Chrisman Rain GardenConservation Implementation

Rain Gardens Germinate and Grow Thanks to the Elkhart River Alliance Program

The Elkhart River Alliance (ERA), together with the Elkhart County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD), has helped three Goshen homeowners and the Elkhart Environmental Center to install rain gardens. 

These rain gardens, funded in part with federal Clean Water Act funds, will reduce stormwater runoff and pollutants entering the Elkhart River and its tributaries.  While funds last, the ERA is accepting applications from other homeowners in Goshen and parts of Elkhart to do the same thing.

Deegan Rain GardenLeft: William Deegan Rain Garden

A rain garden is more than just a hole in the ground. It is a landscaping feature created to hold stormwater runoff from rooftops or paved surfaces in an urban setting.  Rain gardens are vegetated with native perennial plants that are adapted to periodic flooding as well as dry periods. 

When it rains, the rain garden will fill up, but the water will slowly drain until there is no more standing water.  They are designed to drain within 24 hours, which prevents mosquitoes from breeding.  Stormwater is treated and slowed as plants and soil break down pollutants in the water as it drains.  In addition to the water quality benefits, rain gardens add beauty and attract wildlife to backyards

side rain gardenRight: Daragh Deegan Front Rain Garden

The Elkhart River Alliance has received a grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), through the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM), to help install rain gardens and other water quality practices.  The grant will pay up to 75% of the cost of installing a rain garden. The program is available to applicants in the urban critical areas in the Elkhart River Watershed which includes Goshen, Elkhart, Nappanee, Ligonier, Syracuse and Kendallville. 

For more information, contact Eric Kurtz at eric.kurtz@in.nacdnet.net or 533-3630 ext. 3.  Application information can also be found at www.elkhartriveralliance.org. The next application deadline is January 31, 2009.

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