Bay View Rain Garden Initiative
Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council, in partnership with the Bay View Association, is encouraging Bay View Association residents to install rain gardens to help reduce local storm-water impacts. As part of the Watershed Council’s Little Traverse Bay Stormwater Management Initiative project (supported with funding through the Environmental Protection Agency’s Great Lakes Restoration Initiative), The Bay View Association Rain Garden Initiative will provide reimbursement to 25 Bay View residents who install a rain garden as part of the Initiative. Interested residents must first arrange a site assessment with Watershed Council staff, who will determine if a rain garden is appropriate for the given site. If the site is selected, the Watershed Council will coordinate the design and installation with the rain garden project contractor and resident(s). Residents will contract directly with the rain garden project contractor. Reimbursement of $1,500 per rain garden (limit one rain garden per residence) will be made to the resident(s) from the Watershed Council upon a post-construction rain garden review. Any additional costs associated with the rain garden will be the responsibility of the resident. For more information regarding the Bay View Rain Garden Initiative, contact Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council at 231-347-1181 or www.watershedcouncil.org
What is Stormwater?
Stormwater runoff is generated when precipitation from rain and snowmelt flows over land or impervious surfaces (paved streets, parking lots, and building rooftops) and does not soak into the ground. Stormwater accumulates debris, chemicals, sediment, nutrients and other pollutants that adversely affect water quality of nearby lakes, streams and wetlands. This is known as nonpoint source pollution. In Northern Michigan, the two most prevalent nonpoint source pollutants are sediments and nutrients.
Don’t Storm Sewers Treat Stormwater?
Yes and no. First of all, storm sewers are typically separate from waste water or sanitary sewers. In more developed areas, like cities and towns, residential and commercial waste water is conveyed through sanitary sewers to waste water facilities where it is treated to meet water quality standards before it is discharged.
On the other hand, stormwater is usually conveyed through an underground system of pipes and then discharged, without treatment, to a nearby lake or stream. In some cases, storm drains and inlets have integrated treatment devices, such as sumps, which allow for some settling and collection of sediments, or oil/gas chambers, which separate out oils and gas from the rest of the stormwater.
Most storm sewers, however, do not include these types of devices due to expense, required maintenance and difficulty with retrofitting existing structures. Rain gardens are a great way to alleviate the burden on storm sewers, recharge ground water, prevent flooding, reduce nonpoint source pollution, protect water quality, provide habitat and keep our lakes, streams, and wetlands healthy!