Managing Stormwater: Rain Gardens & Green Parking

The sloping contours of the new residence hall site called for a comprehensive stormwater conservation plan to manage the flow and retention of runoff.

Several “working” landscape features not only protect the water quality of nearby streams (from sediments, oil and other pollutants), they become an asset through flood prevention, reduced irrigation costs, and added color and aesthetics.

Rain gardens next to the building control stormwater from impervious surfaces such as roofs, walkways and compacted lawn areas. As designed, each shallow depression contains a mix of wildflowers, ferns, shrubs and small trees native to our region. All are effective at absorbing excess water – and attractive to butterflies, songbirds, hummingbirds and beneficial insects. The water then flows through a special soil mixture/gravel bed to remove pollutants before filtering down into the ground water. A few of the native species you’ll notice here include aster, Black-Eyed Susan and daylilies; grasses such as Little Bluestem; Dogwood and other shrubs.

The site’s green infrastructure also features a special parking area constructed to minimize runoff and other environmental impacts. This parking lot ­­– with spaces for 38 cars – utilizes permeable pavement to improve its infiltration. Concrete brick pavers feature a high SRI value (heat reflective quality) to reduce the “urban heat island” effect, caused by elevated temperatures from exposed surfaces like roofs and pavement in warm weather. Green parking areas will be designed to meet LBC Imperative 6: Ecological Water.

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