Rain Garden Brigade

The Clermont Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) is calling for enthusiastic volunteers to be part of a local “Rain Garden Brigade” whose primary goal is to help Clermont County homeowners build their own rain gardens.  The idea for creating the Rain Garden Brigade stems from a study conducted by Miami University which showed that while there is genuine interest in rain gardens, the up front work needed to prepare the garden bed is one of the main reasons that property owners shy away from creating one.  The District hopes that a volunteer Rain Garden Brigade can overcome this barrier.

Rain gardens are flower gardens built in a shallow depression that is designed to absorb and filter rain water.  Unlike a wetland, rain gardens are designed to be completely dry after a maximum of two days, so standing water is not a problem.  “Homeowners typically build a rain garden in areas where rain water is collected during a storm, such as below a roof downspout or small grassy waterways,” says John McManus, district administrator for Clermont SWCD.  “Rain gardens help to reduce the volume of storm water runoff and minimize the amount of pollutants entering local streams.  They’re also an attractive landscape feature,” adds McManus.

Each year, Clermont SWCD offers up to ten $200 grants to property owners interested in building their own rain garden on a first come basis, pending an initial site visit.  In addition to the grant, the SWCD provides guidance and technical assistance for locating a site, designing the garden and selecting plants.  Once a plan is in place, the Rain Garden Brigade would then be available to help property owners with the creation of the garden.  “This is a popular program and the more support we can provide to homeowners, the better,” states McManus.

All volunteers are welcome, professionals and lay people alike.  “This is an ideal opportunity for anyone who is enthusiastic about gardening or likes getting their hands dirty,” says McManus.  Rain garden volunteers should be comfortable with some light-moderate lifting (~20 lbs or so), and be able to stoop, bend and tolerate local weather.  General duties would include digging, planting, mulching, weeding and pruning.  The SWCD will provide the necessary training, tools and equipment.  Rain garden volunteers will also be invited to participate in tours and workshops hosted by the District.

If you have questions or would like more information, send an email to jmcmanus@clermontcountyohio.gov, or call the Clermont SWCD at 513-732-7075.