Wilmington Rain Gardens

UNC-TV Science: May 16, 2014
UNC Wilmington Breaks Ground on New Rain Gardens Project

Oil and chemical spills may be the big names in water pollution, but runoff from an everyday rainstorm can be just as damaging to water quality. Nutrients from fertilizers and tiny pollutants from engine exhaust flow over our lawns and roads, landing right in local streams.

These pulses of pollution every time it rains can cause damage to the streams themselves and everything downriver. In Wilmington, the final destination for this pollution is the Atlantic Ocean.

That is why UNC Wilmington has partnered with the City of Wilmington, the Tidal Creek Coop, the Stormrider Foundation, NC State University and the North Carolina Coastal Federation to install rain gardens near the Tidal Creek Coop to trap stormwater before it reaches the local Hewletts Creek and the Atlantic Ocean.

Rain gardens are holes in the ground filled with loose, porous soil and small plants that can soak up stormater runoff and filter some of the pollution from it. The project, started last week, will install several rain gardens to collect runoff from the Coop and another nearby parking lot.

Two UNC Wilmington environmental science professors, Roger Shew and Anthony Snider, have even brought their classes out to help build the rain gardens.

For more on rain gardens and stormwater pollution, check out Frank Graff’s report on a similar project in Durham featured on NC Science Now.

- Daniel Lane

Daniel Lane covers science, medicine and the environment as a reporter/writer. He is currently pursuing a master's degree in medical and science journalism at UNC - Chapel Hill.

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