Rain garden springs to life

June 12, 2014

In Lewes, a new rain garden is emerging in an unlikely place – a little blue house in a block of Schley Avenue that is home to the city's streets department garage and the Lewes Board of Public Works facilities.

The Greater Lewes Community Village has taken up residence in the blue house and finds it to be an excellent fit. One day not long ago Joe Farrell of the Sea Grant Program at University of Delaware visited the little blue house and saw the potential for supporting community storm water education as well as adding to the attractiveness of the site. He enlisted folks from the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control’s Division of Watershed Stewardship.

Shortly thereafter, soil samples were taken and the site was deemed worthy of proceeding. On May 13, the Sussex County Conservation staff took care of the construction phase, then May 28 Girl Scout Troup 65 and DNREC experts did the planting.

The whole concept behind a rain garden is to capture polluted stormwater runoff from impervious surfaces, such as roofs, sidewalks and driveways before it enters local streams and the Delaware Bay. Native drought tolerant plants and amended soils help absorb and remove nutrients and provide a habitat for wildlife.

The follow-up to this adventure was a public workshop about rain gardens and the construction of the Greater Lewes Community garden co-sponsored by the Greater Lewes Community Village and the Division of Watershed Stewardship.