Like a daylong rain shower during a mid-summer drought, Plymouth-based Friends of the Rouge has been bolstered by a substantial grant from the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy’s Nonpoint Source Program.
EGLE announced it would award Friends of the Rouge with a $400,000 grant so that the environment-enhancing nonprofit organization can develop approximately 31,500 square feet of rain gardens near its office at the Plymouth Arts & Recreation Complex.
The project will be included in a planned parking lot renovation at PARC, FOTR said.
“The primary goal of the rain garden project is to create a beautiful, high-performance storm water management system at the FOTR office,” FOTR said in a statement. “The gardens will control and filter significant volumes of storm water to make considerable progress towards resolving issues with sedimentation and flow instability in Tonquish Creek, a tributary to the Rouge River that has been highly impaired by storm water impacts.
“The rain gardens will absorb as much as 240,000 gallons of stormwater each rainfall and create habitats for pollinators like butterflies and bees.”
The gardens will also serve as an educational tool and demonstrate best practices that residents across southeast Michigan can use at home and in community landscapes to help solve problems with flooding and water pollution,” the statement added.
“PARC’s decision to include rain gardens as part of the parking lot renovation shows the organization’s commitment to protecting the watershed,” said Matthew Bertrand, FOTR restoration manager. “The gardens will serve as a welcome area for visitors, make the parking lot and building a more attractive, inviting space for our community to enjoy and provide shade during the heat of the summer.”
FOTR will take a lead role in maintaining the rain gardens and actively promote the features and benefits to PARC’s more than 150,000 annual visitors.
Rain gardens are designed to soak up and clean polluted stormwater, Bertrand explained.
“Like a large shallow saucer, rain gardens commonly hold about six inches of water, and are designed to drain within 48 hours,” he said. “They store floodwaters underground and help maintain water levels in creeks during dry periods while also helping improve water quality by removing pollutants from runoff.”
“The Rouge River watershed contains some of the most urbanized communities in southeast Michigan and the river experiences high flow variability and poor water quality due to the high amount…