Candice Richards, Eric Larson and Peggy
Dahlberg (above) were part of the UMD staff team that built the rain
A new UMD rain garden was constructed this summer by UMD
Facilities Management Grounds staff. Designed by Barr Engineering, the
garden demonstrates a pleasant solution to the harmful effects of storm
water run-off from a large parking lot. It also helps to protect Oregon
Creek, the creek that flows through the UMD campus, by slowing, cooling,
and filtering the run-off. The garden also provides interesting educational
opportunities for UMD and the larger community.
The rain garden, built along College Street on the southeast
side of campus, helps mitigate the water pollution that occurs when
hundreds of cars are gathered in one spot. Oregon Creek, rapidly flows
from the UMD campus to Lake Superior. In earlier studies, water that
left the campus reached the shores of Lake Superior within five minutes.
The size of the UMD rain garden is also something to note.
Eric Larson, UMD's senior engineer, explained, "By comparison to
others in the country, this rain garden is tremendously large. It covers
one-third of an acre and when fully operational, will hold 60,500 gallons."
The garden itself combines an array of plants that were
chosen because of their adaptability to different amounts of rain. "I
was impressed by the variety of plants that we assembled," said
Candice Richards, an administrator in UMD's Facilities Management, "We've
got native species, non-native species, shrubs and trees. We've been
able to use several existing trees and we've added more." The plants
need to be hearty. They were chosen to tolerate rain, flooding and also
Peggy Dahlberg, UMD's landscape gardener, said that the
garden has already received a lot of attention, "Everyday people
walk by and ask questions. There's a lot of community interest in rain
gardens and our project is an excellent demonstration of how they work."
A Rain Garden Grand Opening Celebration was held on Thursday,
September 29 at 223 College Street (in front of the UMD Heating Plant
/ Lund Building).