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Riverkeeper’s ‘Teaching’ Rain Garden

What do you think of when you hear the two words ‘Rain Garden”? I’m sure that there are a lot of people out there who don’t know exactly what one looks like because they’ve never seen one before. That’s why the new Rain Garden, being built by… you guessed it… at The Crane Branch Library on Elmwood is so important. It’s going to be a lesson on sustainability for every person who walks by.

The concept? In theory it’s an easy one. Divert the water from the roof to a dredged part of the lawn. Add some sand and particles so that the water can move about the soil freely, and plant native species. Eventually, this healthy, sustainable garden will look like many others, but to the trained eye (or BRO follower), the secret will be revealed.

From Kerri Bentkowski, Citizen Action Coordinator @ Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper:

“The rain garden is infiltrating rain water from a 312 sq. foot canopy that is at the entrance of the library.  According to the USGS, Buffalo has an average of 75 storms/year.  This produces an average of 40.54 inches of rain.  If we calculate the average amount of rain that falls on the canopy over a year, we will be preventing an average of 7,885 gallons of stormwater from entering into the sewers.

“In many places in Buffalo, heavy rain events cause our combined sewers to overflow resulting in untreated waste water to go directly into our streams, creeks, and rivers.  This polluted water contains untreated sewage, harmful bacteria, toxins, and trash into the water ways.

“This will be a ‘teaching’ rain garden for Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper’s new River Care program.  The River Care program will educate the community about rain gardens, rain barrels, green roofs, and other “Green Infrastructure” techniques that reduce the harmful stormwater runoff.  We also hope that this project is a stepping stone to other green projects with the Library, such as a green roof.

“While I coordinated the project for Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper, the project partners included:  Buffalo and Erie County Library System under the leadership of Bridget Quinn-Carey, Peter Liskers, Glenn Luba, and Chip Cambell; Dave Majewski from Premier Landscaping (he did the project), and the Elmwood Village Associations “Green Committee”.  The project was funded by the Vogt Family Foundation.”

*Riverkeeper is having a Do-It-Yourself Rain Garden workshop on Thursday, 6/11 from 6-8 pm at the Riverkeeper Office.   The following day, volunteers from the class and the community will help to plant.  The press conference will be held at 10:00 at 6/12

Crane Branch Library
633 Elmwood Avenue
Buffalo, NY 14222
(716) 883-6651

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