Naturally Rockford: Improving the environment in your yard

BlackHawk Sierra Club is hosting “Improving the Environment in Your Yard” at the Unitarian Universalist Church, 4848 Turner St.

Monday, May 21, 7:30 p.m., Brian Leaf of Severson Dells will speak about rain gardens, providing information on designing and building a rain garden, as well as tips for improving stormwater management in your yard.

Leaf will also describe the rain garden project at Severson Dells Nature Center.

Stormwater refers to rain and melted snow and ice. Stormwater runoff from the roof, driveway and other hard surfaces in a yard is typically directed toward the street and into the municipal storm sewer system. This stormwater runoff, which has picked up harmful substances such as road salt, heavy metals and oils, ends up in streams, lakes or other water bodies, where it can harm water quality and aquatic habitat. Meanwhile, water used for lawns and gardens is drawn from the local drinking water supply.

Runoff can be reduced in several ways, and stormwater may be of better use in the yard while ensuring proper drainage.

One relatively easy and attractive method is a rain garden. A rain garden is a planted or stonecovered bed specifically designed to receive stormwater and allow it to be slowly absorbed into the soil (called “infiltration”).

The program is free and open to the public.

For more information, call Stanley Campbell, conservation chairman, at (815) 964-7111.

from the May 16-22, 2007, issue

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