MiSustainable Holland: City Hall rain garden helps keep waterways clean and healthy

·2 min read
The rain garden being installed at City Hall and other green infrastructure practices will reduce the amount of stormwater entering the watershed.
The rain garden being installed at City Hall and other green infrastructure practices will reduce the amount of stormwater entering the watershed.

You may have noticed construction projects happening at Holland City Hall and Kollen Park over the past few months. On May 19, work began on installation of rain gardens near the parking lots at these locations.

Oftentimes, people may think rain gardens are planted solely to support native pollinator populations because the native plants within the garden help to maintain stable pollinator populations. While they do help pollinators, the primary goal of rain gardens and these two projects is to manage the stormwater flowing over the parking lots at these locations.

When rain falls onto paved areas such as parking lots the water is unable to seep into the ground through the impervious pavement. Instead the water flows over the parking lot and into a storm drain that ultimately flows into a stream, river or lakes in our community.

This heavy influx of water can cause increased flooding. A lack of stormwater management also contributes to pollution because any contaminants on the surface of the pavement will be washed into the surrounding bodies of water.

After native plants are added, the rain garden at Kollen Park will slow the flow of excess stormwater into Lake Macatawa. A small foot bridge will allow easy passage through the rain garden.
After native plants are added, the rain garden at Kollen Park will slow the flow of excess stormwater into Lake Macatawa. A small foot bridge will allow easy passage through the rain garden.

Consequently, finding ways to manage stormwater is important to maintaining the health of the water and ecosystems around us. The projects at City Hall and Kollen Park are effective solutions to stormwater’s negative impact.

In the main rain garden at City Hall, stormwater will enter the storm drain in the lowest point in the parking lot. From there, the water will be diverted into the rain garden. This will allow the garden to absorb as much stormwater as possible before any excess water continues down the drain.

At Kollen Park, the stormwater will flow directly off the pavement from the parking lot into the rain garden. Then, as the water flows through the rain garden, it will be filtered by the native plants in the garden, ultimately leading to cleaner water entering Lake Macatawa.

The new rain gardens will feature a range of species including flowering plants like these black-eyed Susans, plantings that improve water quality by decreasing the amount of stormwater flowing into the watershed.
The new rain gardens will feature a range of species including flowering plants like these black-eyed Susans, plantings that improve water quality by decreasing the amount of stormwater flowing into the watershed.

While the construction at these two sites is nearly complete, the rain gardens will not be functional in managing stormwater until the native plants are installed. The gardens will have a range of species including trees, shrubs and flowering plants. Some of the flowering plants will include variants of black-eyed Susan and purple coneflower. These projects are expected to be completed when the plants are put in after Labor Day.

These projects are possible due to a grant with the Macatawa Area Coordinating Council that is managed by ODC Network. The teams responsible for designing these projects include Drummond Carpenter, PLLC, and Fishbeck. Additionally, because the two projects have been installed on property owned by the city of Holland, the city will maintain the gardens following the completion of the projects.

— Sydney Quillian is a watershed intern with the ODC Network, studying communication studies and environmental and sustainability studies at Grand Valley State University.

About this series

The MiSustainable Holland column is a collection of community voices sharing updates about local sustainability initiatives.

This article originally appeared on The Holland Sentinel: City of Holland rain gardens help keep waterways healthy