Rain Gardens Installed at KCLS Libraries
The King County Library System (KCLS) has partnered with Stewardship Partners, a nonprofit organization that helps restore natural landscapes throughout the state, to install rain gardens at Covington and Fairwood libraries. The Covington Library rain garden was installed August 1, 2009 and the Fairwood Library rain garden was installed August 8, 2009.
About 16 volunteers helped install the rain garden at Covington Library and 30 volunteers helped with the Fairwood Library project. Lowe’s donated hand tools and plants for each project.
“We are trying to install rain gardens in highly visible public sites, so we naturally migrated toward libraries, schools and community centers,” said Becky Abbey, program associate with Stewardship Partners. “There is a lot of educational potential.”
The two library sites were selected after Stewardship Partners staff toured several KCLS libraries and selected sites that fit a number of criteria, including the amount of space available. Stewardship Partners is funding the installations through a grant received from King County and other contributing partners. Additional library sites are anticipated to be selected by Stewardship Partners for rain gardens in 2010. Separate from this grant, several new KCLS libraries also will feature rain gardens as part of their site design, including Federal Way Regional, Sammamish and Kenmore libraries.
A rain garden consists of native trees, shrubs and grasses planted in composted-amended soil in a shallow depression. Pipes help redirect water from rooftops, driveways and other hard surfaces into the rain garden before it can enter local waterways. The rain garden at Covington Library filters runoff from the parking lot and the rain garden at Fairwood Library captures runoff from roof gutters. Rain gardens help reduce pollution, flooding and provide habitat for wildlife.
“There is a lot of pollution entering the Puget Sound through runoff from things like pesticide, fertilizer, oil and other waste,” Abbey said.