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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 12, 2023
Harry Sheehan, Chief Deputy Water Resources Commissioner
Washtenaw County Water Resources Commissioner’s Office
Ann Arbor, MI. Washtenaw County Water Resources Commissioner’s Office, in partnership with the Friends of the Rouge and Washtenaw County’s GIS program, has launched an interactive map that records and displays residential projects that capture and filter stormwater runoff.
This free tool is called RainScaping in Southeast Michigan. It allows us to:
This new map is crowd-sourced; people can put their projects on the map by uploading photos and answering simple questions. “This mapping effort is the first regional quantification of the effect of the green infrastructure built by residents.” says Marie McCormick, Executive Director of Friends of the Rouge. “This data will be able to show us how one person’s change at home can add up to significant changes as part of a larger community.”
Stormwater runoff is a major cause of water pollution. It carries pollutants like trash, bacteria, and heavy metals through traditional storm sewers into local waterways. Current regional rain gardens can capture up to 11.6 million gallons of stormwater runoff after a rainstorm. Instead of contributing pollution to a creek, that rain is soaked into the ground and filtered by plants instead of directly entering traditional stormwater systems. That is the same volume as 2,900 tanker trucks lined up - a line of trucks that would stretch for 44 miles.
Water Resources Commissioner, Evan Pratt, noted “Rain gardens have come a long way. In 2015, Washtenaw County just had a few [rain gardens] scattered across the County. Now there are over 1,130 rain gardens that capture and remove pollution from stormwater. All those gardens add up and make a direct impact on water quality.”