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This past summer, Liz Hillgren from the Saline Environmental Commission, wanted to create a rain garden and had been wondering where a good spot would be. Shortly after starting the Master Rain Gardener Course, she found out about the Washtenaw County Water Resources Commissioner’s Office mini-sponsorship program and set off to find an area in need of a rain garden. The Commission’s first idea for a rain garden location was a large area along North Maple road. They realized that the site was a bigger project than they were prepared to take on, but another rain garden came to mind. . .
The rain garden on Old Creek was first planted over 20 years ago and was the first of its kind in Saline. In recent years though, the garden had fallen into disrepair and had been taken over by weedy mint plants. The Old Creek rain garden felt like a manageable size for a first project and it already had infrastructure, like curb cuts in place. These are spaces where the curb is cut to help direct rain water out of the street and into the garden. With the site selected, Liz needed to coordinate the volunteers and plants in order to return the rain garden to function and beauty.
Installation took just one day with around 5 volunteers and a lot of hard work! The city helped by hooking up a hose to the nearby fire hydrant for watering. The plants quickly began to establish and grow. Passersby were very interested during the project and ideas about future rain garden locations have continued to pop up around town.
Located at a low point in the neighborhood, the Old Creek rain garden captures stormwater runoff from the road and nearby lawns. This prevents the fast-moving and polluted water from running into the nearby storm drains which empty right into the Saline River. The garden can also help prevent the road from flooding during big storms.
After successfully completing the Old Creek Rain Garden project, the Commission feels ready to explore a larger installation. Volunteers who want to participate have also sprung up. The Old Creek rain garden can inspire fun and educational ways to learn about ecosystems, native plants, water quality, stewardship and more!