Electric Ave. Rain Garden

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Electric Ave. Rain Garden

 site type is rain garden
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Electric Ave. Rain Garden

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Where is this located? It is located adjacent to the exit from the park just off Electric Avenue

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What’s special about this place? This is one of the first rain gardens to be installed in Bellingham. All of the water from the west end of the parking lot and the ball field drain to this point where most of it soaks into the ground and is absorbed by the plants here. Any extra water flows through a pipe and to a filter system at another infiltration area before flowing into Lake Whatcom.

About Rain Gardens

rain garden is a bowl-shaped garden that collects, absorbs, and filters the rainwater that runs off hard surfaces including parking lots, driveways, sidewalks, lawns, and roofs. They provide on-site cleaning of stormwater by using special soil mixtures and low-maintenance plants that soak up runoff. The soil mixes used in rain gardens are selected to allow water to soak in rapidly, treat runoff, and support plant growth. Hardy, often native, plants are carefully selected for each site, including wildflowers, grasses, rushes, ferns, shrubs, and even small trees. These plants can have the added benefit of attracting pollinators, providing habitat for beneficial insects and birds, adding beauty, and improving neighboring property values.

Rain gardens can be small and home-made, or they can be engineered with specific materials to be highly effective. Home-made rain gardens are usually applied in smaller, residential systems working to intercept runoff that would otherwise flow onto streets. Engineered rain gardens are a type of bioretention basin and are sized for specific water quality treatment and flow control capacity that includes designed soil mixes and, often, under-drains and control structures. All the rain gardens highlighted on these tours are engineered bioretention facilities.

Water Quality Benefit: Rain gardens can capture sediment and bacteria, capture oil, pesticides, and fertilizers, and use their mulch layer to bind-up dissolved metals. Plant roots also are host to diverse microbial and fungal populations that filter pollution using biological processes.

Water Quantity Benefit: Special soil mixtures are chosen to allow water to soak into the ground. Roots break up the soil so water can soak into the ground more easily. By absorbing runoff from hard surfaces, rain gardens reduce flooding on neighboring property, reduce erosion in streams, and may recharge local groundwater.

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drainage area

Drains 9 acres or over 5 1/2 square blocks. 

Where does this stormwater runoff come from? The stormwater from this site comes from the upper end of the main parking lot as well as the ball field next to Electric Avenue.

Where does this stormwater runoff flow next? Stormwater flows to the Beach Sand Filter, then into Lake Whatcom.

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