As some of you know, I have long been interested in storm-water retention. Looking at these pictures of the flood, I am going to once more enter into the fray. I do not do this seeking anything, it just seems to be a common sense thing to do on so many levels. This is what I think. Take it for whatever you want. One small thing you could do.

Think of the streets as streams. We funnel all the water to a drain at the end of the street, where it is clogged by debris, overflows and run downhill. Each intersection goes downhill and causes a lot of problems. So this is what you could do.

The up and down streets are the river. The east and west streets are the tributaries. In storm-water retention there is a line of thought about point of impact. Where the rain first hits. That’s where you deal with it. Before it can become a monster. Stop it before it gets big. So how do you do that?

To cut to the chase, it mostly has to do plants. It means boulevard rain gardens on the tributaries not the rivers. Stop the water at the point of impact. Catch it before it gets big. And what do you plant? Usually water drawers, usually quite pretty. There are all kinds of combinations, be beavers. Beautiful environments are very easily recreated. So out of these rain gardens you grow flowers. I like flowers. But envision flowers on every street, it would be quite nice. But it’s more than that. You have photosynthesis, which gives you air, clean air, which could possibly make you feel better. Good for the bees, the trouble there in.

I’ll let you take it from there. Try to think about the positive reasons you would do this and consider the negative things as just a problem to be solved. And that concludes my rant for tonight.


frank nichols

about 11 years ago

Pardon me for the spelling at the end. Half two in the morning here in Scotland still light out.


about 11 years ago

Frank, I wish the rest of the world would learn how to "rant" from you.

[email protected]

about 11 years ago

Dream for all of us, dude!


about 11 years ago

Great thoughts Frank, I love this analogy. For those of us out there that aren't super savvy about rain gardens, do you have any recommended links? 

Thinking big and beyond our own property, how could we go about making a community program getting people educated and interested in making their own rain gardens on their boulevards?

frank nichols

about 11 years ago

There are many sites on Google . Check out Maplewood in Minneapolis, they have over 600 rain gardens. Another PDF file that I just found  and looks good is .... rain garden design template, Fairbault county soil and water. You could do searches under key words such as swales, constructed wetlands, ripatarian barriers.


about 11 years ago

I'd like to mention a couple resources for Rain Gardens in the Duluth area; hopefully folks will find these helpful!

1. MN Sea Grant is hosting two rain garden workshops this summer, which will include design, construction, and maintenance.  Details here: http://www.seagrant.umn.edu/news/2013/07/24

2. We also assist with a webpage about rain gardens and other stormwater practices, focusing on how to design them in our area; that website is here: http://www.lakesuperiorstreams.org/stormwater/toolkit/raingarden.html

3. The Duluth Stream Corps, through Community Action Duluth, has funds to help construct a few raingardens for residents along stream channels (sorry; I tried, but streets don't count!)  their website and contact info is here: http://www.communityactionduluth.org/streamcorps/index.html


about 11 years ago

Thank you for the interest and links.
Maybe having more wetlands on top of the hill to retain the waters would help using porous asphalt so the water drains down not over.

frank nichols

about 11 years ago

You can't take back all the pavement. I think it's a matter of directing the water. Now that we've pretty much removed what (name your own creator) gave us.  Think about point of impact, where it first hits. Utilize it there with plants. Some plants like a lot of water.

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