Rain Gardens for Headwaters Program
Rain Gardens for Headwaters
Rain Gardens build resilience to the significant impacts impermeable surfaces and stormwater runoff have on our local streams, watersheds, and communities. Our grassroots ‘Rain Gardens For Headwaters’ Program provides Green Stormwater Infrastructure education and capacity building for local communities and public schools. Through education, outreach and building demonstration rain garden sites, we aim to take Green Stormwater Infrastructure (GSI) and Rain Gardens from obscure to commonplace.
What is a Rain Garden?
Rain gardens are vegetated areas in urban environments, designed to capture, hold, cool and filter water on the landscape. Rain gardens hold water where it can either evaporate, be transpired by plants (loss of water through leaves, stems, and flowers), or seep deep into the soil and groundwater. These gardens are an example of 'Green Infrastructure,' which are environmentally conscious, adaptable structures that attempt to work with, rather than against, the natural environment in developed areas.
For more information see our Rain Gardens Blog Post
Rain Garden Symposium
On June 28th, 2022, we hosted a webinar, bringing together various local experts to talk about rain gardens. Check it out!
Through the Rain Gardens for Headwaters project, Peninsula Streams is building community capacity and awareness for Rain Gardens in Greater Victoria.
Rain Garden demonstration sites constructed at two local schools serve as focal points for students, faculty, and the community at large, to participate and learn about the efficacies and importance of Stormwater Management and Green Stormwater Infrastructures. These sites are used to educate and increase literacy around rain garden design and installation as well as critical issues such as stormwater impacts on local hydrology, water quality, ecosystem impacts, and landscape resilience to climate change. This is taught through engaged participation with the school and community across all stages of the project lifecycle.
Monterey Middle School Rain Garden
This rain garden demonstration site was done in collaboration with the Friends of Bowker Creek’s 1000 Rain Gardens Program, School District 61 and with support from Oak Bay Engineering. It is a ~200 m2 rain garden designed to capture and hold water from a ~900 m2 parking lot catchment area. Students were engaged in the process from the design, construction, planting phases and now partake in ongoing maintenance of the garden and are helping to develop signage for the garden.
Campus View Rain Garden
This demonstration garden was also done in collaboration with the Friends of Bowker Creek’s 1000 Rain Gardens Program and School District 61. It is located 150 metres from the headwaters of Bowker creek. This rain garden drains 150m² of the school's property and on average filters nearly 88,000 litres of water per year. Campus view students, as well as students from nearby Mount Douglas Secondary School, were involved in the design and planting of this rain garden.
Rain Gardens Education
Our rain garden education and outreach efforts include outreach to schools, presentations and workshops for communities and Mayor & Councils, and engaging with the private sector.
If you are interested in a rain garden educational delivery, please reach out to discuss what kind of opportunity we can work with you to provide. We look forward to implementing more rain gardens education programs in the K-12 school system and are always looking for teachers to host us in their classrooms.
1000 Rain Gardens Project
In partnership with the Friends of Bowker Creek, this project focuses on rain garden public outreach and building rain gardens within the Bowker Creek watershed catchment area. We are thrilled that the Friends of Bowker Creek are as excited as we are about Rain Gardens. We hope to inspire other stewardship groups to follow suit and become rain garden champions in their respective watersheds.
Check out the 1000 rain gardens project website:
Rain Gardens in Victoria
Many rain gardens have been constructed in municipalities throughout Greater Victoria. Green Stormwater Infrastructure is slowly but surely becoming more commonplace in our communities. However, without knowing what to look for, and without informational signage, rain gardens may go unnoticed. The ‘landscaping’ you walk past on your way to work every day may actually be Green Stormwater Infrastructure! Part of rain garden education is empowering people to identify rain gardens, touring local rain gardens, and teaching people to identify good locations for installing future rain gardens.
This map of Rain Garden locations in Greater Victoria created by UVic Community Mapping students is a great tool. Use it to do a virtual or self-guided tour of some of Greater Victoria’s Rain Gardens!
The city of Victoria has a Rainwater rewards program to incentivize sustainable rainwater management. Learn more:
City of Victoria Rainwater Rewards Program
The Rain Gardens for Headwaters program is made possible thanks to our funders Pacific Salmon Foundation, TD Friends of the Environment, the Nature Trust of BC, and BC Gaming. Special thanks to Satinflower Nurseries for sharing their expertise and providing a diverse selection of native plants.