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 200m² rain garden demonstration site was built in collaboration with the Friends of Bowker Creek’s 1000 Rain Gardens Program, School District 61 and with support from Oak Bay Engineering. Designed to capture and hold water from a 1000m² parking lot, it has been effectively treating the toxic runoff before it gets released into the environment. Students were intimately involved in every step of the design, construction and planting phases and now partake in ongoing maintenance of the garden. Through numerous in-class presentations and workshops led by PSS, students have learned more about the science of rain gardens and are now hard at work designing signage to be erected in the near future.
Campus View Elementary Rain Garden
Consisting of one large demonstration garden and three other smaller sites, the Campus View rain gardens are filtering rainwater coming from the school bus loop and staff parking lot. Once an area that was prone to flooding, these rain gardens are effectively soaking up excess water like a sponge before draining into the headwaters of Bowker Creek which are only 150m away. Partners of this project included the Friends of Bowker Creek and School District 61 in addition to students from Campus View and Mount Douglas Secondary. They have played a critical role in maintaining the garden through diligent weeding, mulching and secondary planting events.
Stats for 2023
Rain Garden Sites: 6
Stormwater Captured: > 1 milllion litres
Rain Garden Events: 39
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. In 2023 alone we taught nearly 200 students from grades 6 to 12 about rain gardens, the effects of urban stormwater on aquatic ecosystems, pollinator gardens and more.
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: