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THE RAINGARDEN

Rain water that runs off of impervious surfaces, such as roofs, roads, driveways and sidewalks, carries pollutants like pesticides, fertilizers, oil, metals and sediments into the nearest storm drain and then directly to the nearest stream or river, with no natural treatment or filtering.

A RAINGARDEN mimics natural wetland systems. The RAINGARDEN captures rainwater before it can runoff and utilizes a simple concept, called bioretention, to improve stormwater quality. The water that enters the RAINGARDEN is treated by the plants and soil which transform and uptake nutrients, absorb metals and soluble contaminants, and physically filter out sediments, which often carry pollutants. The RAINGARDEN also detains the stormwater and allows it to discharge slowly into the ground, rather than rapidly into the streams, recharging groundwater and reducing flooding.

RAINGARDENS can be large or small and can be built any place that rainwater is discharged or accumulates. A downspout that drains your roof is an excellent place to create a RAINGARDEN. You can improve stormwater quality, reduce flooding and provide creative landscaping.

This RAINGARDEN is planted with a variety of plants that are native to New Jersey. We have included the forbs soft rush, soft stem bulrush, tussock sedge, blue flag iris and cardinal flower in the shallow waters edge. Switchgrass, a native warm season grass, and three species of shrubs, Virginia sweetspire, silky dogwood, and lowbush blueberry are planted along the edges, above the water. Two native shrubs that thrive in shallow water, buttonbush and smooth alder are represented. The trees in and around the RAINGARDEN include river birch, gray birch, Atlantic white cedar and baldcypress. Trees would not typically be included in a true RAINGARDEN, but they were added to show the range of plants that we find growing in our New Jersey wetlands.

The RAINGARDEN was installed and designed by Peter Soderman and Curtis Helm

Thanks to:

  • Amy S. Greene Environmental Consultants, Inc., Flemington, NJ, for wetland design consultation 
  • Pinelands Nursery, Columbus NJ, for supplying many of the plants
  • James Irish Tree Experts for supplying the dawn redwood logs  
  • Humanity, in our infinite wisdom, for finding a special place to dispose of our waste
Quark Park is being developed by Kevin Wilkes, AIA; Peter Soderman; and Alan Goodheart, ASLA. The World Hope Foundation has joined forces with this team to be the fiscal agent for the project. The World Hope Foundation mission supports self-determination in communities by bringing resources to community members and educational experts that are willing to step forward and enhance the lives of their children and elders. The Foundation is a qualified as a Federal 501 (c)(3) charitable organization and as such is eligible to solicit and support charitable causes.
World Hope Foundation
Web design and photos by Cie Stroud are © 2006

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