Master Watershed Stewards work to plant a rain garden at Miller Park in Shrewsbury Township, York County. (Photo by Jodi Sulpizio, Penn State)
Before the colder temperatures arrived, Master Watershed Stewards in York County finished up planting two rain gardens in York County. One in Stump Park in York Township and one at Miller Park in Shrewsbury Township. Rain gardens are bowl-shaped gardens built to capture stormwater runoff so it infiltrates back into the ground. They slow and reduce runoff from roofs, driveways, parking lots, sidewalks and other impervious surfaces that would otherwise run off the land into streams, carrying pollutants with it. Rain gardens are rather simple to build and can help beautify your landscape. They provide the following benefits: reduce flooding, filter pollution, protect and replenish drinking water supplies and provide pollinator and wildlife habitat.
Master Watershed Stewards collaborated with the municipalities, planned the layout of the rain gardens, selected native plant plugs from native plant nurseries, enjoyed planting and are working on education signage. By working together, Master Watershed Stewards can help municipalities meet some of their stormwater obligations. Many communities in PA are designated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4) based on their population density. These urbanized areas must follow a number of regulations making sure stormwater runoff does not degrade water quality in local streams.
The Master Watershed Steward Program was created to educate and connect citizens from communities to water resource concerns in the area. Meeting obligations of the MS4 Program can be challenging for municipalities who may have staff with little or no training in this area. Partnering together can be an effective step using the resources of trained citizens to help meet these EPA obligations. Building rain gardens, developing educational materials and installing signage are a few of the many ways Master Watershed Stewards can help municipalities.
The Penn State Extension website has more information on rain gardens and stormwater.
For more information about the Master Watershed Steward Program in York county visit their website or contact Jodi Sulpizio, Natural Resources Educator at firstname.lastname@example.org or 717-840-7429.