New rain garden initiative created to help clean water coming into Great Lakes

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MARQUETTE, Mich. (WJMN) – With the ground covered in snow, it might be hard to think about gardening, but the Great Lakes One Water Partnership is helping people get ready while helping the Great Lakes.

Rain gardens are a natural water filter. It’s a shallow landscaped depression that captures, cleans and absorbs stormwater runoff from roofs, parking lots and roads.

“Say you have an impervious surface like a driveway or a roof and the water tends to flow off of that,” said Abbie Hanson, Biologist, Superior Watershed Partnership. “You’re trying to capture that water and clean it before it enters the Great Lakes.”

The Great Lakes One Water Partnership, which is a collaboration between 27 Community Foundations in shoreline communities across the Great Lakes basin is behind the idea of bringing rain gardens to those areas.

“We have funding to support rain gardens throughout the City of Marquette,” said Hanson. “For homeowners that are interested in implementing a rain garden also for some institutional or small business rain gardens as well.”

Three homes and two businesses will get thousands of dollars to transform part of their property with these rain gardens.

“We feel that we’re giving residents of Marquette County an opportunity to demonstrate this process, this cleaning process that will help keep our lake clean and make our city beautiful,” said Gail Anthony, CEO, Community Foundation of Marquette County.

The Community Foundation of Marquette County has been named the hub of this partnership. So over the next three years, they will be looking for projects like these rain gardens to spread $300,000 to promote clean water.

“Make sure that the water that’s running off the blacktop and rooftops, that that’s cleaned, filtered before it gets to the lake,” said Anthony.

People interested in having a rain garden have until April 15 to apply. If you don’t think your yard is built for it, The Superior Watershed Partnership will be available this summer to help get your yard ready for rain.

For more information, click here.

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