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Credit Hollie Dimuro, Rutgers Cooperative Extension Water Resources Program. 
Native plants include inkberry holly, sweet pepperbush, witch hazel, false blue indigo, blueflag iris, and native sedges and warm season grasses. These plants will provide interest in all seasons!

Credit Hollie Dimuro, Rutgers Cooperative Extension Water Resources Program. Native plants include inkberry holly, sweet pepperbush, witch hazel, false blue indigo, blueflag iris, and native sedges and warm season grasses. These plants will provide interest in all seasons!

Hammonton Canoe Club Rain Garden

Building a rain garden at the Hammonton Canoe Club.

July 29, 2020

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Rain gardens, which are a form of green stormwater infrastructure (GSI), collect stormwater that runs off of hard or impervious surfaces and then allows it to soak into the ground. This helps to keep pollution like fertilizer, pesticides, or sediment out of our waterways. It can improve water quality just about anywhere. When we pick out a site for a rain garden to build as part of the South Jersey Landscape Makeover Project, we also look for sites that have high visibility.

By placing the garden in a public location, it’s doing two jobs: while it’s working to keep waterways healthy and clean, it also serves as a place to educate people about green stormwater infrastructure.  This is what made the Hammonton Canoe Club is the perfect site. The Canoe Club is a community building where people are always coming and going. It is also right next to Hammonton Lake Park, which is busy throughout the year.

We knew that a rain garden here could demonstrate how green stormwater infrastructure works. Even better this rain garden is right next to a lake. In terms of teachable moments, this site couldn’t be beaten! The rain garden is designed to manage around 97,000 gallons of stormwater per year so it’s sure to have a positive impact on water quality in Hammonton Lake.

When COVID19 hit, I worried that we might not get to build this rain garden. Fortunately, construction (especially rain garden construction, which is outside) can be done with social distancing. Hammonton’s Public Works Department dug out the rain garden with help from the Rutgers Cooperative Extension Water Resources Program. That team was then joined by the Pinelands Preservation Alliance and the Association of NJ Environmental Commissions (ANJEC) to place stone, mulch, and plant the garden. Now that the rain garden is complete, we pass the baton to the Hammonton Greater Permaculture Club to take care of it for the future. As the saying goes, it takes a village. And in the middle of a pandemic, that matters more than ever!

Learn More about the Landscape Makeover Program and how to participate.

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