How you can help keep Lake Champlain clean:

Plant a Rain Garden

A rain garden is a specially designed landscaped area that provides natural places for rainwater to collect and soak into the ground.

A rain garden allows the rain water to pool for a short period of time in the garden. As rain from rooftop areas or paved areas soaks into the ground, the water is cleaned by the plants and the soil microbes in the soil. This water can recharge the groundwater supply and release slowly without dirt or other pollutants.

All it takes is a little planning, a shovel, some plants, and a few stones. It is easy and can be installed in a few short hours.

The plants need to be hearty and able to handle short periods of inundation after rain. Use of native and taller plants are preferable because of the pooling of the rain water.

Most of the time, soil will be well drained and dry. Look for plants that prefer moist or well drained soils.

Learn more about installing a rain garden.

In addition to installing a rain garden, you can also add certain plants to your existing garden that will help reduce stormwater runoff. These plants are typically hearty and will help soak up an abundance of rainwater.

Helpful Tips for Building a Rain Garden

  1. Choose the placement, shape, and impervious surface that will drain into the garden before you start digging. A rain garden will help reduce stormwater in an area up to 5 times its size.
  2. Make sure the garden depth is even throughout the bed. The garden should have gradually sloped sides.
  3. Uphill and downhill edges of the rain garden should be the same height. To do this, create a berm on the downhill side with soil or the sod dug out of the garden. Measure the height all across the down and uphill edges to ensure even height. This can be done with a string line level and measuring tape. Stake string at the high point of the garden and measure across to different areas of the berm.
  4. Use soil with high sand and low clay content. This increases the water retention capacity and increases drainage time. Soil can be amended. Compost should be added to help give plants a boost and enhance water retention.
  5. Try not to walk in the garden as much as possible. This will keep the soils airy and not compact. After planting, make sure to water and mulch the garden thoroughly. Line the entrance of the garden with pebbles and stones to protect it from erosion.
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