The picture above is of a rain garden located outside the new Behavioral Health Center on the Gundersen Health System La Crosse campus. Rain gardens are an important instrument for minimizing storm water runoff. This particular rain garden catches and absorbs the rain water from the lawn and roof of the Behavioral Health Center. Rain gardens are essential because they help aide in the prevention of erosion, flooding and water pollution. Another rain garden can be spotted outside the Integrated Center for Education building (ICE) on the La Crosse campus.
Having an effective rain garden requires many important steps. This includes, but is not limited to, finding a location that will capture the most storm water runoff, and planting native “wetland” plants that have the ability to intake excess water. Using native plants is also helpful because they will attract various species such as native birds that are more tolerant of the local climate. Building a rain garden is not limited to large organizations; an individual can build a rain garden on their property. As with any big project, rain gardens require considerable research and work to build but the payoff will not only benefit the owner but also the environment!