The picture above is a storm water trench located outside the Onalaska Gundersen Campus. Hidden within the native plants and grass is a pipe that leads the storm water away. Why is this system helpful? Like rain gardens, these systems can help prevent flooding and water pollution from getting into the surrounding environment. The plants within this trench are native wetland plants that also absorb water. How is storm water harmful? If nothing is in place to stop it, the water quickly flows through natural environments, uprooting plants and causing soil erosion. The flowing water can also carry pollutants (such as fertilizer, or harmful chemicals) into other environments where these chemicals are not meant to be, thus hurting those environments. So what can you do as an individual or organization? Consider building storm water runoff systems such as the one pictured above; build a rain garden; plant less grass and more native plants that absorb more water; reduce your use of fertilizers and pesticides; and frequently check on oil leaks on your car. Any individual or organization can do their part, so take action today and prevent runoff from being harmful in your area.
Learn more about sustainability management at www.gundersenenvision.org.