Rain gardens at Plymouth complex will help area environment
Plymouth Morning Rotary Club member Beth Stewart,
center, receives a bit of help planting in the club rain garden
from her grandchildren, Jack Tuscan, 3, and Ava Tuscan, 6,
under the watchful eye of Rain Garden Coordinator
Matt Bertrand, left, and Morning Rotary Club
President-elect Chris Kelly, far right. Photo by David Willett
The former parking lot at the facility has been transformed into 20,000 square feet of individual rain gardens expected to absorb as much as 5,000 gallons of water each rainstorm helping to reduce flooding for neighbors and ease the load on storm sewers, officials said. The garden plantings will also provide native habitats for birds, bees, butterflies and other pollinators.
“Prior to planting these rain gardens, rain would fall off the parking lot here, go into drains and into a creek and immediately flush out of the system,” Friends of the Rouge Restoration Coordinator Matthew Bertrand explained. “We've received reports that homes nearby this site have been affected by flooding due to the set up.” Now, he said, the rainwater will nourish the fledgling plants in the various gardens and bolster the environment, as Mother Nature intended.
More than 300 volunteers spent about 35 days to plant the 23 separate rain gardens and a walking trail along the various plantings at the parking lot site behind the PARC facility on Main Street in Plymouth. There are more than 5,000 native Michigan plants along with butterfly and hummingbird gardens already installed at the site with plans to double that number as soon as possible. The project was funded by a $400,000 grant the Friends of the Rouge organization received from the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy along with a significant donation from PARC supporters.
Several of the various rain garden plantings have
already taken root and begun to grow.
Volunteers from several civic groups and corporations, including DTE, joined in the planting efforts, which continued until the official opening last Thursday and which will go on through the summer. Volunteers are needed for a scheduled 9 a.m. planting tomorrow (June 25) and Saturday at PARC. Volunteers will receive a brief tour and orientation to rain gardens and native plants guided by an expert, and then will play a key role working to restore the Rouge River, Bertrand, who is also a landscape designer, advised.
The project also needs volunteers to water the gardens during the summer months. Those who can commit at least one regular four-hour block of time each week for the majority of the summer are asked to contact Bertrand at email@example.com. The work, he said, will include moving hoses and setting up lawn sprinklers at various gardens about once an hour with about 30 minutes of downtime between sprinkler movements.